“Envisioning and Evolving Environment: The Encounters of Gordon Pask, Cedric Price and John Frazer” (University College of London, PhD Dissertation, 2007)
Gonçalo M Furtado C Lopes

Research was made possible by a scholarship fund from Fundação para a Ciência e
Tecnologia (Cofinanciamento do Programa Operacional da Ciência e Inovação 2010 e do
fundo social Europeu).
The account on Generator and Japan Net is based on primary sources examined in the
course of my research of the Cedric Price Archives held at the Canadian Centre for
Architecture - Montréal, Canada.…
The account of Gordon Pask’s career is based on primary sources examined in the course of
my research of the Gordon Pask personal archive

In memory of my father (1929-2006).


PART 0 - Introduction

0.1 - The encounters around architecture and systems research (p.6)


PART 1 - First steps - Pask and Price’s pioneering experiences

[1.1 - Airplanes over London]

1.1 - Systems, adaptative machines and self-organization (p.42)

A childhood curiosity

[1.2 - Gordon Pask’s Note books]

The circular model

[1.3 - Norbert Wiener’s Cybernetics: Control and Communication in the Animal and the Machine]

British Cybernetics

[1.4 - System Research]

Adaptative instruction and interaction

[1.5 - Gordon Pask’s Musicolor]

[1.6 - Gordon Pask’s SAKI]

[1.7 - Association Internationale de Cybernétique in Namur]

[1.8 - Gordon Pask´s “An Approach to Cybernetics”]

Self-organization mode

[1.9 - Gordon Pask and Heinz Von Foerster]

[1.10 - Gordon Pask´s “One Kind of Immortality”]

1.2 - Early exchanges with art forms (p.61)

Creative interests Fig

[1.11 - Gordon Pask’s Mural painting]

[1.12 - Gordon Pask’s Art portfolio]

Design methodologies

[1.13 - Society of Industrial Artists and Designers’ conference, “The Measure of Design”]

1.3 - The 1960s’ breakthrough attitude and Cedric Price’s experiments on impermanence (p.66)

A shift

[1.14 - Reyner Banham’s “Theory and Design in the First Machine Age”]

The maverick of British Architecture

The seminality of the Fun Palace

[1.15 - Cedric Price’s Fun Palace’s main version]

[1.16 - Gordon Pask’s Folder]

[1.17 - Map with possible Fun Palace locations]

[1.18 - Cedric Price’s Fun Palace’s pilot version]

Relevance and other experiments on impermanence

1.4 - Architectural Association and the Colloquium of Mobiles (p.94)

The self-regulation impact

[1.19 - Cook’s invitation letter to Gordon Pask]

[1.20 - Gordon Pask’s consultancies given to AA students].

A “man-size reactive environment”

[1.21 - Gordon Pask’s Colloquium of Mobiles]

[1.22 - Mobile and cocoons]

[1.23 - Gordon Pask’s letter to ICA]

1.5 - Architectural machine intelligence and second-order cybernetics (p.113)

[1.24 - Gordon Pask lecturing to an American audience]

Architectural Machine Group

[1.25 - Gordon Pask’s Itinerary for a trip to the U.S]

[1.26 - Nicholas Negroponte]

Interaction and intelligence

A second-order

[1.27 - Heinz Von Foerster’s “Observing Systems”]

Establishing an interactionist theory

[1.28 - Gordon Pask’s “Conversation Theory: Applications in Education and Epistemology”]
Towards a unification of architectural theories

[1.29 - Gordon Pask’s Essay]


[1.30 - Gordon Pask, Ranulph Glanville and Mike Robinson’s “Calculator Saturnalia - An Orgy on Highly Original

Artificial Intelligence

PART 2 - The first intelligent building - Price’s Generator and the Frazers’ research


2.1 - The rise of Generator and its initial design studies (p.145)

Gilman Paper

Briefings and establishing the feasibility study

[2.1 - Cedric Price Architects’ “Design validity chart …”]

[2.2 - Cedric Price Architects’ “Activity compatibility” chart]

[2.3 - Collage of photographs]

The research continues: towards a responsive architecture

[2.4 - Aerial view of the site]

Project validation

[2.5 - Cedric Price’s Notes]

[2.6 - Site comparisons]

Assessments and preparing a press release

[2.7 - Cedric Price’s Collage]

[2.8 - Cedric Price Architects’ Sketch]

