Archigram: Architecture without Architecture by Simon Sadler

By Simon Sadler

Within the Nineteen Sixties, the architects of Britain’s Archigram staff and Archigram journal became clear of traditional structure to suggest towns that stream and homes worn like fits of garments. In drawings encouraged through pop paintings and psychedelia, structure floated away, tethered by means of wires, gantries, tubes, and vans. In Archigram: structure with out structure, Simon Sadler argues that Archigram’s feel of enjoyable takes its position beside the opposite cultural agitants of the Nineteen Sixties, originating attitudes and strategies that grew to become average for architects rethinking social area and construction know-how. The Archigram sort used to be assembled from the Apollo missions, constructivism, biology, production, electronics, and pop culture, inspiring an architectural movement—High Tech—and influencing the postmodern and deconstructivist tendencies of the past due 20th century.

Although so much Archigram tasks have been on the limits of probability and remained unbuilt, the six architects on the middle of the circulation, Warren Chalk, Peter cook dinner, Dennis Crompton, David Greene, Ron Herron, and Michael Webb, turned a focus for the architectural avant-garde, simply because they redefined the aim of structure. Countering the recurring development perform of atmosphere partitions and areas in position, Archigram architects desired to give you the apparatus for amplified residing, they usually welcomed any cultural rearrangements that may take place. Archigram: structure with no Architecture—the first full-length serious and historic account of the Archigram phenomenon—traces Archigram from its rediscovery of early modernist verve via its dating of scholars, to its ascent to foreign notoriety for advocating the “disappearance of architecture.”

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Mainstream modernism had boasted of being technologically determined, yet declined to respond to the catalogue of technological achievements of the decade or so leading up to the launch of Archigram—including the bomb (acquired by Britain 1952), electronic computers, television, and manned space flight (1961). Archigram no. 31). A strong factual thread ran through British boys’ comics of the 1950s (girls’ comics tended to revolve around photo stories), sincerely attempting to predict and inform youthful readers about short-hop air transportation and space travel.

108 Archigram, it is fair to speculate, wanted to wave a pop wand over mass housing and so rescue the promise of a better tomorrow before it was too late. Archigram’s members had been shocked at the backwardness of a great deal of the British housing stock extant in the postwar decades. 111 Thus it was that the bolt-on, car-body, disposable pop home could be regarded by Archigram not as a fanciful diversion but as the solution to housing an economically transformed society. 112 Plug-In City was, perhaps, a “third way” between public- and private-sector housing, privately selected capsules clinging like limpets to the public infrastructure.

86 This urge to appreciate the “long front of culture” (to use an Independent Group expression)—popular culture as well as elite culture—probably explains why the brutalists found the free-ranging discussions at the ica valuable. The Smithsons soon distanced themselves from the more complete seduction of the Independent Group by popular culture per se. The quest for a poetry of mass production, initiated by Le Corbusier two generations before and rediscovered by the Smithsons, was then adopted by Archigram.

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