You said that you think the kick lias gone out of modern architecture. Do you think that we are going to continue to « free-wheel » for some time one the remainder of that impulse or can you foresee same new impetus ansing? I would like to think of myself as in the mainstream, perhaps « free-wheeling », but I think architecture at the moment is rather static because I think architects are cynical about the society which they have got. It seems to me that in the twenties and thirties Corb, the constructiviste, futuriste. and others, had an intense vision of a society which was about to arrive and now that it has corne we are ail somewhat disillusioned. In the West we have the affluent society, and in the East communism. In neither case is this et ail the Utopion way of life envisaged by the pioneers of the modern movement. I think the vision which they had gave them a consistent plastic inventveness, something which is lacking now. A new culture will, in time, become apparent, quite unlike what we know now, maybe an entirely interior one. It won’t be anything to do with Bloomsbury Square or plazas of piazzas or anything like that. Could you say something about the sort of investigation you do into the functions of the building and structure? Structure is something which holds a building up and stops it falling down. An architecture over-concerned with structure or services expression is really superficiel. We have a normal responsible attitude to research; we analyse the « brief »; we do user research; we visit similar buildings and we do general academic resarch. We examine the site and see what inevitable inhibiting factors there are. Then, after programming the hierarchies, we set about putting together a relevant organization. For this I have a staff (nowadays called a team) gathering together material, analysing, programming, drawing up and detailing; one is assisted ail the time by others who are involved in ail the factors and are also working on design options. However, an actuel decision as to what is correct or not in a design has to be my responsibility. Even so, we don’t find many design possi-bilities corne up, as we tend to fasten on to appropriate functional solutions and then try to fin other relevant factors, and so on gradually building up. I think every building must have at least two ideas in it. With respect your initial failures—five out of six—do you feel that this can be got over by general public seeing more of stimulating architecture? It could easily be got over by sacking planning officers and not having aesthetic control. I know the argument is that if we didn’t have it much worse things would get built. But I don’t think this is so. Ail over the country one sees hideous developments which don’t appear to have been subjected to any aesthetic test. If there isn’t a consistent cultural level you are really operating in terms of a gamble ,and it depends whom your scheme goes in front of as to whether it gets turned down or not. In this situation it would be better not to have control. Cedric Price. (P. 43) It is not the rote of the architect to crystallize the short-comings, caused through indecision or doubt, of other disciplines. At a time of rapid increase in the rate of fundamental questioning of socially orientated disciplines, whether economic, legal or scientific, the res-ponsability of the architect and planner is not to superimpose a fake archi-tectural discipline in the guise of order. New Universities in England, without exception, are medieval piles with power points. Lack of certainty on the continuance of institutions or activities can clarify the architect’s task if he includes the time factor as a positive determinant of his aesthetic. The controlled structural life of an air-house contrasta with the infinite life intended for the Great Pyramid. In addition to an architectural awareness of calculable life, constructive exploitation of mobility of ideas, power, people and goods is required. Rapid transit systems do not require evenness of parallel development. An evenly serviced country enables calculated inbalance in individuel development. The concept of a balanced community no longer has physically finite signi-ficiance. The words town and city are redundant. The socio-environmental significiance, throught necessary permanence, of past buildings and towns is now questioned by ail except the majority of architects. The architectural exercice is not to make present conditions more bearable —rather it is to improve the condition of life beyond the level previously thought possible. The man-made dross surrounding us is an example of what to avold and not the basic fuel of an imitative art form. The over-hot imagery of present day English Architecture puts a brave face on an empty head. Plug-in City General design. Peter Cook (p. 50-51) The formation of the Plug-in-City is set up by applying a large-scale network structure that contains access ways and essentiel services to any type of terrain, whether already built up or not. Into this network are placed units that cater for ail the needs of the city. These units are planned for obso-lescence (as is the structure). The units are serviced and changed by means of a crane-railway which is placed at the top of the network. The interior of the network containes many parts which are providing for increased leisure activities (inaccordance with the social trend); it also contains many elements which will replace the present-day work operations. These elements largely consist of electronic and machine installations. The transport and sustainance elements, monorails, roads, the system of feeder-tubes for goods and services, etc., are also expendable. The whole city is expendable. The whole city is also one building (in as much as it is a building). Initially it will run tangentally to the existing main cites, but eventually it will replace them. After about 40 years the structure itself will be technologically outdated and will (by means of the craneways, or whatever replaces them), have replaced itself. In these ways the Plug-in-City is very like a living organizm, breathing and reproducing itself. Table of relative permanence. Bathroom or kitchen, living room floor replaced in 3 years Living-room 5 years Bedroom unit 8 years Location of housing unit 15 years lmmediate-use sales space in shop 6 months Local shop 3 