2.2 - Consultancies and further design definition (p.178)
Fuelling technical cooperation and the soil survey

[2.9 - LAW’s Report]

The products survey

The “just one” menu and the (spatial) regeneration process

[2.10 - Cedric Price’s collaborator Notes]

The first “Menu”

[2.11 - Menu]

The American front

Specifying the building components

The Technical Reports

[2.12 - F.J.S. & Partners’s Drawing]

[2.13 - Cedric Price Architects’ Detail]

The architectural drawings

[2.14 - Cedric Price Architects’ Drawing]

[2.15 - Computer model]

[2.16 - Assembly]

[2.17 - Grid and Menu]

[2.18 – Menu]

[2.19 - Photograph of model]

The first service systems

2.3 - Envisioning the building and the announcement of its suspension (p.220)

The first experience with a residence

[2.20 - Tartan grid]

Setting the grid, difficulties and revisions

[2.21 - Grid lines]

[2.22 - ]

The prototype and alike

Last efforts and trip

Service systems and last details

[Fig 2.23 - Diagrams of electrical services]

[2.24 - Plan of cubes, subframes and services]

Paper simulations and a temporary break

[2.25 - Cedric Price Architects’ Mock-up]

2.4 - Frazer’s systems research (p.243)

Requiring Frazer’s systems consultancy

Computational proposals and programs
[2.27 - Regeneration]

[2.28 - Generator plan made by computer]

The Frazers’ research and techniques

Generator computer programs, models and perspectives

[2.29 - Computer program]

[2.30 - Computer programmes]

[2.31- Intelligent modelling system]

Generator’s acknowledgement as the first intelligent building and its repercussions

[2.32 - ]
Intelligent Modelling Models.

Frazer’s further research and correspondence concerning the Generator

[2.33 - ]
Generator perspective made by computer.

PART 3 - The information environment - The reencounters of Pask, Price and Frazer


3.1 - The new techno-cultural order (p.276)
Microman’s symbiosis

[3.1 - Gordon Pask and Susan Curran’s “Microman - Living and Growing with Computers”]

Interaction of Actors

[3.2 - “Wiener Medal” attributed to Gordon Pask]

[3.3 - Gordon Pask assuming responsibility as guest professor in General Andragology]

3.2 - Architectural computing (p.284)

A laboratory for computer literacy

[3.4 - Gordon Pask and Alvin Boyarsky]


[3.5 - Ranulph Glanville’s “Computing: Some Potential. Some Future”]

3.3 - The Japan Net experience (p.292)

The competition entry

[3.6 - Cedric Price’s Draft]

General design approach and Pask and Price’s components

[3.7 - Panel for Japan Net Competition Entry]

[3.8 - Panel for the Japan Net Competition Entry]

[3.9 - Panel for the Japan Net Competition Entry]

[3.10 - Panel for the Japan Net Competition Entry]

[3.11 - Panel for the Japan Net Competition Entry]


Urbanity and Information Society

Pask’s last attempt at design

3.4 - The Generator revisited (p.314)

[3.12 - Cedric Price’s Notes]


Design, Architecture and the Information Society

3.5 - Towards an evolving aesthetics (p.329)


Last years

[3.13 - Gordon Pask’s sketches]

A play on words

Emergence and time

[3.14 - Gordon Pask’s Mock-up]

[3.15 - Gordon Pask and Alan Balfour]

Installations on evolution (The “Universal Constructor” and the “A of K”) and the Inter-Unit

[3.16 - Chip of model]

[3.17 - “Universal Constructor” made by John Frazer’s unit at AA]

[3.18 - Gordon Paskand the Frazer’s Unit]

Towards essays on evolution (An Evolutionary Architecture and the Architecture of Civilization, Culture and the Information Environment)

[3.19 - Gordon Pask and Alan Balfour]

[3.20 - Gordon Pask’s Mock-up]

[3.21 - Gordon Pask’s Diagram]


PART IV - Conclusion

4.1 - Conclusion - The envisioning of an evolving environment (p.366-421)

4.2 - Archival and bibliographical sources (p.381-426)

Gordon Pask Archive - Held by Amanda Heitler.

Cedric Price Archives - Canadian Centre for Architecture, Montreal …
Generator Document Folio

Cedric Price Archives - Canadian Centre for Architecture, Montreal

Japan Net Document Folio

Other sources


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