Will Alsop on Cedric Price:
Between 1963 and 1971, there was the magazine Architectural Design. AD was about ideas. One or two contributors went on to build their designs, but mainly it was about things that might be done. This was the era of Archigram, the avant-garde design group, and also, most importantly, the critic Reyner Banham. Banham needed Archigram, Price and one or two others because they fed him. Equally, Reyner told them what they were doing.
Magazines today need to include finished projects to attract advertisers, which is very sad because it promotes the idea, particularly among younger architects, that they have to build. This was anathema to Price. He never felt that he had to build, and he didn’t build a great deal. It’s not that he wasn’t interested in building; it’s just that he didn’t want to do anything that didn’t contribute to the ideas and the thoughts he was trying to explore.
Towards the end of his life, Price was more relaxed. The notion of doing nothing, of observing – which so many people have forgotten – is something that I think he understood. On the drawing Surf 90, for instance, he has written: “Time to stand and stare.”
One of the young architects Price influenced was Rem Koolhaas. Koolhaas will take a brief and keep it in terms of diagrams as long as possible. The library being built in Seattle at the moment, which is going to be a magnificent building, is exactly that. Koolhaas has analysed the user’s brief and essentially built the diagram of the analysis. He has taken it in different directions. Certainly, there is a formal expression in Koolhaas’s work you would never find in Price, but there is a huge debt there.