Hobart and William Smith will welcome the internationally recognized, 20th century architectural and urban pioneer Dennis Crompton to campus on Sunday, Nov. 10 and Monday, Nov. 11. A founding member of the avant-garde architectural collaborative group known as Archigram, Crompton will share rare original examples of the Archigram magazine, as well as distinct videos from the Archigram archive.
His talks will be held in Houghton House room 112 at 4 p.m. on Sunday and at 4:45 p.m. on Monday.
Archigram, which was established in London in 1961 and continued until 1975, operated as an experimental think tank, producing a self-published magazine, projects, models, exhibitions, and proposals that represented a shift in how architectural practice was considered, prioritizing processes and structures for living over the notion of architecture as commodity. Influenced by pop culture, the proliferation of technological advances, and increasing social and political discontents, Archigram’s production emphasized mobility and flexibility in ways that continue to have currency today. Their projects for plug-in cities, walking cities, and instant cities have also helped to expand an understanding of architecture and urbanism. Archigram’s provocative futurist imagery, which celebrated mobility, technology, infrastructure, and popular culture, continues to influence the work of many of today’s leading experimental architecture practices.
“Archigram was to architecture what the Beatles were to music,” says Associate Professor of Art and Architecture Stanley Mathews. “Archigram was the first significant movement in architecture beyond the canon of modernism. The group marks the transition from the traditional role of the architect as god-like form giver to a populist approach to design that allowed people to shape their own environments. Archigram was a central part of the wholesale transformation of postwar British society from a model dominated by high art and upper class sensibilities to the popular culture model.”
Crompton kept the group’s records from their earliest days and established the Archigram archive in 1975. He also manages the exhibition “Archigram: Experimental Architecture 1961-74,” which has been touring internationally since 1994. Crompton has had a strong involvement with the renowned Architectural Association School since 1965, and until 1996 he was responsible for its communications and publishing.
Recently Crompton taught master’s courses in architecture and urban design at the Bartlett School of Graduate Studies in London. He is also the curator/archivist for the Magic Lantern Society, and during the past 30 years he has been involved in a number of books on the history of precinema.
Crompton’s visit is made possible through a fund established by Amanda Termuhlen P’09 in honor of Associate Professor of Art and Architecture Stan Mathews. The Termuhlen P’09-Rauck ’09 Family Endowed Lecture Fund in Architecture is used to provide support to the architecture department in an effort to bring distinguished speakers/lecturers to campus.