"I’m only radical because the architectural profession has got lost. Architects are such a dull lot – and they’re so convinced that they matter." – Cedric Price
Cedric Price (1934-2003) was one of the most challenging figures in the field of architecture in Britain during the second half of the 20th century. Throughout his career, Price stressed the need for flexibility in architectural design in view of the unpredictability of possible future uses. He was committed to “beneficial change” and “anticipatory architecture.” Form was of little consequence to him and even building was suspect and might prove unnecessary. In addition to his social, political, and architectural agendas, Price persistently argued for and produced novel, client-less designs intended to evoke delight and pleasure in users and to empower them as co-designers.
Price’s Inter-Action Trust Community Arts Centre, London (1971-1979) explored such major preoccupations as flexible architecture, indeterminacy, impermanence, and the fusion of information technology, entertainment, and educational activities.
Magnet, an unrealized project of 1994, proposed a series of ten mobile “bridges,” each affording pedestrians unexpected and previously impossible views of their city, while enabling the kind of social intercourse that no longer occurs at street level. They were conceived to act as inserts and transplants, anticipating and encouraging future growth and change.
The Cedric Price Archive at the CCA is comprehensive, covering virtually all documents produced over nearly 50 years of activity as architect, author and teacher, with materials dating from 1953 to 2000. Overall, there are more than 15,000 drawings and prints and over 50 models, including one full-size prototype, a demountable market stall (1987). In all, the archive comprises some 200 projects, ranging from student work of the 1950s at Cambridge and the Architectural Association to projects undertaken in 2000. There are complete records for Price’s most celebrated projects, including: Zoo Aviary (1961); Fun Palace (1961-1972); Potteries Thinkbelt (1964); Inter-Action Centre (1971); Generator (1976); and Magnet (1994).
Of particular significance are the 100 linear feet of textual documents, comprising correspondence, meeting notes, specifications, promotional and press material, a rich cache of photographs – which documents built and unrealized work, exhibitions, and events – and tape recordings of interviews and lectures. The CCA also holds Cedric Price’s entire office library of books and periodicals. Many of the books were annotated by the architect before their transfer to the CCA.