Peter Cook delves into offbeat influences in architecture across the world

Celebrated architect Peter Cook discussed the unexplored stimulations of modern architecture across the globe at the World Architecture Festival, 2019.

by STIRworld Published on : Jan 14, 2020

Celebrated London-based architect Peter Cook is known for revolutionary work with Archigram during his early days. Later, he designed some impactful architectural pieces such as the Kunsthaus Graz in Austria and the Vienna University of Economics and Business, among others. In 2004, he curated the British Pavilion at the Venice Architecture Biennale, and went on to exhibit across the world. Cook was the director of London's Institute of Contemporary Arts and the Bartlett School of Architecture at University College, London, and the director of Art Net in London.

At the World Architecture Festival 2019, Cook presented an insightful talk about the unknown works of many not-so-famous architects, and presented a 'sideways' view of architecture during the late 1900s as well as the recent times. Speaking at the lunchtime lecture on day 2 of the event, Cook presented these architects under various categories. Under ‘Coming up for Air’, he delved into the unique works of Rafael Moneo and Enric Miralles, called the buildings of Aldo Rossi and Miguel Fisac in Madrid ‘Extinct but still sending out waves’; and under ‘Out in the Sticks’, he threw light on the works of Pancho Guedes, Kathryn Findlay - 'who Zaha Hadid was jealous of', as the former won a project for a country house - and Enric Miralles, whose structures appear like they may fall off, but are instead made up of extraordinary details. Describing the ‘Impact of drawing’, he mentioned the work of Lebbeus Woods who presented a patina of buildings in his drawings, and that of Mexican architect Juan O Gorman, whose architecture and life evolved in an inspiring way.

36 mins watch Time lapse of Mirror Cube, constructed in 2010 by Tham & Videgård. It has been designed for two people with one double bed | Treehotel | Kent, Britta Lindvall | STIR
Peter Cook on architecture in the late 1900s Video Credit: Silverstream TV and WAF

Moving to the more recent ones, he discussed Zvi Hecker of Tel Aviv, Wolfgang Tschapeller of Vienna, Predock who built in a non-central European city of Albuquerque, and Masaharu Takasaki of Tokyo under the ‘Simmering’ section.

In ‘In Full Flight’, Cook delved into the works of Pier Aureli, Mark Foster Gage, John Wardle, Terunobu Fujimori and Andre Jacque. During his address, he also talked passionately about the works of architects in Madrid, such as Izaskun Chinchilla, Petro Pitrach and Gaetano Pesce. He made a brief mention of his likings and dislikings for the works of Ma Yansong (MAD Architects), Beijing, and Jurgen Meyer, respectively.

Cook also showered praise on Alberto Kalach for the library built in Mexico, and Smiljan Radic for building an architecture pointing towards ‘Constructivism’ in Chile. Some others doing significant work as mentioned by Cook were Ron Arad in London and Tel Aviv and Anne Feenstra in Nepal and Afghanistan. He also asked the audience to watch out for the talented young generation – Beijing-based People’s Architecture Office, Neri & Hu and Atelier Deshaus in Shanghai, Neri Oxman from Boston and the Frac Collection in New Orleans.

At the end of his talk, Cook put China in the forefront, pondering and raising the question, which way are we really headed?

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