David Greene (Archigram)

Architect (1937)

David Greene was a founding member of Archigram, a major avant-garde architecture group of the 1960s. Often presented as the group’s poet, in 1961 David Greene published “A message or abstract communication” in their magazine. This article was accompanied by his poems and illustrated with pop-up collages of ordinary objects taken from commercial catalogs, and projects by Peter Cook and Michael “Spider” Webb. By so doing, Archigram displayed its frustration with architectural and intellectual conservatism in a revolutionary way. If Living Pod (1966) remains his most famous contribution to the collective works of Archigram, David Greene designed other just as radical projects. Greene chose the disappearance of architecture as one of his favorite themes, going so far as to propose “a moratorium on buildings,” considering that there were already too many. In an age and a society given over to the cult of consumption, Greene’s thinking, which went beyond mere provocation, was based on a realistic perception of the architectural implications of new technology. After the group broke up in 1974, Greene developed an awareness of environmental and ecological issues, speaking about a utopian harmony between the artificial and the naturel. He held that architecture should no longer be manifested by the presence of buildings but rather it should coincide with a subtle correction of the environment. An emblematic figure of 20th-century architectural experimentation, Greene continues to pursue his research on soft and “invisible” architecture, in sync with the potential of new technologies and eschewing any formalism.

David Greene (1937) studied architecture in Nottingham in The United Kingdom. An architect, theoretician and teacher, in 1963 he founded the Archigram group (with Warren Chalk, Peter Cook, Dennis Crompton, Ron Herron and Michael Webb), which later disbanded in 1974. After teaching at the Architectural Association in London, he was a professor at Westminster University from 1997 to 2007, where he studied the disappearance of architecture in the environment, notably through his theory of the “Invisible University.” Internationally renowned, David Greene has twice received recognition for his work: with Archigram, he was awarded the Gold Medal by the RIBA in 2002, and he also received the Annie Spink Prize, awarded by the RIBA, for his highly respected work as a professor. In 2008, a retrospective exhibition at the Architectural Association Gallery in London highlighted the historical importance as well as the current relevance of his research to the contemporary landscape.

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