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.
At the invitation of the Organising Committee the ARCHIGRAM Group designed an area of the International Section [at the Milan Triennale]. The theme of this section was “The Greater Number Problem”. Solutions were illustrated at varying scales from that of individual provision to the formulation of urban structures.
The Archigram Group called their exhibit at the Milan Triennale 'Milanogram'. Conceived somewhat in the way of a magazine issue of Archigram: a synthesis of inventions, projects, theories, comment and designs wrapped together, an Archigram that can use time (a 12-minute cycle), and space and overlays of 2, 3, and 4-dimensional evidence.
The problem of 'greater number' is seen as the central issue of man's survival as an individual in the face of pressures of history, technology and tolerance. Being basically optimistic, the group have turned the problem back on itself. Greater number tends to mean repetition, noise, boredom, optimization: but it need not. It can also mean service, exchange, consumer-range, the breaking down of barriers. It is this paradox that is intriguing as a design problem. we can (as individuals) choose between the mass items and reach a range and excitement far beyond the possibilities of previous environments. We can take advantage of technology, consumer-assembly but make sure that the context for them breaks out of the limited barriers of taste, town planning and the various mystiques invented by so-called 'experts'.
Several themes crop up in the exhibition that recurrently interest the Archigram Group. These themes are all to do with the personal choice that one can have over one's environment and the ways in which new combinations of parts can catalyse that choice.
The ability of objects and assemblies to metamorphose over a period of time so that we are no longer stuck with monuments of a forgotten day ... the ability to use the world's surface and mobility to achieve personal freedom: the nomadic instinct and the nomadic potential of cars and car-based enclosures ... the relinquishing of old hangups about determinism and the purity of hierarchies and preferred values ... the interplay now possible between hardware: the manifestation of place, object and things seen, and software ... the system, the computerized logic that is unseen ... the realization that although we are beginning to be emancipated socially, economically and through a consumer society, building has not caught up with this range ... that we all have an instinct for reassurance and support: the idea of comfort at a psychological and physical level ... the interplay of man and machine to develop this responsive environment and the free-ranging exchange of all as and when needed ... the notion of the 'popular-pak' as a presentation for the bits and pieces, that is the way that environmental ideas should now be: for the consumer ...
The main exhibit is the 'Big Bag': an air inflated transparent plastic tube, 18 metres long and 2.9 meters in diameter, suspended just above head height. Inside, a series of surfaces with drawings of Archigram projects, models and hybrids overlaid with each other. On to these are projected film and slide programmes that illustrate the response to the 'greater number' problem.
Archigram Archigram, Edited by Peter Cook, Warren Chalk, Dennis Crompton, David Greene, Ron Herron & Mike Webb, 1972 [reprinted New York: Princeton Architectural Press, 1999].
The photographs are of the stages of inflation of the final state of a model evolved by David Greene and fabricated by Pat Haines for the Milan Triennale of 1968. The model Inflatable Suit-Home is a response to the Suitaloon (a title derived from suit/balloon) project of Michael Webb for which his twin project Cushicle (cushion/vehicle) was the carrying armature.