THIS WAS OUR UTOPIANISM! : An Interview with Peter Cook

Plug-In City. Image Courtesy of

In the following interview, which originally appeared in Zawia#01:Utopia (published December 2013), Sir Peter Cook, one of the brilliant minds behind , sits down with the editors of Zawia to discuss his thoughts on utopia – including why he felt the work of wasn’t particularly utopian (or even revolutionary) at all. 

ZAWIA: It is perhaps difficult to discuss our next volume’s theme – “utopia” – without first starting with archigram and the visions that came out of that period. How do you view the utopian visions of archigram during that specific moment of history in relation to the current realities of our cities and the recent political and social waves of change ?

PETER COOK: Actually… at the time I was probably naive enough to not regard it as Utopian.

Abedian School of Architecture / CRAB Studio

© Peter Bennetts

Architects: CRAB Studio
Location: Queensland, Australia
Design Team: Sir and Gavin Robotham, Mark Bagguley, Jenna Al-Ali, Ting-Na Chen, Lorene Faure, Yang Yu, Tim Culverhouse
General Contractor: ADCO, Gold Coast
Structural: Arup, Brisbane
Area: 2500.0 sqm
Year: 2013
Photographs: Peter Bennetts, Rix Ryan Photography

Departments Of Law And Central Administration / CRAB Studio

© Ronald Kreimel

Architects: CRAB Studio
Location: Vienna,
Architects In Charge: Sir Peter Cook, Gavin Robotham
Design Team: Sir Peter Cook, Gavin Robotham, Mark Bagguley, Stefan Lengen, Theresa Heinen
Year: 2013
Photographs: Ronald Kreimel

In Progress: Vallecas Housing / CRAB Studio

Courtesy of CRAB Studio

Architects: CRAB Studio
Location: Vallecas, , Spain
Design Team: , Gavin Robotham, Salvador Perez Arroyo
Photographs: Courtesy of CRAB Studio

‘Speculator’ Exhibition / CRAB Studio

Courtesy of CRAB Studio

Speculating on the potential and possibilities to develop culture in the Gold Coast, professor Sir and Gavin Robotham, directors of CRAB Studio, investigated this idea through the making of a large hanging sculptural piece: The WRAP, and a set of drawings and watercolors. The result is a public art exhibition, ‘Speculator’ in collaboration with Bond University, in Contemporary Temporary Gold Coast Arts Gallery, Surfers Paradise, . The ‘WRAP’ aims to inspire that architecture can be the catalyst for transformation. More images and architects’ description after the break.

Istanbul Disaster Prevention and Education Center / CRAB Studio

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Inspired by a reaction to the tsunami, the proposal for the Disaster Prevention and Education Center is symbolically and practically rising above the streams. Designed by CRAB, the studio of Sir Peter Cook and Gavin Robotham, the building sits with its blades resting into the ground, ready to divide the streams of water if and when they come. Organized as a series of five clusters, it meanders along the site as a chain of events and somewhat in the manner of a chain of flowers. More images and architects’ description after the break.

“Towards Comfo-Veg” Exhibition at SCI-Arc

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Exhibited from April 6 – Mary 13, the Southern California Institute of Architecture (SCI-Arc) is pleased to present “Towards Comfo-Veg,” a large scale, site-specific installation designed for the SCI-Arc Gallery by architect and artist Peter Cook and partner Gavin Robotham of London-based CRAB Studio. Building on CRAB’s internationally recognized experimental work, Towards Comfo-Veg introduces an almost completely light-tight, multimedia experiential space welcoming visitors through a single point of entry and leading towards hints of an invented and dreamlike world. More information after the break.

New Soheil Abedian School of Architecture Competition won by CRAB Studio

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The competition for the new Soheil Abedian School of Architecture for Bond University in the Gold Coast of Queensland, has been won by CRAB – the studio of Sir Peter Cook and Gavin Robotham – in association with Brit Andresen. More images and architect’s description after the break.

Tower of Droplets: Taiwan Conceptual Tower Competition Entry / CRAB Studio

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The Taiwan Conceptual Tower International Competition awarded “The Tower of Droplets” Sir Peter Cook and Gavin Robotham’s London-based Cook Robotham Architecture Bureau (CRAB) won second prize for their entry: “The Tower of Droplets in The Taiwan Conceptual Tower International Competition. Presented here is just one of the 237 entries from 25 countries that were submitted. Crab studio recieved a $65,000 award for their entry for , Taiwan. The team comprised Jenna Al-Ali, Nuria Blanco, Lorene Faure, and Selma Johannson. Consulting engineer was Michael Kaverne of Buro Happold.

Read on for more on the tower after the break.