THIS WAS OUR UTOPIANISM! : An Interview with Peter Cook

. 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 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.

Happy Birthday Sir Peter Cook!

Sir . Image © vimeo.com

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.

AD Round Up: Unbuilt Classics

The Plug-In City by , 1964. Image via Archives

This AD Round Up is dedicated to unbuilt classics, a selection of projects and ideas that, although never built, contributed greatly to the canon of twentieth century architecture. In 1920, Buckminister Fuller designed the Dymaxion House, which displayed forward-thinking innovations in sustainability and prefabrication. In 1924, Le Corbusier’s radical plan for Ville Radieuse (The Radiant City) had an extensive influence upon modern urban planning and led to the development of new high-density housing typologies. In the same year Friedrick Kiesler introduced his “Endless House“, the basis for his subsequent manifesto of Correalism. Eight years later in 1932, Philip Johnson and Henry-Russell Hitchcock curated the “Modern Architecture: International exhibition” at the MoMA, introducing the emerging International Style and laying the principles for Modern architecture. And finally, one of Archigram’s most famous utopian visions, the Plug-In City, proposed by Peter Cook in 1964, offered a fascinating new approach to urbanism and reversed traditional perceptions of infrastructure’s role in the city.

AD Classics: The Plug-In City / Peter Cook, Archigram

by Peter Cook via Archives

AD Classics presents you with great buildings of the past, providing inspiration and motivation for architects to design for the future. But why must inspiration only come from poured concrete and erected walls? For this edition of AD Classics, we share a work, the Plug-In City, by the avant-garde group Archigram. Though never built, their projects and ideas provoked fascinating debates, combining architecture, technology and society; when Plug-In City was proposed in 1964, it offered a fascinating new approach to urbanism, reversing traditional perceptions of ’s role in the city.  

More on this radical project after the break…

Bartlett’s Peter Cook Special Prize 2012 Goes to Maj Plemenitas

© Maj Plemenitas

Last September 25th, at , the Graduate Program Exhibition was inaugurated. The same day, 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 Prize of this year, to the postgraduate student Maj Plemenitas with his research project 10⁻⁹ ]LINK[ 10⁹.

London Eight, Curated by Sir Peter Cook

The Southern California Institute of Architecture is pleased to present Eight, curated by renowned English architect Sir . 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.

The exhibition opens tomorrow February 19 at the SCI-Arc Library. To find out more on the exhibitors, click here.