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Anti-Building with Cedric Price

Williams, Martin, Dyckhoff, Tom and FRANCIS, Anna (2023) Anti-Building with Cedric Price. [Audio]

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Abstract or description

Tom Dyckhoff explores the life and work of forward-thinking architect Cedric Price, and in doing so, examines the work of The Portland Inn Project, in enacting part of Price's research through The Portland Thinkbelt, a yearly summer programme on Portland St, Stoke-on-Trent, which uses street level learning to make The Potteries Thinkbelt real.

Often referred to as “architect and thinker” – or “philosopher architect” – Cedric Price is a tricky person to pin down. He thought differently about what architecture could do – the way it could shape human relations. And for a generation of architects – including Richard Rogers and Norman Foster – he was an inspiration.

He was an expansive optimist who believed in architecture's potential to delight and to nurture change. At first glance his projects (some of which could be called buildings, some of which are more like grand plans) can appear fantastical, other-worldly – but they were deeply serious proposals.

Such as the Fun Palace – in collaboration with the theatre director Joan Littlewood – an egalitarian arts centre able to be constantly reconfigured according to the needs of its users. Or the Potteries Thinkbelt: a detailed plan for the regeneration of a large area of post-industrial Staffordshire into a new kind of mobile democratic university.

Cedric Price was interested in lightweight structures with fixed lifespans. His proposals often included instructions for demolition. And it’s perhaps fitting that one of his very few surviving works – the Snowdon Aviary at London Zoo (now reinvented as Monkey Valley) – is less a building than a giant high-tech tent.

Cedric Price was a technophobe technocrat; a romantic logician; a moralist and hedonist; a radical man of the people in a crisp collar and plummy voice; an architect who – at times – seemed very much anti-building.

Featuring Eleanor Bron, Anna Francis, Samantha Hardingham, Paul Hyett and Jude Kelly.

With thanks to Sir Peter Cook, Hans Ulrich Obrist and everyone involved with the Portland Inn Project.

Item Type: Audio
Uncontrolled Keywords: Cedric Price, The Potteries Thinkbelt, architecture
Faculty: School of Digital, Technologies and Arts > Art and Design
Depositing User: Anna FRANCIS
Date Deposited: 24 Nov 2023 11:01
Last Modified: 24 Nov 2023 11:01

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