As one of the founding members of Archigram, the avant-garde neo-futurist architecture group of the 1960s, the British architect, professor, and writer Sir Peter Cook (born 22 October 1936) has been a pivotal figure within the global architectural world for over half a century; one of his most significant works from his time with Archigram, The Plug-In City, still invokes debates on technology and society, challenging standards of architectural discourse today.
Some architects love color, some are unmoved by it, some hate it, and some love to dismiss it as too whimsical or non-serious for architecture. In an essay on the subject, Timothy Brittain-Catlin mentions the “innate puritanism among clients of architecture,” architects and their “embarrassment of confronting color,” and how “Modernism tried to ‘educate out’ bright colors.” So, while the debate on color in architecture is far from being a new one, it is not finished, and probably never will be.
In today’s world where the exhausted stereotype of the no-nonsense architect clad in black still persists, and while we quietly mull over the strange pull of the Cosmic Latte, there are some architects who haven’t been afraid of using broad swathes of color in their work at all. Read on for a list of 7 such exemplary architects both from the past and the present.
In the sixth episode of GSAPP Conversations, Jarrett Ley (a current GSAPP student) speaks with Sir Peter Cook. They discuss architecture as a tool for shaping radical thought, the relationship of the current political climate in Britain, Europe, and the United States on architectural education and practice, and how the most interesting contemporary architectural projects appear to stem from "unknown architects in smaller countries."
The legendary, ever-insightful Sir Peter Cook recently shared some advice for students with Det Kongelige Danske Kunstakademis Skoler for Arkitektur, Design og Konservering (KADK). Recommending ideas such as studying at two or more schools, working in at least two countries, and getting outside and simply watching people, it is clear that the key component to Sir Cook's suggestions for self-improvement as an architect is a diverse and engaged set of personal experiences. ArchDaily has also had a few opportunities to speak with Sir Cook, and just as we see in the video below, his passion and good will always shine.
The Bartlett School of Architecture, UCL, is celebrating the opening of its new building at 22 Gordon Street with an exhibition of work by visionary architect Sir Peter Cook. Running from 23 February to 10 March 2017, the exhibition marks Sir Peter’s 80th year with a celebration of 80 of his inspired and pioneering projects.
The computer does things correctly, and I think it's very important in architecture to also have the incorrect. – Peter Cook
In connection with the exhibition "Peter Cook. Retrospective" currently on view at the Museum for Architectural Drawing in Berlin, the Tchoban Foundation has released a video of the architect discussing the importance of drawing in the architectural world. Cook compares drawing to new computer-based techniques, arguing that while software can do amazing things (including being instrumental in realizing his own Kunsthaus Gratz), drawing allows the architect to learn, communicate and experiment in a way that is irreplaceable. Watch the teaser to the Tchoban Foundation's video above, or read on for the full discussion.
Last week ArchDaily attended the 2016 World Architecture Festival in Berlin. We chatted with Sir Peter Cook and asked him about the current state of global affairs (Brexit, the US election, etc). He explained how his experience and work has influenced a career that has spanned over five decades, and reminds us of the inspiring power of architecture.
Peter Cook: You have to understand that I'm a very particular kind of animal both politically and in my general opinions. I'm what I would call a creative cynic. I'm an old person and I've seen a lot of not very good things happen. On the other hand I was privileged as a child to have free education and free college.
The exhibition 'Peter Cook. Retrospective' is devoted to drawings by the famous British architect who is celebrating his 80th birthday this year. Peter Cook is without doubt one of the leading figures of the Archigram group and in 2007 was knighted for his contribution to architecture.
The program for the 2016 edition of the World Architecture Festival (WAF) has been announced. Being held from November 16-18 at the Arena Berlin, Germany, the festival will feature 3 days and 4 nights of events including conferences, lectures and seminars, architect-led city tours and networking opportunities, as well as live critiques of the 411 projects shortlisted for the 2016 WAF Awards. An all-star list of speakers will include leading architectural figures such as Patrik Schumacher, Ole Scheeren and Peter Cook.
This theme of this year’s festival is “Housing For Everyone.” Inspired by a variety of influences, markedly the condition of displaced communities of political and disaster refugees, lectures will focus on “the growing understanding of how demographics and global urbanization are forcing change; and the imperatives to create shelter at one end of the spectrum, and sufficiency for occupation and investment at the other.”
For architects, drawing is a thinking process. Sketching by hand onto paper without having any predetermined built form in mind is often the springboard for new hypotheses. With the rise of digital representation in architecture, has the computer superseded the hand in the exploration of ideas? This RIBA London seminar sees Professor Sir Peter Cook (co-founder of Archigram, director of CRAB Studio) and Professor Marcos Cruz (Bartlett) discuss the boons and limitations of digital representation in architecture, and the hybrid possibilities of using both in tandem.
