More Than 200 Projects are included in the Archigram Archival Project. The AAP uses the group’s mainly chronological numbering system and includes everything given an Archigram project number. This comprises projects done by members before they met, the Archigram magazines (grouped together at no. 100), the projects done by Archigram as a group between 1961 and 1974, and some later projects.
David Greene attended Nottingham College of Art & Design from 1954-59. Students of architecture were expected to complete eight design projects between first and fourth years: an information kiosk in a railway station; a pub; offices for a builder; a civic square; a house; an open-air theatre; an air terminal; and a down-town redevelopment called Maypole Yard. They were all and always located in Nottingham.
In David Greene's fourth year, Gordon Graham said, "you only have ideas about ideas, David".
'In fifth year, I had to submit a topic for my diploma thesis. Other students were designing civic law courts, student housing, churches, community centres, or primary schools all in and around Nottingham. At that time, the city of Baghdad, did not issue to the rest of the world the intense narrative that it does today. I chose it as a location that I knew, like myself, that none of the rest of the staff had been there. At the time of making this project, there was only one mosque in England in Woking, Surrey. Previously, I had seen some very beautiful black and white photographs of Baghdad. Some were taken from the air that very clearly showed an extraordinary pattern of streets, alleys, roads, houses and courtyards. Within this patchwork that ran down to the banks of the Tigris, there was a gap, a large empty space. I made it my site - a good place to build a mosque - and found all the relevant climatic information.
'I was intent on finding the simplest functional brief that I could. I was intrigued by the mosque as a type because as far as I could judge, the liturgical requirements were minimal, and there were six main elements to such a building: the Maksur (the prayer room); the Mihrab (a niche or impression of a door sunk in the wall to indicate the direction Mecca); the Minaret; the Liwan (an arcaded entrance courtyard); the Mida-a (a fountain and pool for washing); and the Minbar (the pulpit from which the chapters of the Koran were read). I added a school a madrasah is the type frequently associated with a mosque.
'These facts about the building function allowed a reduction of the project to as unfettered an exploration of shape as possible. This way, I could not be criticised for errors of plan arrangement or omissions of rooms, but only on the basis of shape, surface and structure. It was this latter aspect of the project that formed the working method (for better or worse) that I scrupulously followed in all future work. Structure, in this context, was meant to include conceptual structure, particularly with reference to technology, materials and technique. At that time I was firmly convinced that the only reason to make a project was to endlessly forage around in the science and popular science journals for new technologies, new gizmos, new materials, anything new in fact, and then speculate on what social, formal and/or conceptual effects or results this may have in an architectural context NO REAR VIEW MIRROR THINKING ALLOWED
'The technical origins of the mosque are not remarkable. They rely heavily on the ferro-cement developed by Pier Luigi Nervi. But, unlike his structures, which often employed the prefabrication of curved parts, the mosque intended to present a continuous surface of complex curves: the uninterrupted skin of Modernism. Unbeknown to me at that time, Mike Webb was making his Furniture Manufacturer Association Headquarters in High Wycombe using the same methods of fabrication.
'It would be possible to develop in this scribbling the historical origins of the structural diagrams, which were a careful re-presentation of the capital Gothic section, wrapped around itself into a hyper-baroque object blurring wall-vault-ceiling-floor-land into a continuous flow. I saw it as the style that was to exceed the manic feats of late Gothic structure. It was a super-perpendicular-hyper-baroque building in its utter reliance on structure for its effects.
'Some paintings of the outside by Lottie Spearpoint and the original model have been lost.'
The Disreputable Projects of David Greene, Written and edited by David Greene and Samantha Hardingham, (London: Architectural Association, 2008)
In 2007 the Architectural Association commissioned a new model. The few original drawings were digitised and re-worked to take into consideration possible new material and fabrication techniques. This work was developed in co-operation with Shin Egishira and Jerome Tsui.
In his interview, David Greene adds:
David Greene: Someone called George Balcomb who used to teach at the AA, I haven't met him for years. He phoned me up the night before the external examiners where coming. He said, "Come on and pin your work up, just don't say to anyone I told you could”. So the external examiner came and he was genuinely just wondering around my work and he said, “Oh, can I speak to this student?” Sort of thing. And he passed me.