"Gonçalo’s work asks for a redefinition of architecture - a new dynamic process oriented by a new poetic. Through Pask, Price and Frazer, he proposes a new intellectuality and new strategies of action.
I first became aware of Cedric Price’s Generator through an article of March 2003 by Gonçalo. I heard of his impactfull presentation about the Metabolists and MoMA’s 2002 The Changing of the Avantguard (which Gonçalo had visited in New York) at the Serralves Museum. In the last years, uring presentations at my school, I had deeper access to his topics, and I was happy when he accepted to publish this book and sent me the draft in 2006."

António Oliveira (Director of Studies of the Architecture Department of Vasco da Gama School)



Gonçalo Furtado's book
"Generator and Beyond: Encounters of Cedric Price and John Frazer"
with a preface by Neil Spiller

Presentation and Launch
Semear Palavras, Coimbra, January 2008.


Gonçalo Furtado, "Cedric Price's Generator: The History of the Project", Oporto: Faupeditorial,2008 (Forthcoming)

(based in: Furtado's "Envisioning an Evolving Environment: The Encounters of Gordon pask, Cedric Price and John Frazer")




Gonçalo Furtado, United Kingdom, 2005

Gonçalo Furtado (GF) - Howard, how was the acquisition process of Cedric Price’s material?

Howard Shubert (HS) - We’ve acquired the archive in 3 steps. The first was in 1994, and then a second part in 1995. And I think that after the 1995, we went once in the winter and once in the summer. And I think that after the second trip, Cedric came to Montreal for some kind of a symposium; Cedric and Gino [Vale] spoke at the CCA. And at that time, we had had a chance to already organize the material a little bit and so we did an interview with [him] on some of the materials

GF - So it was a kind of help for you?

HS - Yeah because, when we were in the office going through the material, Cedric of course told us that everything was completely organized and in its place. Naturally, as we went through the [drawers] and opened things up…, well not everything was quite exactly in order, the way he’d said. And we would sometimes come across drawings that, not only did we not know what project they were from, we couldn’t even tell what was on the sheet. So we would save these up and, at the end of the day, we’d ask him to come down, or he would come down, and we’d show him these things. And he was remarkable, his memory was… . Not only did he know what project it was - and these were sheets without no stamp, no number – but he could tell us the circumstances of the drawing: what they were doing at that point in the project; why this was made; and what they were trying to figure out with it. And unfortunately we didn’t have a recorder on at that time, because we were working, trying to gather the drawings together, but we did take some notes.

GF - The [item’s] references with notes…

HS - The references … [were from the time] that we were in the London office packing things up. But when we did the recording, it was on tape. I can’t remember if we did video as well; I think it was just audio, with Cedric. But we did make notes about things like …, just little clues like sometimes you’ll see in the drawings a yellow sticker, and he’d explain that these were put on for a particular exhibition that was done. So these kinds of clues tell you something about that object… to be able to maybe reconstruct an exhibition at the RIBA in 1971 or 72…. .

GF – I had access to other interesting Fun Palace’s material… It is impressive… . Cedric Price’s former collaborator Steve Mullin made the majority of them.

HS - … There’s also a lot of photography that was done at the time of the model and some of that is interesting … Those little black drawings that you see, they look like white ink on a black ground, they’re actually drawings over a black and white photograph of that model, and if you see the original model you can tell that it’s actually a photograph that he’s drawing over. … Some … will be at the Columbia exhibition.

GF - There are parts of the archives that are not already catalogued… .

HS - What we did was we catalogued the first half of the archives, from student drawings up to about 1981; we stopped before La Villete, so around 1980’s… And those projects are very well catalogued. And the way we catalogue is by project and then, within the project, by stages. So any of the material, we’d have for any project, would be divided into conceptual drawings, design development, working drawings, models, textual documents. And each section would get some narrative description, so there would be a textual section that would say what this project is, when it came. And then there would be a corresponding part that would describe the materials present in the archive and how those related to the project itself. So for all of those early projects – maybe about one hundred projects – there is a very good catalogue record.

Howard Shubert is curator at the Canadian Centre for Architecture, Montréal-Canada. He studied Economical Sciences and History of Art and History of Architecture at McGill University and Toronto University. He currently research on hockey areas at North America sponsored by CRSH.

Gonçalo Furtado is an architectural researcher; his PhD includes a complete account of Cedric Price’s Generator and Japan Net based in archival research conducted at the CCA.



