Thursday 6 December 2012

Archigram 7: Beyond Architecture

      Although neither the Cushicle nor Suitaloon were featured in the 7th installment of  Archigram. Archigram 7: Beyond Architecture played a vital role in the development of the Suitaloon and Cushicle. Between the release of the 6th and 7th issues of Archigram there was a shift in society. People began exploring information systems, communication systems and the advancement of technologies. The members of Archigram witnessed this shift and quickly realized that the comic strip language and the study of urban infrastructural systems that dominated previous issues could not go on. Computer-based technology had been referenced in some earlier Archigram projects but with the release of Archigram 7: Beyond Architecture, computing was put in the forefront. 

       “Its cover illustrated not with a building but with a computer loom, in December 1966 Archigram no. 7 claimed to be the first issue that went “Beyond Architecture”. And, Peter Cook warned in his editorial, “There may be no buildings at all in Archigram 8.” 

-Hadas A. Steiner

    Archigram 7 was distributed as a series of loose sheets and inserts all folded together in a plastic bag. The bizarre packaging of Archigram 7 removed the idea of a predetermined narrative and instead presented the reader with a low-tech information system. The print of the computer circuit on the front of the magazine represents a movement in technology that was going on at the time of Archigram 7’s release. Technology was becoming miniaturized.

At the beginning of the Sixties, electronics was about hot valves and stuff like that. It was end of the Faraday era, if you like, where the ways of processing electrons were through valves and various devices that were based on late Nineteenth century discoveries but in the Forties and the Fifties, and then primarily through the space programme miniaturisation, transistors have been discovered, lasers have been discovered…"

                                                                         - Dennis Crompton                                                                                     

       The major projects that can be found in Archigram 7 are The Plug in city, The living Pod, the Free Time Node and Drive-in Housing. Peter Cook also included a do-it-yourself miniature paper model of the plug in city in Archigram 7. The purpose of this model was to illustrate the point that the Plug in City was not unified design, but rather a series of loosely related structures that came together to form an urban site.

      Archigram 7: Beyond Architecture introduces the idea of an architectural language formed around technology and communication. Archigram 8: Popular Pak elaborates on the ideas presented in the projects of Archrigram 7.