Log in or sign up to add this lesson to a Custom Course. Log in or Sign up. As far as architectural slogans go, that's not the most traditional. Nevertheless, in , architect Warren Chalk published an article under that title and thus established one of the great catchphrases of neofuturist, even post-modern, architecture. In the early s, Chalk helped to found a group called Archigram a portmanteau of architecture telegram , whose purpose was to dispose of the stoic, cerebral, and colorless forms of modernist architecture.
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I am holding in my hand a single sheet of paper, wrapped in protective plastic, with words and drawings wriggling all over the available space, on both sides. The possibilities of offset litho printing in the year of its making, , are fully explored. This document was Archigram 1 , the first issue of a magazine — if a single sheet can be called that — that was to grow in pagination and significance. Its price was sixpence, in old money. Now, it will be literally worth its small weight in gold, or more, for this flimsy tablet of stone, this home-made harbinger of a technological future, is rare and collectible.
They, people and publication together, would be some of the most influential of the second half of the 20th century. Similarly with Archigram , whose vivid collages gave form and voice to a generation impatient with the dry prescriptions of mainstream modernists. Like pop artists at around the same time, they wanted their art form to draw energy from the explosions of technology and consumer culture that were happening all around them.
Two, Warren Chalk and Ron Herron , died too young. Another, Michael Webb , is now based in New York. The occasion of this gathering is Archigram: The Book , a page compendium of the magazines and related works, assembled and edited by Crompton. There will also be events to go with the publication. Cook does most of the talking, even when questions are directed at others. Someone might be talking about powder puffs, or cranes, or enviro-pills.
It was all interesting. They loved the capsules and spacesuits that went with the Apollo moonshots, and wanted to transfer them to Earth-bound buildings. Their interest in consumer culture came without the distancing irony of artists like Richard Hamilton; they were more interested in what it could achieve.
We were interested in how the consumer could be part of the design process, not a recipient. At the same time they brought a British mindset to their creations, which owed as much to seaside piers as to Cape Canaveral. He was born in Southend-on-Sea and studied in Bournemouth; Crompton was born in Blackpool and studied in Manchester; Greene was raised and educated in Nottingham. They were more open-minded, more willing to learn from, for example, the lesser-known expressionist architects of s Germany, rather than the canonical works of Bauhaus.
The three men resist the most common charge against Archigram, that they dealt in unbuildable fantasies. He challenges me to name an unbuildable Archigram project. Walking Cities, I venture.
If you can build an ocean liner, he says, why not them? What is the case is that there are few identifiable Archigram buildings. The South bank Centre in London , on which Crompton, Herron and Chalk played leading roles, embodies many of their ideas. Cook has delivered buildings, such as a bright blue blob of a drawing school in Bournemouth , in which the curvy, organic shapes from the pages of the Archigram magazine become reality.
More significant is their influence, which has filtered through their teaching into generations of students, and through their publications and exhibitions into the practice of architecture. Perhaps their biggest gift to architecture is an attitude. Some of their contraptions look like terribly contrived and complicated ways to achieve their stated ends. But running through Archigram is the essential insight that buildings should respond to the lives that go on in and around them, and that when those lives change they should be able to change too.
Also the belief that, whatever you do, you should do it with zest. It was a baggy enough group to contain differences of opinion.
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A Walking City for the 21st Century
I am holding in my hand a single sheet of paper, wrapped in protective plastic, with words and drawings wriggling all over the available space, on both sides. The possibilities of offset litho printing in the year of its making, , are fully explored. This document was Archigram 1 , the first issue of a magazine — if a single sheet can be called that — that was to grow in pagination and significance. Its price was sixpence, in old money.
Victoria and Albert Museum
In a world where people live more mobile lifestyles than they have for centuries, cities are facing a problem they rarely planned for: their citizens move away. When jobs and resources start to decline, modern cities, such as Detroit , suffer difficult and often wasteful processes of urban contraction. In contrast to this, Manuel Dominguez's "Very Large Structure," the result of his thesis project at ETSA Madrid, proposes a nomadic city that can move on caterpillar tracks to locations where work and resources are abundant. Of course this is not the first time that the idea of a nomadic city has been proposed. Ron Herron's Walking City is one of the more recognizable Archigram designs from the s, and has been influential to architectural theory ever since. However, the design for the "Very Large Structure" expands on the Walking City by including strong proposals for energy generation on board the city. Read on to see more on this provocative project - including a full set of presentation boards in the image gallery.
Archigram: Plug-in-City, The Walking City & Instant City
Archigram Walking City Home. It shows multiple walking cities attached to one another while parked in Long Island Sound. The picture also shows a boat in the sound moving between the connected cities. However, there are no people shown in any part of this image. The point of view places the viewer above ground level looking directly at the skyline.