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Peter Cook: Designing for Students

By David R Shanks, on 15 December 2011

My final blog article of the semester responds to architect Sir Peter Cook’s Lunch Hour Lecture on the subject of designing for students. Despite being in the wrong city at the time, I managed to attend by watching the live stream, furiously typing notes while trying to eat lunch in the spirit of the occasion.

Before studying at UCL, I had been an ardent admirer of Sir Peter Cook’s work as part of the Archigram group, and of his subsequent drawings and writing. At the UCL Bartlett School, where he had been Chair and Professor of Architecture until 2005, an influence still loomed large, with most of the tutors having studied under his watchful eye.

This reputation was largely predicated upon his output of ‘paper architecture’ and the strength of revolutionary ideas in architectural education, rather than on built work. If the construction of the Kunsthaus in Graz (2003), a collaboration with Colin Fournier, was an exception to these more academically-orientated pursuits, the formation of CRAB studio, in partnership with Gavin Robotham, signified a commitment to testing spectacular, playful thinking in a commercially driven environment.