Books

Speculations: Peter Cook (2022)

ISBN: 9781911422396
Artist(s): Peter Cook
Author(s): Peter Cook, Frank Gehry, Toyo Ito, Thom Mayne, Peter Wilson
Format: hardback
Edition: First Edition
Year published: 2022
Publisher: Circa Press
Publisher Location: London
Total Pages: 208
Illustrations: Profusely illustrated

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Peter Cook’s distinctive drawings have captivated and inspired generations of designers. Freed from stylistic or functional conventions, his graphic speculations have redefined the language of architectural communication. Speculations spans Cook’s entire career, presenting some 160 drawings that range from student projects in the 1950s, through Archigram, to new work completed shortly before going to press. Arranged chronologically, these drawings chart the course of what can now be seen as an enthralling architectural adventure. Cook’s own observations about the nature of architecture and urbanism, and the concept of the buildable, are complemented by pieces from architects Frank Gehry, Toyo Ito, Thom Mayne and Peter Wilson.

As a founder member of the visionary group Archigram, in the early 1960s, Peter Cook (1936-) helped to project radically new possibilities for architecture. Archigram mixed Pop Art’s fascination with found objects with emerging technical possibilities to imagine an architecture where the necessary guts of a building determined its imagery. The influence on buildings such as Piano + Rogers’ Pompidou Centre was obvious. With the flamboyance of a natural showman, Cook turned his fascination with ‘the puzzlement of the strange thing’ into spectacles. As an art-impresario at the Institute of Contemporary Arts (1969-71), and Art Net, which he established and directed from 1972-9, he introduced new ideas and people to London audiences, and stimulated discussions about the nature of art and contemporary culture. Cook has built in Berlin, Vienna, Madrid, Osaka and Nagoya. However, it was with the construction of his arts building, the Kunsthaus Graz (aka ‘The Friendly Alien’) designed with Colin Fournier and completed in 2003, that Cook’s speculations on architecture and the concept of the buildable were finally manifested in a complex public building. His first building in the UK, a drawing studio at the Arts University Bournemouth, was opened by Zaha Hadid in 2016.

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