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ARCHIGRAM - A Guide to Archigram
By Dennis Crompton

January 28, 2013 /
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In the decade of the Beatles and the moon landing, cybernetics, and megacities, Archigram invented new artifacts and situations and threatened the discipline of architecture itself: Walking Cities, Plug-in-Universities, and Inflatable Dwellings.

At once poetic and technological, utopian and grounded in social need, their projects embodied the avant-garde architecture of the 1960s.

This Guide is a compact history of the work that influenced a whole generation of architects. It includes their best-known schemes and draws together for the first time articles on a wide variety of contemporary subjects, allowing a new generation to discover their vision of a sophisticated humanity and a refined technology working in harmony to make a better world.

Archigram was, beyond everything, immensely creative. I don't think we have to be shy about that. When the group was first formed in 1964 it consisted of six men who ranged in temperament from the laconic to the bright-eyed, and in age and experience from the hardened builders of local authority schools and public buildings, to young architects who were in their first jobs after school./ Peter Cook, London 2012
Excerpted from the foreword

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1961
A new generation of architecture must arise - with forms which seem to reject precepts of modern.

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1962

Peter Cook & David Greene 
Nottingham Shopping Centre

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1963

Living City


In the Living City man is the ultimate subject and principal conditioner. The theme is interpreted by presenting evocations, accentuations and simulations of city life, not a display of suggested forms. The image is a total image of it all like a film.

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1964
Zoom and Real Architecture.

Is it possible for the space-comic's future to relate once again with buildings-as-built?

We return to the preoccupation of the first Archigram - a search for ways out of the stagnation of the architectural scene, where the continuing malaise is not just with the mediocrity of the object, but, more seriously, with the self-satisfaction of the profession backing up such architecture.Peter Cook

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1966
Seaside Bubbles
Leisure Study by Ron Herron

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1967
A Family is Made Up of Individuals.

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1968
Ideas Circus

Scheme: To institute a standard package of five or six vehiclesthat contain all the equipment necessary to set up a seminar, conference, exhibition, teach-inThe package can be attached to an existing building, plugging-in to such facilities as are there and using the shelter of existing rooms for circus equipment. or display.

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1969
Manzak

Manzak is an idea for a radio-controlled, battery-powered electric automaton. It has onboard logic, optical range-finder, TV camera, and magic eye bump detectors. All the sensory equipment you need for environmental information retrieval, and for performing tasks.

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1971
A Gambling Room for a Summer Casino competition.

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1972
It's a..............?
It's not a University - it can't be...show me, where's the building. Where's the label?

Just what was it that made Archigram so radical?

If we answer this question without nostalgia, we will be able to determine the groups place in history - and, in the process, rediscover the relevance of their architecture today.Herbert Lachmayer
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Archigram

All images courtesy Princeton Architectural Press

Last updated: December 19, 2013

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