Mathews Talks on British Architect at Six International Conferences – Hobart and William Smith Colleges \
The HWS Update

Mathews Talks on British Architect at Six International Conferences

Stanley Mathews, assistant professor of art history and architecture, has been invited to present at six international conferences and symposia during the coming year. In early July, Mathews chaired a session and presented a paper on the work of his friend, the late British architect Cedric Price, at the annual conference of the Centre for Culture and Theory of the University of Leeds, England. The theme of the conference, organized by well-known social historian of art Griselda Pollock, was the relation between architecture and philosophy. Mathews' paper, titled “The Fun Palace: Cedric Price and indeterminate architecture,” dealt specifically with the role of uncertainty, information theory, and Henri Bergson in Price's theories of architecture.

Mathews has worked on Price for several years. Although the architect built little, and is not well known outside of the architectural community, Price was extremely influential, and helped to shape the course of contemporary architecture. He developed a theory of an interactive, technology-based architecture, which formed the basis for the Pompidou Centre in Paris, and influenced the work of such renowned architects as Richard Rogers, Rem Koolhaas, Peter Eisenman, Zaha Hadid, and Bernard Tschumi.

Mathews explained that “architects and historians are now beginning to realize Price's important contribution to contemporary architecture, and interest in Price's work, theories and ideas has increased tremendously since his death last summer.”

Mathews is preparing a book on Price's work for publication, and has been invited to submit several articles on Price's pioneering work in architecture to the German architecture journal “Archplus, Technoetic Arts: a journal of speculative research” (British), OASE Architectural Journal (Dutch and English) and an anthology on architectural theory edited by Griselda Pollock, published by the University of Leeds.

In December, 2003, Mathews invited architects Bernard Tschumi and Mike Webb, architectural historian Robin Middleton, and New York Times architecture critic Herbert Muschamp to join him at a memorial symposium honoring Price at the Architectural League of New York.

Cedric Price, architect 1936 – 2003
Cedric Price, The Fun Palace, 1965

Mathews has also been invited to speak on Price and his work at conferences and symposia in Canada, Australia, the Netherlands, and Germany. He will present “The Potteries Thinkbelt as Utopian Landscape” at the annual conference of the Comité International de l'Histoire de l'Art in Montreal, in August. In September, he will give a talk on one of Cedric Price's few built works, the 1976 “Interaction Centre,” at a symposium on the architecture of the 1970s in Melbourne, Australia, sponsored by the School of Architecture of the University of Melbourne. In October, Mathews has been invited to present a paper titled “New Cities/New Societies: the architecture of Cedric Price” at the Internationaler Ideenwettbewerb conference in Berlin. The conference is sponsored by Archplus and Domus magazines, on the theme of Schrumpfende Städte – Die Stadt neu denken (Shrinking Cities – Reinventing Urbanism). In November, Mathews will travel to Maastricht to talk on the recurrent theme of mobility in Price's architecture at the symposium, “Museum in Motion: mobility in architecture,” sponsored by the Van Eyck Academie and the University of Ghent. In the spring of 2005, Mathews will present a paper on theories of obsolescence in architecture at the Society of Architectural Historians annual conference in Vancouver.

Mathews has been at Hobart and William Smith Colleges since 2000, and teaches art history, architectural history, theory, and design.