The Technological Picturesque
DOI link for The Technological Picturesque
The Technological Picturesque book
The integrative terrain of the Instant City enabled the architecture of Archigram to move beyond hardware metaphors, even that of the conduit, as the monolithic structure lightened into an urbanism free of determined infrastructural anchors. But as it did so, the very ground into which those moorings would have been imbedded was also called into question. The simultaneous development of Instant City and the commission for the subterranean entertainment complex at Monte Carlo raised, it was explained
The lessons of the urban experiments may have led within a few short years away from hard architectural intervention, but Archigram had to acknowledge that even the lightest of skins portrayed in the Instant City collages were not truly ephemeral stuff. ‘All right – it’s still a hard network,’ conceded David Greene.2 ‘The plastic house remains a house, the Plug-In City remains a city, the street in a tube remains a street,’ Peter Cook accepted.3 The ‘inevitable next step’, it was declared, was a kit-of-parts to reverse the task of Instant City and bring the diffuse experience of country to the compact city. A cartoon by Cook to announce this transfer – ‘and now . . . or the actual city . . . INSTANT COUNTRY’ (1971) – had a hologram of a horse standing in a street permeated by imported smells and sounds of spring, with plant boxes of laboratory-enhanced ‘Instagrow’ vines
spreading across a housing block façade in the background. As the Instant City was elaborated, it became increasingly dispersed and bucolic in atmosphere to the point where the serviced structural framework in the form of landscape would be positioned to supply the needs of the environment.