Plug-in City by Peter Cook

After seeing how interiors can change and how buildings can change, we’re going to take the next logical, although meglomanical, step and look a city designed to change: the Plug-In city designed in 1964 by¬†Archigram. The creators of Plug-In City (Peter Cook, Warren Chalk, Dennis Crompton) define it as follows:

“The Plug-in City is set up by applying a large scale network-structure, containing access ways and essential services, to any terrain. Into this network are placed units which cater for all needs. These units are planned for obsolescence. The units are served and manoeuvred by means of cranes operating from a railway at the apex of the structure.”

Who wouldn’t want to imagine a city that so visibly updates and reshapes itself… but cities are already constantly evolving, just not at the revolutionary rate Archigram would have preferred in 1964. That doesn’t mean the drawings (part of the exhaustive and impressive Archigram Archive Project) and the ideas that informed them are any less fantastic. The idea of prying the grid of a city off of the terrain and shaping this infrastructure into a complex,¬†branching megamatrix is thrilling.

I’m not sure why many futuristic visions have us living away from the ground. Heights are fun, but the ground is where we grow food and where we find the resources that fuel cities. Away from these constraints is the Plug-In City.


Prediction: Youngsters in the Plug-In City will personalize their room units with posters of the ground, a place they have never seen.

October 20, 2010