“From Agit-Prop to Free Space: The Architecture of Cedric Price,” by Associate Professor of Art Stanley Mathews, was recently named among “The Best of 2007: Architecture,” by the Financial Times, published in London.
Reviewer Edwin Heathcote noted, “Influential only through his ideas, many of Price’s notions were brilliantly realised by others (Richard Rogers’ inside-out Pompidou Centre [in Paris] for example).
The listing was part of the Financial Times year-end listing of published works in more than a dozen categories, including fiction, poetry, art, food, business, music and architecture.
“Price (1934-2003) was a revolutionary in ways that are unfamiliar to most. This book shows exactly that. He wasn’t interested in building for building’s sake or in his buildings being permanent; he was designing buildings that would enhance the way of life for a finite time in England’s history, explains Mathews.
Architecture critic Kester Rattenbury says that Mathews’ book — the first of two about Price — “seems at times like a thrilling historical movie. With its engaging style, this text focuses in on two of his lesser-known architectural designs: the Fun Palace and the Potteries Thinkbelt.
The Fun Palace was “an indeterminate building meant to be changed and reformed by users according to their needs of various spaces. The Potteries Thinkbelt was a “mobile university meant to educate the English in applied science and technology at a time when they could’ve desperately used it, Mathews explains.
Mathews has been working on the Price biography since the late 1990s. “I wanted to get the whole story, and I wanted to get it right, Mathews says, remembering those initial days. Having known Price while he was living, Mathews was able to meet with the architect, his family, colleagues and the people at the Cedric Price Archive. “I really had unprecedented access to photographs, letters, drawings: many of which were being seen for the first time.
Mathews, who joined the HWS faculty in 2000, holds a bachelor's from Beloit College, master's from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, and his Ph.D. from Columbia University. A licensed architect, he is a member of the American Institute of Architects. He received grant support from The Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts, based in Chicago, toward publication of the book.
He has served on the City of Geneva Planning Board and on the Overlay Planning Committee.