Associate Professor of Art Stan Mathews recently traveled to Glasgow, Scotland to deliver a talk titled “Cedric Price and the Architecture of Complexity” to more than 100 architecture students and faculty. An authority on the late British architect, Mathews used the concept of complexity to explore how Price’s architecture could permit and promote various diverse uses.
“What I presented was a totally novel approach to understanding the relationship between architecture and society,” Mathews said. “All in all it was a great experience.”
The talk was inspired by an honor’s thesis by Eleanor Chandler ’11, under the advising of Professor of Political Science Jodi Dean. The thesis, which looked at the emerging discourse of complexity in the social sciences, inspired Mathews to recognize additional implications for architectural theory.
Mathews’ invitation to Glasgow coincided with an exhibition of Price’s work at the Lighthouse architecture center in Glasgow. The centerpiece of the exhibition was an enormous steel model of Price’s “Potteries ThinkBelt,” a 1965 plan to revitalize 100 square miles of the English ceramics region using the industrial rail system as the framework through which to redevelop the region as an educational center and vast think-tank.
Price’s revolutionary ideas have influenced architecture during the past 30 years, inspiring the design for the Pompidou Center in Paris. Mathews’ 2007 book, “From Agit Prop to Free Space: the architecture of Cedric Price,” was listed by the Royal Institute of British Architects as one of the top five architecture books of 2008.
Mathews joined the HWS faculty in 2000. He received his B.A. from Beloit College, his M.F.A. from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, his master of architecture from the Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University and his Ph.D. from Columbia University. He also attended the School of Architecture at the University of New Mexico, Albuquerque.
The photo above is of the steel model of Price’s “Potteries ThinkBelt.