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Bartlett School of Architecture, UCL

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Fun Palace – Cedric Price

Fun Palace – Cedric Price
  • On October 19, 2005

CEDRIC PRICE (1934-2003) was one of the most visionary architects of the late 20th century. Although he built very little, his lateral approach to architecture and to time-based urban interventions, has ensured that his work has an enduring influence on contemporary architects and artists, from Richard Rogers and Rem Koolhaas, to Rachel Whiteread.

At the Bartlett today, Cedric Price remains influential and the spirit of his ideas can be seen in our new Masters in Design for Performance & Interaction . The interests of the course include examining how new technologies such as sensing, robotics, and artificial intelligence can make architecture more responsive to people’s needs just as Price had been questioning in the early days of Cybernetics.



The Fun Palace (above) was one of his most influential projects and inspired Richard Rogers and Renzo Piano’s early 1970s project, Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris (below).



Initiated with Joan Littlewood, the theatre director and founder of the innovative Theatre Workshop in east London, the idea was to build a ‘laboratory of fun’ with facilities for dancing, music, drama and fireworks. Central to Price’s practice was the belief that through the correct use of new technology the public could have unprecedented control over their environment, resulting in a building which could be responsive to visitors’ needs and the many activities intended to take place there.


As the marketing material suggested, there was a wide choice of activities: “Choose what you want to do — or watch someone else doing it. Learn how to handle tools, paint, babies, machinery, or just listen to your favourite tune. Dance, talk or be lifted up to where you can see how other people make things work. Sit out over space with a drink and tune in to what’s happening elsewhere in the city. Try starting a riot or beginning a painting — or just lie back and stare at the sky.”

Using an unenclosed steel structure, fully serviced by travelling gantry cranes the building comprised a ‘kit of parts’: pre-fabricated walls, platforms, floors, stairs, and ceiling modules that could be moved and assembled by the cranes. Virtually every part of the structure was variable. “Its form and structure, resembling a large shipyard in which enclosures such as theatres, cinemas, restaurants, workshops, rally areas, can be assembled, moved, re-arranged and scrapped continuously,” promised Price.

he died in London aged 68 in 2003.


  1. juliette

    i’m a french student , with very bad english , but i’m working about this project: fun palace , i would like to know where i can find more information , archivs , plans…
    THANKS for your websides

  2. There isnt a huge amount of info although it is referenced a lot by many artists. You could start by looking at his ‘square book’

  3. Serge

    RE : Fun Palace
    Actually, check at the Canadian Centre for Architecture, in Montreal. Where the Cedric Price ‘s archives (including the Fun Palace) are located.
    For more info:, 514-939-7026

  4. negin

    hey ruairi!
    my dissertation this year is about the fun palace, and in one of the paragraphs above it says “the idea was to build a ‘laboratory of fun’ with facilities for dancing, music, drama and fireworks.” I was just wondering where you got that information/quote from – particularly the part about fireworks, as I haven’t been able to find it written anywhere else yet.

  5. amy

    “from Agit-Prop to Free Space: The Architecture of Cedric Price” by Stanley Mathews is a book I used to look at Cedric Price, as well as his Square book. The latter is more expensive and may be found in a University library.

  6. rosalie

    juliette, je fais egalement une recherche sur le fun palace de Price, ca m’interesse de savoir si t’as reussi à trouver des info et si oui, où?

  7. BioKal

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