From Cybernetics to an Architecture of Ecology: Cedric Price’s Inter-Action Centre

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Abstract

This article discusses the impact of systems thinking and cybernetics on architectural design by examining the example of the Inter-Action Centre (1970–1977) of British architect Cedric Price. The centre reflects Price’s view of architecture as part of an extensive social and environmental system, or ecology, that influences the inhabitants’ mutual interactions and their relationship with their physical surroundings. Emphasising the link between material resources, technology and individual action, the project design implied a change both in the understanding of architecture and the architect’s role: from the designer of present-day artifacts to the designer of system interventions.

Influenced by the cybernetician Gordon Pask, the systems theorist Buckminster Fuller, and the biologist and town planner Patrick Geddes, Price developed a relational approach in which architecture functions as an instrument of change within a larger system such as the city, neighbourhood or region. Following this approach, space was no longer perceived merely as a container but as the product of social interactions. Accordingly, the architect’s work represents a fundamental change in the conception of space in the arts and sciences during the 1970s, which is essential for understanding today’s design and planning practice.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)45-62
Number of pages18
JournalFootprint
Volume15
Issue number1 #28
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2021

Keywords

  • Architectural history
  • Ecological Design
  • System thinking
  • Digitalization
  • Modern architecture

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