Online searchable item level catalogue and sample digital surrogate of the Archigram archives

The Archigram Archival Project (AAP) is a major new research resources that makes the work of the seminal 1960s-70s British architectural group, Archigram, available free online for public viewing and academic study.

The extraordinary influence of Archigram is internationally acknowledged through the award of the RIBA Gold Medal in 2002, exhibitions, books, and through their role in shaping many of the world's greatest contemporary architects and buildings. Yet prior to the completion of this project, just a few of their projects were well publicised, while the vast bulk of their visionary work remained practically inaccessible, being stored in domestic conditions and subject to dilapidation, sale and loss.

The Archigram website/database is available free online for general public use at a restricted image size. A high-resolution version has further been deposited with the University for use by appointment by bona-fide researchers.

The website marks an entirely new kind of archive: it is a scholarly, online collection of material which does not depend on ownership, and which is designed to operate in the popular digital media as easily as it forms a reliable academic source. Besides receiving acclaim from academics internationally, the website's easy access, lively and yet scholarly design has drawn a vast number of enthusiastic informal users, mainly coming from Twitter and Facebook, suggesting a new model for academic archives. The website has already received 290,000 individual page views from a total of 53,000 users in just its first month of operation, which is staggeringly successful for this kind of output.

arts-humanities.net

Principal investigator
Dr Kester Rattenbury
Principal project staff
Dr Kester Rattenbury, Prof. Murray Fraser
Start date
Thursday, June 1, 2006
Completion date
Friday, January 1, 2010
Era
Place
Digital resources created
The Archigram Archival Project (AAP) is a major new research resources that makes the work of the seminal 1960s-70s British architectural group, Archigram, available free online for public viewing and academic study. The extraordinary influence of Archigram is internationally acknowledged through the award of the RIBA Gold Medal in 2002, exhibitions, books, and through their role in shaping many of the world's greatest contemporary architects and buildings. Yet prior to the completion of this project, just a few of their projects were well publicised, while the vast bulk of their visionary work remained practically inaccessible, being stored in domestic conditions and subject to dilapidation, sale and loss. Through the AHRC grant, and in collaboration with surviving Archigram members and their heirs, our team has made the main body of their work available online through a custom-built, easily searchable website/database and catalogue containing almost 10,000 images deposited by Archigram. It includes drawings, collages, paintings, models, magazines, original texts and multi-media. The site covers the more than 200 projects currently listed in Archigram's own records. It also includes major new interpretative material, notably: recorded interviews with Archigram members or their families; a major bibliography of writings on Archigram; an extensively annotated list of collaborators; and a series of newly written and contemporaneous critical texts.
Source material
The material digitised has predominantly come from Archigram Archives and Herron Archives, with significant contributions additionally being provided by the private collections of Peter Cook, David Greene, Michael Webb and the children of Warren Chalk. The bulk of the digitised collection consists of the original drawings and magazines produced by Archigram. Other items that have been digitised include the slide collection the group used for lectures, early sketches and revisions of specific drawings, original pieces of text, collected ephemera and photographs.
Publications

Archigram Archival Project: http://archigram.westminster.ac.uk

Fraser, Murray; Rattenbury, Kester. "Archigram Archival Project", published on Archigram Archival Project website: http://archigram.westminster.ac.uk/about.php?pg=text&tab=1