A little less conversation (a little more action)

Thursday, July 1, 2010 16:54

Corrado Curti

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Designs for inflatable architecture and air structures source www.cca.qc.ca/en/collection/907-cedric-price-designs-for-inflatable-architecture-and-air

Elvis might not be considered a pioneer in experimental architecture, but his suggestion fits perfectly with the work of Cedric Price, one of the most radical and influential experimental architects of the XX century: no mind-stuffing, self-referential blabla on autonomous disciplinary discourse or formal experiment, but a straight-foward and powerful use of design tools to actively affect reality, society and the environment. His approach is carried to the extreme in the celebrated 1967 project for an inflatable barrier system to block surface oil spills.

Does it remind you of something?

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Maps visualizing the dimensions of the BP oil spill in relation to London from If It Was My Home

Leaving aside the sad truth that 40 years later the world economy is still sitting on a barrel of oil – without even knowing how much is left! – and the same environmental problems persist, Cedric’s project stands out loud and clear like Elvis’ song, stating that there’s more to architecture than form and style.

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Deepwater Horizon Oil Rig Cleaning, Gulf of Mexico image by Gerald Herbert / The Associated Press

Following the example set by Chremes – and quoting Terence: humani nil a me alienum puto (Nothing human is alien to me) – Cedric Price took on the full responsibility as thinker and designer to actively engage in practices for a better world, even when this meant leaving the safe field of architecture as we know it and leaping into the perilous and less celebrated land of experimental environmental engineering.

You can read more on Cedric Price’s designs for inflatable architecture and air structures on the The Canadian Centre for Architecture (CCA) website here

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