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.
The determination of your environment need no longer be left in the hands of the designer of the building: it can be turned over to you yourself. You turn the switches and choose the conditions to sustain you at that point in time. The ‘building’ is reduced to the role of carcass – or less.
When Archigram was asked to send an exhibit to the 1967 Paris Biennale des Jeunesses the ‘Control or Choice’ conversation was extended very naturally into a project that was given the same name. The word ‘metamorphosis’ is a summary of the whole discussion and the new set of parts that might make the project physically possible.
There is a natural fear in most of us that suspects the power of the machine and its takeover of human responsibility. This familiar bogey of the first machine age becomes even more terrifying with the dependence upon the unseen potential of electronic systems (they have even greater power control than the obvious, symbolic and almost humanoid presence of a machine).
The dependence upon such things for an emancipatory life is one of our paradoxes. The problem of exploitation of systems and machines and the continued recognition of ‘friendly’ and even ‘passive’ objects at the same time naturally leads to a hybrid assembly of parts.
Much of the project is still concerned with structure, mechanics, and is of a defined mathematical order. It is necessary to postulate a system that can integrate with existing cities or imperfect sub-countryside.
The network proposed for accommodating dwellings, entertainment facilities, industry or practically any other urban infill is here based on a 1 metre square grid. This interacts where necessary with a system of 1 metre (equilateral) triangles. Most parts of the system that are structural, or have to be manufactured in quantity, refer to this grid. The largest scale of organisation uses multiples of the 1 metre. There are optimum positions for horizontal and vertical structure; but these can be ‘tuned’ by greater or lesser infilling of pieces – or left out altogether. Naturally, there are likely optima for the location of many things that we might find in a dwelling: the need for several persons to congregate in one kind of place and the need for utmost privacy in another kind of place are obvious but need not lead to a complete and fixed hierarchy that is the result of most architectural discipline.
The hardware exists on a sliding scale that contains a parallel between size, permanence and rigidity of position. Starting at the largest, most permanent, most definitive, it runs as follows:
1. Structure/organisation path with ‘pylons’. The electric vehicle routes and the definition of one family’s reserve as against another’s tend to shadow this as well.
2. Typical floor/wall/truss/substructure kit (of 1 metre units). The intermixing of triangular and square elements is able to take up most locations. The pyramidal frame usually has a service outlet at its centre, so that any run of floor can be assumed to provide a facility for electricity, pressurised air, water, electronic circuitry, piped sound, information, and so on, at 1 metre centres.
3. ‘Robotised’ elements. These are a development from the 1990 House robots. Now they are less humanoid, less a complete servant object, more a notion about facility that crystallises around an armature. They can be thought of as analogous to a hi-fi unit, with more or fewer attachments added to provide better facilities. A small-scale plug-in system in each. These robotised elements include screens that carry the ephemeral end of the environment: screened happenings, television, colour, light. Food and drink trolleys are also robotised.
4. ‘Satellites’. There is really no dividing line between the ‘hard’ elements that stay in the same place most of the time and the ‘soft’ which are hardly there at all: for instance, the travelling units such as the electric cars which can become a ‘room’ in their own right. The most elaborate vehicle, with cooking and lavatory facilities, has an inflatable holiday house that grows out of it. As shown, it sits in the lowest level of the dwelling when at home.