A dozen years ago, in the early stages of a dissertation, I found myself in the special collections room at the Getty Research Institute in Los Angeles. To my left, a tweedy professor type softly sang Latin lines from an ancient leather-bound tome. To my right, a pair of art historians hunched intently over delicate sheets of 18th-century foolscap. As the attendant eyed me skeptically from across the room, I sat snickering at what appeared to be a sci-fi comic book.

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Your browser appears to have cookies disabled. For the best experience of this website, please enable cookies in your browser. More news. Is the architecture profession becoming more diverse? More opinion. Archigram ruled the architectural avant-garde in the late s — 50 years on, its playful vision of a technocratic future is freely available online.

Steve Parnell reports. No books, not even those written by Archigram, contained the full back catalogue. If the world of cuisine were as obsessed with awards as architecture is, this would be akin to a celebrity chef winning the Golden Toque or whatever it is they secretly covet by simply writing recipes involving nonexistent food probably aphrodisiac , drawing beautiful people eating them, and publishing myriad cookbooks without ever switching on an oven.

One could argue about the influence of Archigram on the metabolists, on the high-tech movement and on building in general. Many people have. Until the s, architectural culture was a by-product of practice.

However, partly in response to a growing disillusionment with modernism, this hierarchy has been reversing ever since so that now, architectural practice is a by-product of its culture. And it is Archigram that most emphatically represents this inversion, as the first architects to make a career almost entirely out of architectural culture lecturing, teaching, exhibiting, publishing rather than building.

Until the launch of this site, there was simply nowhere you could view the magazines in which the majority of its work was first published, that generated the phenomenon as an entirety.

They are now available for free viewing in glorious, low resolution technicolour. The site is superb, both in content and form. As well as many of the items being transcribed, there are supplementary texts to locate Archigram in history, in case you missed it the first time. And at last — every page of every magazine is there too. My only criticism is the resolution of the images. This is a direct consequence of the difference between culture and practice: whereas the products of architectural culture documents are easy to copy, and therefore copyrightable, those of practice buildings are not.

In the UK, until the recent hyper-paranoid anti-terror laws at least, it was permissible to freely photograph any building from the public highway. Now we can all access the incredible quantity of Archigram material and feed off the abounding optimism. At least now we can all access the incredible quantity of material, feed off the abounding energy and optimism and assess for ourselves whether Archigram deserve their unique place in architectural history.

A: Over to you! However, one critic questioned the need for an exhibition promoting the vibrancy of the city, in the middle of swinging London. This most brilliant of issues took more than inspiration from sci-fi comic books and Roy Lichtenstein imagery in order to present architecture as a consumable, popular item rather than the stuffy high culture that modernism had become.

Beyond the magazines, Archigram produced an immense amount of ideas and drawings depicting an optimistic, fantasy, fun future where you and your partner are eternally beautiful. Many of these previously unpublished images form a large portion of the archive and are well worth investigation. It would have been interesting to see their ideas turned into material reality, although that would have spoilt the Archigram mythology.

Anonymous 18 May, pm. I agree the whole digital point is to access 'zines and make visuals freely available - nooks 'n crannies 'n all Unsuitable or offensive?

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Archigram, architecture's pop legends, come alive in new book

Designer Theo Crosby was the "hidden hand" behind the group. Committed to a 'high tech', light weight, infra-structural approach that was focused towards survival technology, the group experimented with modular technology, mobility through the environment, space capsules and mass-consumer imagery. Their works offered a seductive vision of a glamorous future machine age; however, social and environmental issues were left unaddressed. Archigram agitated to prevent modernism from becoming a sterile and safe orthodoxy by its adherents. Unlike ephemeralisation from Buckminster Fuller which assumes more must be done with less material because material is finite , Archigram relies on a future of interminable resources. The works of Archigram had a neofuturistic slant being influenced by Antonio Sant'Elia 's works.


The Archigram Archives go digital

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.


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In the first of a series of video interviews with former members of Archigram for VDF , architect Peter Cook recounts how the influential avant-garde architecture group rose to prominence in the s. Archigram was an experimental collective of architects that became famous for its radical architecture concepts drawing from the emerging technologies and consumer culture of the time. This week, as part of Virtual Design Festival , Dezeen is publishing a series of exclusive interviews with former Archigram members Cook and Dennis Crompton, sponsored by Enscape , looking back at the origins of the group and some of its most significant projects. Archigram started life in as a self-published magazine by a group of young architects comprising Cook, Michael Webb and David Greene. Crompton, Chalk and Herron began contributing to subsequent issues of Archigram and the group that would come to be named after the magazine was formed. And in the coalescence, I think, was the strength because the LCC group had built buildings.


The world according to Archigram

Museum experts had objected to the collection of important British architectural works being moved overseas, but no buyer planning to keep the collection in the UK could be found. Peter Cook , one of the surviving members of Archigram, told the AJ that he welcomed the sale. Cook said the dearth of UK buyers demonstrated a "certain blinkeredness" in the country's attitude to architecture. The architect has previously been critical of the British architectural scene, which he diagnosed as going through a "dull period".

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