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Volume 3, Issue 2
  • ISSN: 1477-965X
  • E-ISSN: 1758-9533


This article examines how in his influential 1964 Fun Palace project the late British architect Cedric Price created a unique synthesis of a wide range of contemporary discourses and theories, such as the emerging sciences of cybernetics, information technology, and game theory, Situationism, and theater to produce a new kind of improvisational architecture to negotiate the constantly shifting cultural landscape of the postwar years. The Fun Palace was not a building in any conventional sense, but was instead a socially interactive machine, highly adaptable to the shifting cultural and social conditions of its time and place. This constantly varying design for a new form of leisure center began in 1962 as a collaboration between Cedric Price and avant-garde theater producer Joan Littlewood. Littlewood had conceived of a new kind of theater designed to awaken the passive subjects of mass culture to a new consciousness. Her vision of a dynamic and interactive theater provided the programmatic framework on which Price would develop and refine his concept of an interactive, performative architecture, adaptable to the varying needs and desires of the individual. By assembling their own pedagogical and leisure environments using cranes and prefabricated modules in an improvisational architecture, common citizens could escape from everyday routine and serial existence and embark on a journey of learning, creativity, and individual fulfillment. The Fun Palace was one of the more innovative and creative proposals for the use of free time in postwar England. It also provided a model for the 1976 Centre Pompidou in Paris.


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