To continue with my obvious interest in avant-garde thinkers of the built environment, this post is about Archigram. This particular group of architects made their impact in the sixties, a time of revolution, if you didn’t know. Archigram were able to develop their message in a fun and artistically inspired way, promoting a visual that was more akin to that found on a Beatles album cover than that of a classic architectural rendering. Their graphical style really set them apart from their contemporaries with a DIY aesthetic of collage and photocopy, the communication of the character of the idea being the fundamental purpose.

Archigram are predominately known for their conceptual thinking and publications than built projects, their thoughts lead them to futuristic inspired visions of megastructures and conceptual urban templates. Explorations of walking cities, plug-In metropolises and pop-up villages, fantastic ideas that usually are outplayed only in science fiction.

As it turns out, Archigram did actually predict the direction in which the built environment was heading. The ideas of futuristic instant cities and on demand services are all the more apparent today, you only have to check the post below. Even the premise of Peter Cook’s (Archigram) Crater City seemed to uncannily predict the “extreme suburb”; the isolated concrete halos that circle conveniently near transport terminals.

Unfortunately the world Archigram spoke of is not necessarily that of today’s easily deployed structures. It seems that the monopoly of ‘instant cities’ are brought to us by {Enter Name Here} conglomerate Ltd throwing up another soulless office block and/or high rise accomedation with complimentary conditioning systems and/or overly rude, balding security staff. That is to say that the wrong people have pushed through the wrong buildings, mainly for the wrong reasons.

Archigram’s influence flies beyond misappropriations and their influences spans across many fields, particularly amongst students. Collectively, Archigram have dedicated a bulk of their time passing on their knowledge and ideas to generations of budding architects and designers; directly and indirectly, through writing and teaching. The hypothesis of Archigram’s work is routed in the fantasy of creating dream worlds, utopias, playing with daft ideas and pushing the boat out in the name of exploration. Maybe they had prophetic visions of what will be, but more likely they set a precursor for others to aspire to; sat in the logic that if it can be dreamt, it can be done. Moveover, a legacy of inspired thinkers are set in their footsteps.

Be sure to see The Archigram Archive, uploaded by the University of Westminster, which hosts the bulk of the groups finests work:

Walking City

Pop Up Village

Sin Centre

Furniture Manufacturers’ Association Building Project

Living City Exhibition

Entertainments Tower Project

Plug In City

City Interchange Project

Tuned Suburb


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