Stanley Mathews, HWS Professor of art and architecture, joined a symposium on Sept. 21, to discuss the pivotal contributions of British architect Cedric Price (1934-2003), considered by many to be one of the most visionary architects of the late 20th century.
Mathews has written a monograph on Price's early work, due to be published next year. In addition, he’s written four articles on various aspects of Price's work and thought, and has been invited to five international conferences to speak on Price.
“After years of neglect,” Mathews says, “Price is finally receiving the recognition he so richly deserves.
Price first emerged as an architect during the psychedelic “Austin Powers” days of London, when the city was changing from a society steeped in tradition, pomp and privilege, to a modern, fast-paced metropolis. His quintessential project was the 1964 Fun Palace, which he designed in collaboration with avant-garde theater producer Joan Littlewood. They were committed to the Brechtian ideals of eliminating the so-called “fourth wall” between the actors and the audience.
Their Fun Palace resembled a vast shipyard and was a kit of parts that the common people could assemble into whatever spaces they desired, turning the audience and others into entertainers and learners, rather than only spectators. Although the Fun Palace was never built, the infrastructural, kit-of-parts aesthetic inspired the 1976 Pompidou Center in Paris.
Mathews, who joined the HWS faculty in 2000, holds a doctorate from Columbia University, masters degrees from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and a bachelor's from Beloit College. His doctoral dissertation also dealt with Price and the Fun Palace.