I first met Japanese architect and Price's last collaborator - Keiichi Saiki - in London, years ago. In mid-June 2005, I had a launch with Shubert at the Frazers’ house, and I had to meet Juan at the opening of Cedric Price's retrospective exhibition at the Design Museum. John couldn’t attend, and Julia kindly took me in. Keiichi introduced me at the time to Mrs Eleanor Bron. I had researched hard on Price work for several years and I had a profound admiration through him. It was an extremely important moment for me. The following excerpt is a text that Keiichi attached to a letter to me during that year.

In Saiki’s own words: "…I decided to apply to join his ‘task force’ unit [at the AA]…. It taught the students to be independently minded as well as self critical and it continues to be the basis of how one operates to this day. After I graduated, I was offered a position in Cedric’s practice as his assistant. On my first day at work in the famous ‘white room’, Cedric showed me the early sketches of the Magnet…. The white room which was devoid of any electrical gadgets, including the phone, was the space of many open discussions, a forum for bouncing ideas off each other, to use Paul Finch’s words ‘a mental gymnasium’. Cedric’s favourite notions such as doubt, delight, choice, time, speed, interval, uncertainty, change, social benefit, technology etc were always used as a measure to test any new ideas. This proved to be the most stimulating, liberating and delightful two years of my architectural career.”
Keiichi Saiki, “Pigs did Fly” [Text attach to a lretter to the Gonçalo Furtado in 30-8-2005], 2005.


By Ted Krueger

"The climate is changing. Moore's Law is no longer interesting. A drive towards distributed and embedded applications coupled with the continued development of new materials, fabrication techniques and processes will allow for a responsive, adaptive and intelligent architecture. But this is nothing new. Price's Generator serves an an important antecedent and exemplar. Gonçalo Furtado’s book details the development of this project and therefore will become a critical text as architecture awakes in the 21st century."
Ted Krueger (Associate Dean, School of Architecture. Director, PhD. Program in the Architectural Sciences. Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute - New York)



"Ptb was always one of my favourite projects, together with the Fun Palace... . I believe that what is breathtaking about both projects... is the utility, the capacity to be used as a working method... . In the case of PtB... (The Architecture) establishes a question about what I do with the place. The PtB... simply organizes a complete system of circulations, technology, ..., experiences... ."
Juan Herreros intervied by Gonçalo Furtado, 26-6-2005. (cit in: Furtado's PhD Dissertation titled "Envisioning an Evolving Environment ...", UCL-London, 2007).

Obituario para Ordem dos Arquitectos


Fomos recentemente abalados pela partida do Professor Doutor Arquitecto Fernando Lisboa, personalidade conhecida pela sua exemplar humanidade e generosidade. Detrás da sua distracção e reserva, escondeu-se um intelectual de grande folgo e perspicácia. Deixa uma produção científica no domínio do projecto assistido por computador e da semiótica incontornável, de onde se salienta, entre outros, a autoria do primeiro trabalho doutoral em arquitectura sobre Charles Pierce a nível internacional. Deixa a impreteríbilidade de reconhecer institucionalmente o alcance da sua obra, tal como uma saudade intransponível àqueles que com o seu sorriso contactaram.

Gonçalo Furtado.

By Suzanne Strum

“On Gonçalo’s Furtado’s research since 2002” (#V.2),
By Professor Suzanne Strum (Barcelona and New York)

Furtado´s study makes use of original archival research to encircle and enter into the affiliations between the architect Cedric Price; cybernetician Gordon Pask; as well as architects John and Julia Frazer. Furtado offers a map through five decades of exchange between these figures, architecture, cybernetics and computational paradigms outlining a lineage for contemporary “Information Age” concepts. Furtado´s work is an important addition to recent scholarship on Price. Furtado provides a detailed account of the degree to which the visionary project Generator was actually developed. Furtado also provides a detailed and insightful account of the complex context, examining Price´s search for an anticipatory architecture. Finally Furtado suggests the implications and legacy for contemporary design practices of Price´s binding of social activism and technology, Pask´s conversant systems, and the Frazers, intelligent design. Implicit in Furtado´s critical work is a call for a more complex view and definition of Post modernism, not as a mere rupture, but as a continuation of a complex line of thought, once peripheral that has now entered the mainstream."

