Peter Cook discusses the rise of Archigram in the 1960s in exclusive Dezeen interview for VDF

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 1960s.

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 members Cook and Dennis Crompton, sponsored by Enscape, looking back at the origins of the group and some of its most significant projects.

“Archigram was a very important stage for all of us,” said Cook in the video, which Dezeen filmed in London. “I think that we have probably never again had such a creative or exotic a phenomenon in our lifetimes.”

Archigram started life in 1961 as a self-published magazine by a group of young architects comprising Cook, Michael Webb and David Greene.

“At first, almost nobody took any notice,” Cook recalled. “I mean, we had difficulty selling more than 100 copies.”

However, the magazine piqued the interest of a group of slightly older, more established architects – Crompton, Warren Chalk and Ron Herron – who were working for London County Council (LCC) on projects including London’s Southbank Centre.

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.

“It was the sort of thing that can happen in a city like London at a certain time,” said Cook.

“A sufficient number of interesting people form subgroups and the subgroups coalesce. And in the coalescence, I think, was the strength because the LCC group had built buildings. The other three of us hadn’t; we were pretty much fresh out of school.”

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