Tuesday 11 December 2012

Experiencing the Living City

Sketch of Exhibition at the Institute of Contemporary Arts in London on 19th June-2nd August 1963

     Archigram believed that the city was the single distinct organism and the Living City Exhibition is a response to the city life. During this time, many argued that the submissive process of building cities has lost all its past spirits including Jane Jacob and William H. Whyte. It became a search for a way back to when city was full of life and enthusiasm. However, discussion surrounded the question of whether not only of their developing trends and changes, but more important of their existence. This concept is a focus on the man as a subject and as the one who sets up the condition and mood of the environment. Fearing the lost of cities would lead to the sprawl of the suburban because of its high standards of comfort, Archigram tries to create an experience in the exhibition. Although there are many bad qualities to the city such as “corruption of the young, overcrowding, exposure to risk”, but by creating a series of small rooms, where the people walking around will share an experience in the space, Archigram was showing the positives. Using only triangles is a sensible choice as a structural feature to separate the spaces, each division is its own theme including: “Man, Survival, Community, Communications, Movements, Place and Situation".The boundaries of spaces are not clear as it is similar to reality, they coincide with each other. As Peter Cook states: “‘Why have you not stated an answer to the problem, why have you not an image of the city of the future?’ We feel that it has been primarily necessary to define the problem. We have set the scene. We have attempted to capture that indefinable something: the Living City”. This was the beginning of the group’s extended reaction to the cities of the future.

The triangular units, which can be prefabricated, to form 'gloops' (different spaces) in plan.