During the 1960s and 70s, a time of ever-increasingly functional highrise buildings, existed Archigram, an avant-garde architectural group who’s principal members Peter Cook, Warren Chalk, Ron Herron, Dennis Crompton, Michael Webb and David Greene undertook experimental projects in response to the changing world around them. This was also a time of the moon landing, rapidly evolving technologies and materials, and the influx of mass production and mass consumerism. With a foresight that predicted many of today’s norms (in particular the integration of computer technology in our day-to-day lives) they developed a series of projects including The Plug-In City, The Walking City, The Living Pod and my favourite, The Cushicle. These became part of several exhibitions and featured in their own provocative publication Archigram.
This new book from Princeton Architectural Press covers the history of the group from 1961-1974, sharing essays, concept drawings, photographs and pop culture references that describe in great detail a movement that influenced a generation of architects and technology designers. It’s highly appropriate, if not small building blockish size certainly doesn’t show the work off to it’s best, but as a self-confessed layman to the world of architecture and someone who knew nothing of Archigram, it does an excellent job of giving a sense of the groups motives and aesthetic which makes for fine reading for those interested in a unique, artistic movement.