years Additive shop location (larger shop) 6 years Work unit (Offices) 4 years Computer unit (offices, etc.) 2 years Car silos and roads 20 years Main structure 40 years The craneway is established at intervals above the top of the main frame-work. There are occasional smaller craneways at lower levels within, using telescopic cranes. Ail placing and removal of ail types of unit is via the cranes• The aerial view (p. 49) is of a small section of Plug-in City and shows how it is basically a straight line with neighbourhood spurs going off on their own hook. The grid system which ail the various units are plugged into is generally fairly high, but at some points, such as the ends of the spurs, it could be only one section of 144 feet high. The towers on the right are stop-over apartments for the most mobile of the population. These would give a complete office-living service with direct links with the international physical and telecommunication routes. To the right of the apartments are the fast monorail and the hoverway. The craneways are shown as heavy double lines over the tops of the structure and at the bottom left of the drawing you can see a part of the city under construction. Also at the top of the structure at parts can be seen the environment seal balloons which could be inflated to enclose areas for special occasions or in bad weather. The Maximum Pressure Area is controlled in plan by a few routes. These arecleavages in the main structure which ail for a complete drop for the cranes, top-to bottom. The craneways are multiplied along these routes. The main feeder roads and main feeder servioe-ways are located in the first 300 feet either Bide of the routes. These pedestrian ways take the form of travelators (used for spanning from key level to key level, and over a considerable distance et speed); and escalators (used for spanning adjoining levers); and the usuel floor formations. The Maximum Pressure section demonstrates several of the features basic to the entire Plug-in-City. The diagonal framework is made up to 9 ft diameter tubes, which intersect at 144 ft intervals with an eightway joint. One in four of these tubes contains e high speed lift. One in four contains a slower, local lift. One in four contains an escape tube, and the remaining tubes are for services and goods. Floor levels are created as required within the framework, generally by suspending a subsidiary structure of tension wires and « rafts », or alterna-tively attaching the rafts to the main diagonal structure. The entire collection of subsidery elements, housing, shops, offices, roads, travelators, etc., is supported on the main diagonal structure. There is a hierarchy through the structure based on relative permanence and relative weight, and relative speed of operation. The longest-lasting elements are placed near the base or the interior of the organisation. The shortest-lasting elements tend to be near to the top or the periphery of the organisation. Hence the heavy railway and the goods handling are at the base, and the environmental seal ballons are et the top. The heavy elements are at the base. Faster roads and fast monorails are near the top, local car parking Is near the base. The lower middle region, reading up the section, tends to contain the busy areas of walkabout space. It is here that the pizza is located, it is here also that the main lifts disappear. Expendability. more and more Archigram 3 (p. 52) Almost without realising it, we have absorbed into our lives the first gene-ration of expendables… foodbags, paper tissues, polythene wrappers, ballpens, E.P.S…. so many things about which we don’t have to think. We throw away almost as soon as we acquire them. Also with us are the items that are bigger and lest longer, but are never-theless planned for obsolescence… the motor car… and its unit-built garage. Now the second generation is upon us—paper furniture is a reality in the States, paper sheets are a reality in British hospital beds, the London County Council is putting up limited-life-span houles. Through and through. Every level of society and with every levet of commodity, the unchanging scene is being replaced by the increase in change of our user-habits—and thereby, eventually, our user-habitats We are becoming much more used to the idea of changing a piece of clothing year-by-year, rather than expect to hang on to it for several years. Similarly, the idea of keeping a piece of furniture long enough to be able to hand it on to our children is becoming increasingly ridiculous. In this situation, we should not be surprised if such articles wear out within their « welcome-life » span, rather than their traditional life-span. The attitude of mind that accepte such a situation is creeping into our society at about the rate that expendable goods become available. We must recognise this as a healthy and altogether positive sign. It is the product of a sophisticated consumer society, rather than a stagnant (and in the end, declining) society). Our collective mental blockage occurs between the land of the small-scale consumer-products, and the objecte which make up our environment. Perhaps it will not be until such things as housing, amenity-place and workplace become recognised as consumer products that can be « bought off the peg »—with ail that this implies in terms of expendability (foremost), industrialisation, up-to date-ness, consumer-choice, and basic product-design—that we can begin to make environment that is really part of a developing human culture. Why is there an indefinable resistance to planned obsolescence for a kitchen, which in twelve years will be highly inefficient (by the standards of the day) and in twenty years will be intolerable, yet there are no qualms about four years obsolescence for cars. The idea of an expendable environment is still somehow regarded as askin to anarchy. As if, in order to make it work, we would bulldoze Westminster Abbey. We shall not bulldoze Westminster Abbey. Added to this, the idea of a non-permanent building has overtones of economy, austerity, economy. Architects are the first to belie the great poten-tiel of expendability as the built reflection of the second half of the itwerittibeit,th ry centu. Most of the buildings that exist that are technica ?X e.nd have the fact skillfully hidden… They masquerade as permanent builifin4S—monuments to the past.