By Juan herreros

"Esa fascinanbte 'invención' que es el Generator de Cedric Price debe aún ser descubierta en su ambición y singularidad extraordinaria como infraestructura colectiva. Price superpone en este proyecto todos sus grandes temas te interés y produce un momento de gran intensidad propositiva. El optimismo con el que se implica en las novedades técnicas manteniendo la distancia justa para ser realmente propositivo, hacen de su figura un modelo para estos tiempos en la que la investigación asociada al proyecto arquitectónico navega entre la fascinación y la caricatura. El trabajo de Gonçalo Furtado contribuirá a desvelar estos y otros muchos valores de Generator, haciendo un gran favor a la arquitectura contemporánea."
Juan Herreros (Profesor Titular. Director of Thesis Unit at ETSAM, Madrid)

By Roy Ascott

"To an artist, such as myself, whose work is conceptually-based, cybernetically-informed, and behaviourally-oriented, Cedric Price stands tall in the ranks of visionary architects. To a research director, such as myself, Furtado’s thorough and committed investigative practice is an inspiration and a benchmark of excellence. The confluence of these architectural and scholarly attributes makes for a book of both contemporary and historical worth, and a tribute to Price’s far-reaching significance."
Roy Ascott (President - The Planetary Collegium; University of Plymouth)


By Schubert - Canadian Centre for Architecture

"Cedric Price is perhaps the most important misunderstood architect of the late twentieth century. His vast archive, now at the Canadian Centre for Architecture in Montreal has only begun to be explored. Generator, a complex, hugely ambitious, and forward-thinking project conceived by Price in the late-1970s remains relevant and ahead of its time thirty years later. Gonçalo Furtado’s book, based on his extensive research and interviews is therefore timely and promises to unlock some of the mysteries of this work."

Howard Shubert, Curator, Canadian Centre for Architecture, Montréal


Ao Fernando Lisboa

Ontem faleceu Fernando Lisboa; professor de arquitectura, semiótico e meu melhor amigo na faculdade de arquitectura da universidade do porto. Tendo sido um pioneiro no ensino do então emergente projecto de arquitectura assistido por computador em Portugal, Fernando criou ao longo da ultima década um intenso interesse pela práctica do projecto como comunicação e política, tal como pelas estruturalizações semiológicas (via proto-pragmatismo americano) como suporte e possibilidade da sociabilidade. Neste contexto realizou um doutoramento que parece ser, até á data e no dominio da arquitectura, o mais importante trabalho sobre Charles Pierce. Acresce-se a este, a relevãncia da sua precedente prova de apetidão pedagógica tal como um conjunto que artigos cientificos que, dada a quatidade reduzida e circulação, ainda não viram reconhecida a sua real importância para lá da faculdade e um restrito circulo de colegas. No ultimo par de anos, o interesse de Fernando começava a inclinar-se, entre outros assuntos, para performances semióticas mais espontâneas, i.e. relacionadas com os fenómenos da vida e mesmo das materialidades inorgânicas. Deixou por realizar a ideia de um livro, pequeno e perverso, que secretamente escreveria contra a ideia de desenvolvimento enquanto desenvolvimento continuo. Esta questão, que comporta uma dimensão biografica - i.e. a vida do Fernando e a suas ideias enquanto intelectual sobre a sociedade e suas temporalidades - , está no entanto aludida no jogo dialéctico que se sente num par de artigos realizados no período que medeia as duas provas académicas a que se sujeitoiu e que fez circular em policopiado. Deixa a lição de um homem gentil e genuinamente distraido, de um professor competente, organizado e generoso, e de um intelectual humilde, reservado mas dotado de grande profundidade e potencial.

By Nic Bailey


"I was involved as principle architectural collaborator with Cedric Price on the 'Generator' project. I am familiar with Gonçalo's Furtado work and impressed by the depth of his research, insight and commitment to what was one of Cedric Price's most original and significant projects. I fully support this book written by someone with gonçalo's knowledge of, and passion for, the project."

Nic Bailey (former principle architectural collaborator with Cedric price on the Generator project), 11th May 2007.


Next lectures

Next lectures
Europe and America

Gonçalo Furtado

Title: "Architecture and Systems Research since WWII
(Cedric Price, Gordon Pask and John Frazer: Generator, Japan Net and other Responsive and Evolving Environments"


More Publications

Gonçalo Furtado, "Rumo a uma Estética Arquitectónica Evolutiva: Interesses tecno-cientificos actuais, Complexidade, e as iniciais permissões do emergente", in: Arq./a, January 2008, pp.20-23.
[Key Words:Complexity; Emergence; Cedric Price; Generator and Japan Net; John Frazer; Gordon Pask.]

See also:
Gonçalo Furtado, "Algumas Notas sobre uma 'segunda ordem' de relacionamento (...)", in: Ar, N.6, July 2006, pp.50-57.
[Key words: Media Art and Architecture; Reichardt's "Cybernetic Serendipity"; Gordon Pask's "Colloquium of mobiles", etc; "Second-Order c.", etc.