Sketches by Cedric Price
London Zoo Aviary 1961-1965 (Cedric Price, Franck Newby, Lord Snowdon)
Cedric Price, Aviary in the London Zoo
Fun Palace Project (1961)
The Fun Palace, conceptual plan - working plan - final plan
Cedric Price FRIBA (11 September 1934 – 10 August 2003) was an English architect and influential teacher and writer on architecture.
The son of an architect, Price was born in Stone, Staffordshire and studied architecture at Cambridge University (St John's College - graduating in 1955) and the Architectural Association School of Architecture in London, whre he encountered, and was influenced by, the modernist architect and urban planner Arthur Korn.
From 1958 to 1964 he taught part-time at the AA and at the Council of Industrial Design. He later founded Polyark, an architectural schools network.
As a working architect, he was associated with Maxwell Fry and Denys Lasdun before he started his own practice in 1960, working with The Earl of Snowdon and Frank Newby on the design of the Aviary at London Zoo (1961). He later also worked with Buckminster Fuller on the Claverton Dome.
One of his more famous projects was the Fun Palace (1961), developed in association with theatrical director Joa Littlewood. Although it was never built, its flexible space influenced other architects, notably Richard (now Lord) Rogers and Renzo Piano whose Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris extended many of Price's ideas - some of which Price used on a more modest scale in the Inter-Action Centre at Kentish Town, London (1971).
Having conceived the idea of using architecture and education as a way to drive economic redevelopment - notably in the north Staffordshire Potteries area (the 'Thinkbelt' project) - he continued to contribute to planning debates. In 1969, with planner Sir Peter Hall and the editor of New Society magazine Paul Barker, he published Non-plan, a work challenging planning orthodoxy.
In 1984 Price proposed the redevelopment of London's South Bank, and foresaw the London Eye by suggesting that a giant Ferris wheel should be constructed by the River Thames.
Price, who was the partner of the actress Eleanor Bron, died in London, aged 68, in 2003.
Cedric Price, Architectural Design (1972). photograph drawing collage
Fun Palace project (1961)
Fun Palace is Cedric Price’s most celebrated work. Whether characterised as a giant toy or as a building-sized transformable machine, the project’s interest resides in its radical reliance on structure and technology, its exemplification of notions of time-based and anticipatory architecture. With Fun Palace, Price addressed social and political issues that go far beyond the typical bounds of architecture.
Fun Palace was conceived and commissioned in 1961 by renowned theatre director and producer Joan Littlewood. Price developed plans for the project through 1964, both for the main project and for a smaller, more mobile “pilot” project. Neither were realised. Attempts to get planning permission for a wide variety of sites within and around London continued through 1970, amidst opposition from church, citizen groups and confounded city councils.
On the one hand, Fun Palace was inspired by the egalitarian philosophy of eighteenth century English pleasure grounds, such as Vauxhall and Ranelagh, with their sprawling spaces for strolling, amusement, and gossip. On the other hand, Price’s unrealised project was up-to-the-minute, interpreting current Cybernetic theories, avant-garde theatrical principles, cutting edge technology, and a free-spirited, Monty Pythonesque sense of fun. The ultimate goal was a building capable of change in response to the wishes of users.
Rem Koolhaas, (born Nov. 17, 1944, Rotterdam, Netherlands), Dutch architect known for buildings and writings that embrace the energy of modernity.
Koolhaas worked as a journalist before becoming an architect. Changing his focus to architecture, from 1968 to 1972 he studied at the Architectural Association in London, and from 1972 to 1975 he studied at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York. In 1975 he formed the Office for Metropolitan Architecture (OMA) with Elia and Zoe Zenghelis and Madelon Vriesendorp, his wife, with offices in Rotterdam and London.
Asked if there is a certain contribution he aspires to make:
"It's very simple and it has nothing to do with identifiable goals. It is to keep thinking about what architecture can be, in whatever form. That is an answer, isn't it? I think that S,M,L,XL has one beautiful ambiguity: it used the past to build a future and is very adamant about giving notice that this is not the end. That's how it felt to me, anyway. That is in itself evidence of a kind of discomfort with achievement measured in terms of identifiable entities, and an announcement that continuity of thinking in whatever form, around whatever subject, is the real ambition."
—Interview with Jennifer Sigler in Index Magazine, 2000