In the following interview, which originally appeared in Zawia#01:Utopia (published December 2013), Sir Peter Cook, one of the brilliant minds behind Archigram, sits down with the editors of Zawia to discuss his thoughts on utopia – including why he felt the work of Archigram 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.
A pivotal figure within the global architectural world for over half a century, Sir Peter Cook, the English architect, professor, and writer, celebrates his 77th birthday today. Cook was one of the founding members of Archigram, the avant-garde futurist architecture group of the 1960s; one of his most significant works from that time, The Plug-In City, still invokes debates on technology and society, challenging standards of architectural discourse today. With a love for the slithering, the swarming and the spooky, Cook continues to teach at the University College London and lecture around the world.
Last September 25th, at Bartlett School of Architecture, the Graduate Program Exhibition was inaugurated. The same day, Peter Cook gave by himself the “Multicoloured Ear”, (the physical icon coming from the fact that exhibition was taking place at the former Ear Hospital building) for the Special Peter Cook Prize of this year, to the postgraduate student Maj Plemenitas with his research project 10⁻⁹ ]LINK[ 10⁹.
The Southern California Institute of Architecture is pleased to present London Eight, curated by renowned English architect Sir Peter Cook. London Eight presents three main exhibitors, teachers from the Bartlett School of Architecture in London chosen by Peter Cook, each of whom have nominated a ‘new face’ exhibitor.
The exhibition examines recent works from the teachers/students and will include three-dimensional objects, bas-relief items, digital and handmade drawings and collages, projections, and models.