Peter Cook, Instant City, 1969. Photo: Archigram.

M+ Acquires Archive of Experimental Architecture Collective Archigram

The M+ museum in Hong Kong’s West Kowloon Cultural District has acquired the entire archive of the experimental London-based architecture collective Archigram, which was active from 1961 until 1974. The collection was purchased from the surviving members of the six-person group, Peter Cook, Dennis Crompton, David Greene, and Michael Webb, and the personal representatives of the deceased members, Warren Chalk (1927–1987) and Ron Herron (1930–2011), for $2.35 million.

The core of the archive consists of approximately twenty thousand items, including more than three thousand drawings, prints, sketches, models, videos, ephemera, and other materials from roughly two hundred of the group’s projects. For Archigram, architecture was about possibilities and alternatives. The group was known for challenging the architectural establishment with their innovative and radical proposals for futuristic projects such as the Instant City—a “traveling metropolis” made up of airships and hot-air balloons that carried tents, pods, and mobile homes.

“Archigram’s influence is broadly well-known, but the group’s interactions and resonance with Asia, from the Metabolists of 1960s Japan through to contemporary Chinese architects, are less explored,” said Aric Chen, curator-at-large at M+. “We are confident that having the archive at M+ will prompt new frameworks for seeing Hong Kong.”