Unique challenge for today's generation

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DESIGNING a new palace for the Queen would be one of the greatest challenges this century for British architects.

In a unique challenge, any architect undertaking the job would have to marry the traditional aspects of a palace with a contemporary style, according to architectural historian Howard Colvin.

Buckingham Palace was completed in the mid-19th century by Edward Blore, who finished the work of John Nash. There are few architects who could design a modernist 'People's Palace' and gain the approval of the Royal Family.

'Presidential palaces would be some form of model but it would be a great challenge and very difficult to achieve,' Mr Colvin said.

The Prince of Wales, with his preference for traditional architectural principles, favours classical designs and has attacked several buildings in the past for 'monstrous' modernism.

Candidates for the ultimate building job could include:

Leon Krier, who planned the new traditional village of Poundbury in Dorset on Duchy of Cornwall land.

London practice Sidell Gibson, which is designing a new state room for the fire-damaged Windsor Castle and has built housing for the prince's estate.

John Simpson, who masterminded the classical redevelopment of the Paternoster Square site near St Paul's cathedral in London.

James Dunbar-Smith, the Edinburgh-based architect who designed ranch-like Sunninghill Park, Windsor, for the Duke and Duchess of York.

Sir Norman Foster, who designed the new terminal at Stansted airport and whose plans for King's Cross in central London have been described as 'brilliant' by the prince.