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Archigram was an avant-garde architectural group formed in the 1960s - based

at the Architectural Association, London - that was neofuturistic, anti-heroic and proconsumerist, drawing inspiration from technology in order to create a new reality that
was solely expressed through hypothetical projects.
When Archigram formed in the early 1960’, architecture was constrained not
only by post-war office practices but by a Functionalism that had become dependent
on the forms of the pre-war International Style. Against this, Archigram set not just a
political and programmatic critique of society but a utopian vision of an aesthetic that
would permeate everyday life. The radicalism was an explosive spawning of
innovations based on the dream of a technologically accelerated industrial and
consumer society. The group used subversive charm, futuristic élan, and an
unbounded delight in experimentation and technical mega-fantasies to challenge
national architectural conventions and wage a campaign against the tedium of the
International Style.
Archigram tuned into the board innovative impulses of the 1960-advanced
technology and space travel, science fiction and comics, pop culture, hallucinatory
drugs and other avant-garde sub-cultures -and fused them into a an architectural
vision that swept aside the vocabulary of classic Modernism. They saw no sense in
trying to into an architectural vision that swept aside the vocabulary of classic
Modernism. They saw no sense in trying to perpetuate the ‘stylistic tradition’ of
Modernism, No point in using it to legitimate their utopian schemes.
By making a clean break with tradition, Archigram proved to be a modern avantgarde. Unlike the later Post-Modernists, they did not distance themselves
aesthetically from Modernism. In Post-Modernism, innovation came to mean simply
quoting architectural styles. The whole of architectural history could be tuned into an
ironic game and the full spectrum of styles and symbolic forms homogenised into a
single style. Archigram’s critique of Modernist, on the other hand, was a splintered
gesture reflecting the patchwork of society in life.
Archigram envisaged a society in which technology would allow the harmonious
integration of all facets of life- work, consumerism, opportunities for pleasure and
happiness. Rather than fetishise technology, however, they transformed it into
fictions. Archigram was a proven avant-garde movement.
Today, when we have moved beyond the ‘First Machine Age’ into an Information
Society, that faith in the power of technology to bring progress seems at best naive.
We have become aware of the threats posed by technology to both the environment
and our jobs. As technology has become more of an end in itself, it gas tended to

For Archigram provocation was second nature. what makes Archigram important even today is that they revolutionised the design process . In Archigram’s vision of an evolving world. decorative design elements. anti-authoritarian counter-culture. The primary role of technology in everyday culture has become questionable . There was no conflict between technology and the right of every individual or society to pursue happiness. social progress went hand in hand with an enthusiasm for the technology. They proposed a democratic emancipated capitalism. There have been no sweeping advances to give meaning to the new forms of communication and interaction between people. Social progress has not kept pace with technological progress.make people passive. This can be seen in the massive bureaucratisation of the working environment and of people’s private lives. but there was no prevailing architectural style or principle of construction. giving people the means to act on their imagination and she their own lives. and their critique was practical yet radical. buoyed by pop art and a pleasure-oriented. The members of Archigram were fascinated by the aesthetic potential of technology. Archigram’s pluralistic forms ranged from the collaged symbolism of the advertising world to spaceship-like cities. Their imaginations were simulated by the fantasies of science fiction and comics. reflecting an understanding of individual (human) and collective (social) issues. but rather attempts to find symbolic forms od expression appropriate to the times. pleasure-oriented consumption and the pursuit of individual happiness. Instead. Quite apart from their innovative and visionary conception of architecture. as people still seem to yearn for traditional symbols of individual and collective values. the complexity of life in a technology-dominated society was reflected in architectural forms and solutions that remained symbolically ambigous. In insisting on experimentation. Together consumerism and technology could help to satisfy desires and needs. the group increasingly became a kind of creative channel through which ideas flowed and manifested themselves in an outpouring of design and thought. directed towards a humane working environment . but at best partial reforms and the kind of increased awareness we see in some were decidedlt optimistic. The emphasis was on designing for urban life as an organised whole. dependent as individuals on the apparatus of anonymous organisational structures. robot metaphors and quasi-organic urban landscapes. These were not eclectic.

Their aim was not to make an original mix of diverse elements but to change architectural thinking. Their ‘historical’ models were the artists-architects who tried to create flexible. to challenge accepted judgements and values in general. ‘cities’ and other archetypal forms of architecture. Archigram developed radical.and presentation of architectural ideas: they also hat the ability ti oass ib tiger creative inspiration to others. the aesthetics of everyday consumer goods and space travel. They were inspired by new developments in science and technology. organic and nomadic structures using the technology of their time. futuristic urban utopias and experimental engineering-to reiterate only the most important themes. advertising images. by underground culture and the Beatles. . The sweep of their imagination allowed them to do away with conventional working methods. by space travel and the moon landing. They took their inspiration not only grin the art wired but from the so-called ‘trivial’ art of comics. such as Bruno Taut (Alpine Architecture) or Friedrich Kissler (Space House). by science fiction and the new materials then coming into use. often shocking alternatives to ‘houses’ .