Archigram's Plug-In City shows that “pre-fabrication doesn't have to be boring” | VDF

Architects Peter Cook and Dennis Crompton discuss Archigram’s influential concept for an elevated city of capsule homes in the second instalment of our exclusive video series with the radical architecture group for VDF.

Developed between 1963 and 1966, Plug-In City is a conceptual city comprising personalised pre-fabricated homes that are inserted into high-rise megastructures.

The concept was developed while Cook, Crompton and fellow Archigram members Michael Webb, David Greene, Warren Chalk and Ron Herron were working for Taylor Woodrow Design Group.

“It was done at a time when our day job was including prefabricated housing components,” said Cook in the video, which Dezeen filmed in London and is sponsored by Enscape.

“It was looking at prefabrication and saying: ‘Come on, this doesn’t have to be boring. It can be quite romantic and quite exciting.'”

Archigram developed a number of different Plug-In City designs, with each comprising the same basic components.

“It developed over about three years, actually,” said Cook. “The first version was done in 1964.”

“You stick up a megastructure that contains the access systems, diagonal lifts, and the servicing elements that bring up food and water and take out rubbish and so on,” he continued.

“You then add to that a substructure that can carry pre-fabricated dwellings that we call capsules.”

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