Model Town #1
2020
Model Town #2
2020
Model Town #3
2020
Model Town #4
2021
Model Town #5
2021
Model Town #6
2022
Model Town #7
2021
A Model Town #8
2022
A Model Town #9
2022
A Model Town #10
2022
Model Town #11
2022
Model Town #12
2022
Model Town #13
2023
Model Town #14
2023
Model Town #15
2020
Model Town #16
2021
Model Town #17
2022

Model Town 2020 – ongoing

Due to be completed in 2026, Poundbury was designed by Léon Krier following the traditional architectural principles outlined by King Charles in his 1989 book ‘A Vision of Britain: A Personal View of Architecture’.

Built on the Duchy of Cornwalls land and utilising materials that aim to reflect the regional vernacular style of Dorset, Poundbury is a direct reaction to the trend of ubiquitous post-war architecture in Britain. The model town rejects the modernist notion that form follows function in favour of classicism: resulting in an ornamental and staged environment. Here, decorative lintels appear as load-bearing constructions and strict regulations ensure that each household has at least one brick chimney even if it does not work.

Primarily concerned with the aesthetics of buildings, the former Prince of Wales, reduces architecture to two dimensions: the aforementioned publication is filled with his own watercolour landscapes set aside historical examples of town planning inspiration (the medieval Italian city of Siena is cited in detail). This reference and architectural simplification lends itself to the stylistic approach undertaken in this photographic series: always documented in bright daylight and focusing on Poundburys side streets, the photographs are inspired by Giorgio de Chiricos Metaphysical Town Square series, whereby strong shadows and slightly-off perspectives produce an otherworldly image.

Furthermore, I am interested in how themes such as patriotism and nostalgia manifest themselves in architecture – particularly when the UK struggles with its identity in a post-Brexit landscape. Charles III's coronation in 2023 has also raised valid questions about the monarchy's role in contemporary British society. Having little lived experience himself and somewhat ignoring the sociopolitical conditions of post-war Britain, Charles III's approach to architecture and Poundbury's pristine facades require closer scrutiny.

A transcript of a conversation between Owen Hatherley and Jack Hems discussing Poundbury can be found here.

Jack Hems is a photographer based in London, UK.

He studied at Byam Shaw School of Art: Central St Martins, graduating in 2011.


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