In addition to hosting the world’s largest architectural awards program, the World Architecture Festival (WAF) also features three days of conferences, architect-led city tours, documentary screenings, live crit presentations and networking opportunities. To be held at Marina Bay Sands in Singapore, WAF will take place from November 4-6.
A major component of WAF is the opportunity to learn and expand one’s knowledge of current issues facing architecture and urbanism. Inspired by Singapore’s upcoming 50th anniversary as an independent country, the theme of this year’s conference series is 50:50, looking back on how architecture and urbanism have changed during the last 50 years, as well as forward on what may change or stay the same in the next 50 years to come. The conference will center around three key topics: Designing for Tomorrow; Imagining the Future; and Cities and Urbanism, featuring talks by Michael Sorkin, Peter Cook and Manuelle Gautrand, among many others.
The World Architecture Festival (WAF), the world’s largest architectural festival and awards event held annually in Singapore, has announced the theme of this year's program: 50:50. The theme is inspired by Singapore’s upcoming 50th anniversary as an independent country, and will look back on how architecture and urbanism have changed during the last 50 years, as well as forward on what may change or stay the same in the next 50 years to come.
From November 4-6, the 2015 World Architecture Festival (WAF) will take place in Suntec in central Singapore, featuring three days of conferences, exhibitions and lectures, in addition to the awards ceremony. As the world’s largest architectural festival and awards event, the WAF awards honor exceptional architecture from around the globe across 30 categories. Over 70 judges attend the festival and critique the submitted projects. Among this year’s “superjurors” are Peter Cook, Sou Fujimoto, Benedetta Tagliabue, Manuelle Gautrand, Charles Jencks, and Kerry Hill.
All entries must be submitted by May 22nd to be considered for the WAF awards. Shortlisted projects will compete for category prizes on the first two days of the festival. On the third (and last) day, the category winners will present their projects to the “super-juries,” which will select the World Landscape, Future Project and Completed Building of the Year.
Having taught architecture for almost fifty years, Sir Peter Cook has seen generations of architects go from student to high-profile practitioner. In almost half a century, though, architecture education has not particularly moved on: "I don't see the general situation as being any more progressive than it was when I was a student," he says.
Cook tells ArchDaily that instead of focusing on curriculum, structure and countless other preoccupations of many schools, "my experience is that doesn't matter, it depends who's teaching and how enthusiastic they are and whether they understand people," adding that "a really good architecture school is like a village," with tutors who simply don't go home because they are enjoying it so much (or perhaps for other, less innocent reasons).
In addition, Cook also explains that there is potential for a radical shift in the understanding of architecture education, so that we think of it not only as a route into an architectural career, but rather as a route into a whole host of other jobs. "I know people who have science degrees but they actually organize railways," he says. "There's a role for a wing of architectural education at a certain point to take off and say, 'that person is never going to design buildings, but a certain form of architectural education can enable them to look at the world in more depth.'"
Text description provided by the architects. Created for Barcelona's BCN RE.SET festival organized this year by the Fundació Enric Miralles as part of the city's Tricentenari BCN celebrations, this installation by Yael Reisner and Peter Cook responds to the theme of 'democracy'. The design, titled "Take My Hand" takes inspiration from a number of factors - notably the location of the site outside Barcelona's Civil Registration building, and the idea that the protection of human rights and civil liberties is one of the fundamental tenets of democracy.
The installation is therefore designed as a space to be used in marriage ceremonies and a celebration of human rights through civil weddings. Reisner explains that "the option of a civil marriage in many countries opened new possibilities for interfaith marriages, non-religious marriages, and same sex marriages."
More on the installation after the break
Every year, citizens of Catalonia commemorate the events of September 11th 1714, a key date in the War of the Spanish Succession that has come to symbolize what Voltaire called "the Barcelonans' extreme love of freedom." With this year marking the 300th anniversary of these events, Barcelona Cultura enlisted the Fundació Enric Miralles to curate 7 public installations around the city as part of its Tricentenari BCN program.
The result is BCN RE.SET, organized by Benedetta Tagliabue of the Fundació Enric Miralles and stage director Àlex Ollé, which invited guest architects from countries all over the world to colloborate with local universities and create installations symbolizing 6 political and ideological concepts: identity, freedom, Europe, diversity, democracy and memory. These installations will be in place until September 11th. Read on after the break for descriptions of all 6 installations.
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.
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.