Sir Peter Cook blasts 'boring' contemporary architecture

There’s a conspiracy of boring, which is all about drawing attention to limitations. It terrorises people into saying ‘we can’t do this or that, because it’ll be breaking the rules’. But we can break the rules, if we want to
– Sir Peter Cook

British architect and academic Sir Peter Cook has blasted the “conspiracy of boring” he believes is preventing the creation of interesting and risk-taking contemporary buildings.

In a passionate address delivered at the World Architecture Festival in Berlin earlier this month, the founder of avant-garde collective Archigram bemoaned the “lack of imagination” stifling the industry.

“I believe there are some architects, even in this room, who really prefer it if buildings went away,” he said. “They're so cool, so calm, so straight that they really don't want to have any [different] stuff at all.

“There’s a conspiracy of boring, which is all about drawing attention to limitations. It terrorises people into saying ‘we can’t do this or that, because it’ll be breaking the rules’. But we can break the rules, if we wanted to.

“In the Archigram days we were very optimistic. We had lots of stupid ideas, but there was delight and strange interplays. For goodness sake, let’s not retreat into a world of black and white. Let’s enjoy a pink world, a yellow world, a colourful world.”

Cook showcased some examples of “interesting” work, including a house built in an old water tower and this year’s Serpentine Pavilion by Bjarke Ingels. He urged architects to “relish chaos,” “continue to experiment,” “make use of technologies we only half understand” and “cheer on the talented and bold whoever they might be.”

At the end of the discussion, during which Cook shared a stage with Austrian architect Wolf Prix – who delivered his own honest assessment of the state of the industry – Cook said he is “optimistic the world will get bored of being boring.”

Sir Peter Cook  Archigram  architecture  design  World Architecture Festival  Wolf Prix 
British architect and academic Sir Peter Cook has blasted the “conspiracy of boring” he believes is preventing the creation of interesting and risk-taking contemporary buildings. In a passionate address delivered at the World Architecture Festival in Berlin earlier this month, the founder of avant-garde collective Archigram bemoaned the “lack of imagination” stifling the industry. “I believe there are some architects, even in this room, who really prefer it if buildings
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Sir Peter Cook wants architects to take more risks / Toby Barnes
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