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.
What have cities been doing over the few thousand years in which they have existed?
They have provided society with a physical centre – a place where so much is happening that one activity is stimulated by all the rest. It is the collection of everything and everyone into a tight space taht has enabled the cross stimulus to continue. Trends originated in cities. the mood of cities is frantic. It is all happening – all the time. However decadent society may be, it is reflected most clearly and demonstratively in the metropolitan way of life.
In old cities, however, there comes a time when the cycle of interaction and regeneration has become so established as a pattern that the true reason for their existence is clouded over. There is the obvious aggregate of a metropolis: palaces, places of government or control, monuments, symbols of an established centre; but these are not the vital part of cities. They can go on existing despite the latest tendencies in the development of the rest of the place. The thread connecting the city state of Athens with present-day New York is not that they both possess such monuments, but that they share the coming together of many minds, and they are vital.
We are seeking the living city.
When we try to continue a city in physical terms, we tend to start from the assumption that there are certain basics of living and that there is a single way of providing for these at any one time. Our cities extend and regenerate spaces by way of bricks and mortar and roads and sewers; and people are inside somewhere. We hope that the city will catch up somehow. If we build into this brief 'qualities' or provision for things beyond, it becomes a forced or deliberate environment.
Architects, particularly the better ones, attempt to feed their buildings into the culture that holds them - into the symbolic hierarchy of palace-church-workplace-community-street-house. They attempt to perpetuate a lasting culture and yet they use the vocabulary of the moment (or possibly the just previous moment). It would seem that buildings must last even if their methodology will be unable to.
'Fashion' is a dirty word, so is the word 'Temporary', so is 'Flashy'. Yet it is the creation of those things that are necessarily fashionable, temporary or flashy that has more to do with the vitality of cities than 'monument-building'. The pulsation of city life is fast, so why not that of its environment? It reflects rise and fall, coming and going ... change, so why not build for this?
A pattern of ways and means has to exist: communications, services and facilities must be there as a form of ground base to the city that spreads over them, but they should be as physically capable as possible, not tied to standards produced by outworn scales of values. The living, vibrating crust of the city must regenerate in its own terms. The only way to create cities - or within cities, is to stop pretending about the significance of 'Architects' Architecture'; for by hanging on to the comfort of such a context for recreating the living city we are opting out of the struggle to maintain it. We shall find instead a vast suburb without any cities, and in it the odd pocket of architects building their own houses - no longer involved.