Plug In to Housing

17 August 2016

On 5 September, Ivan Harbour will be speaking about RSHP’s approach to volumetric housing in Peter Cook’s Floating Ideas event season at the Royal Academy.

Inspired by the bold ambitions of Archigram’s ‘Plug-In City’, a panel of architects and designers discuss new and potentially radical approaches to the housing issues of today.

The 1964 fantastical project, ‘Plug-In City’ by Peter Cook and Archigram proposed a constantly evolving megastructure that incorporated housing, transportation and other services. Modular residential units that interlocked with an infrastructural core could be moved by cranes, responding to the dynamic conditions of the city and its inhabitants. This and many similar Archigram projects championed collective living and presented architecture not as isolated buildings but part of a connected system and network. While in many ways these projects exist as utopian visions of a particular moment, some of the ideas have found their way into buildings since.

Today, there remains a perhaps even more pressing need for innovative thinking about the design, fabrication, affordability, adaptability and even conceptions of housing in the UK and across the world. What do the speculative ideas and bold aspirations of ‘Plug-In City’ and other Archigram projects offer us now? Are the issues today different from those of the past and what are the current ideas, speculative or realised, that might be provoking new ways of thinking about housing?

In this event, Peter Cook RA will be joined by a panel of innovative designers who are thinking about housing afresh, embracing the possibilities of new technologies and the changing ways we live. Among a range of issues, the discussion will revisit ideas of domesticity and explore intelligent and responsive architecture, large-scale prefabrication, computational design and digital fabrication.

Speakers include:
Mollie Claypool – Designer, writer and educator currently teaching at the Bartlett and the AA School.
Joseph Grima – Architect, writer and researcher, founder of Space Caviar.
Ivan Harbour – Architect, senior partner at Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners.
With Peter Cook RA