M+ Matters: Archigram Cities – It’s Archigram!
Organised with the Department of Architecture, University of Hong Kong
Date: 13 November 2020 (Friday)
Time: 7:30pm–9:30pm (Hong Kong)
Online Screening of Archigram Films
Archigram 1967 (1967)
Commissioned by the BBC for a late-night arts programme, Archigram 1967 was the first national broadcast of Archigam’s work, following on their increasingly influential magazine. In the programme synopsis, the BBC describes Archigram as ‘a group of young British architects who believe that architecture in the space age means expandable buildings that can change when and as needed’. Transmitted on 19 January 1967 and directed by Tattooist International, the film shows Archigram’s view of the world, including some ideas which, they suggest, may help ‘make sense of our towns and cities’.
Archigram Opera, 1972 © Archigram
Archigram Opera (1972)
Archigram Opera is a multimedia projection of Archigram’s work across ten years of their activity and nine issues of their magazine. The group developed the projection in 1972, with Archigram member Dennis Crompton as lead producer. The Opera is a narrated projection of 644 slides—accompanied by the music of 1960s rock bands like Vanilla Fudge, the Grateful Dead, and Emerson, Lake & Palmer—that distils the group’s thinking, work, influences, and intentions, identifying with what the architects describe as ‘Mobility, Robots, Dreams Come True’.
Discussion with Archigram
Archigram (established United Kingdom. Active primarily 1961–1974) was an experimental architecture collective based in London, comprised of six members: Warren Chalk (1927–1987), Peter Cook (born 1936), Dennis Crompton (born 1935), David Greene (born 1937), Ron Herron (1930–2011), and Michael Webb (born 1937). Through their publications, exhibitions, multimedia presentations, and drawings, the group embraced technology, popular culture, consumerism, and mass media, envisioning a future of roving metropolises, self-contained living units, and pop-up cities. While Archigram was active and also subsequently, their work contributed to a global conversation on architecture, both drawing from and informing the architectural movements of the second half of the twentieth century.
Peter Cook is an architect, writer, and member of Archigram. He graduated from the Architectural Association School of Architecture in 1960. He is a Senior Fellow of the Royal College of Art and has taught at the Royal Academy; the Bartlett School of Architecture, University College, London; and the Städelschule. He was Director of the Institute of Contemporary Arts in London between 1970 and 1973 and Chair of Architecture at the Bartlett between 1990 and 2006. He continues to practice architecture, with Gavin Robotham, as CRAB. In 2007, Cook was knighted for his services to architecture.
Dennis Crompton is an architect, lecturer, and member of Archigram. He led the development of the technical aspects of Archigram’s activities. He has maintained the records of the group’s work from its earliest days, eventually establishing the Archigram Archive. In collaboration with Ron Herron, he designed the exhibition Archigram: Experimental Architecture 1961–74 at the Kunsthalle Wien in 1994. He has been connected to the Architectural Association (AA) School of Architecture since 1965, and taught there for over thirty years. In the 1970s and 1980s, he was responsible for the production of publications and exhibitions at the AA. He lectures frequently at schools of architecture in Europe and the United States.
David Greene is an architect, writer, lecturer, and member of Archigram. After completing his studies at the Nottingham College of Art (now the School of Art & Design, Nottingham Trent University), he practised architecture, collaborated with London-based clothing designer Paul Smith, and taught at the Architectural Association (AA) School of Architecture and at Westminster University, where he was a professor from 1997 until 2007. In 2002, he and Peter Cook jointly received the RIBA Annie Spink Award for excellence in architectural education. Throughout his career, he has developed work in an extended research project on ephemeral architecture, entitled L.A.W.U.N. (Locally Available World Unseen Networks), which he continues to lead at the AA. The book L.A.W.U.N. Projects #19 (Architectural Association, 2012) catalogues his ideas from 1959 through 2008.
Michael Webb is an architect and member of Archigram. He studied architecture at the Regent Street Polytechnic School of Architecture (now the University of Westminster), and emigrated to the United States in 1965. Drawing has played a fundamental role throughout his career, defining the development of his Temple Island study (published by the Architectural Association in 1987) and Drive-In House series. His writing has appeared in Architectural Design, Daidalos, and the Journal of Architectural Education and his work has been exhibited at the Cooper Union, Columbia University, Storefront for Art and Architecture, the Architectural League of New York, and Art Net. He was a Mellon Senior Fellow at the Canadian Centre for Architecture in 2011. A monograph on his work, Michael Webb: Two Journeys, edited by Ashley Simone, was published by Lars Müller Publishers in 2018.