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- Calculated uncertainty: computers, chance encounters, and 'community' in the work of Cedric Price
- Wilken, Rowan
- Iconoclastic British architect and theorist Cedric Price is noted for the comparatively early incorporation of computing and other communications technologies into his designs, which he employed as part of an ongoing critique of the conventions of architectural form, and as part of his explorations of questions of mobility. Three key unrealised projects of his are examined here which explore these concerns. These are his 'Potteries Thinkbelt' (1964-67), 'Generator' (1978-80), and 'Fun Palace' (1961-74). This paper explores his use of computing and communications equipment in these projects, as well as the theoretical influences (including systems theory and cybernetics) that informed his approach to designing them. These influences, it will be argued, are interesting for the way that Price employed them in the development of a structurally complex and programmatically rich architectural environment which was, simultaneously (and somewhat paradoxically), to be an 'accidental environment'. In examining his work and evaluating its lasting significance, two arguments are developed. First, it is argued that Price's work is significant for its engagement with the self-contradictory idea of the 'prepared accident', in which meticulous planning and preparation are employed in order to encourage chance, serendipity, and accident. Secondly, it is argued that Price's work is important for its theoretical rigour and its early incorporation of computing and communications technologies. More specifically, his Fun Palace project in particular is significant as an early exploration of experimental forms of technologically mediated social interaction.
- Publication type
- Journal article
- Transformations, no. 14 (Mar 2007)
- Publication year
- Central Queensland University
- Publisher URL
- Copyright © 2007. The articles published in the Transformations Journal are published under an Australian Creative Commons 'Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 2.5 Australia' license.