Designed by Ron Herron in 1986, the Studio Strip is a Speculative proposal for a strip of dwellings with fixed roof & frame and ‘drivable’ mobile walls, fittings, and amenities. An early experiment with computer models and virtual environments.
Studio Strip Technical Information
- Architects: Ron Herron (Archigram)
- Typology: Residential Architecture / Houses
- Project Year: 1986
- Source: Archigram Westminster
- Photographs: © Archigram Archive
The idea was to make a strip or terrace of studio dwellings which consisted purely of a roof on a frame. The parts that made up the house – the walls, upper floor and screen elements – were entirely robotised so they could be driven into other positions to respond to the user.
Text by the Archigram Archive
Following the Robohouse, Ron Herron made a project called Studio Strip, continuing his fascination with the idea of the robotized building, which began with an early Archigram project, Control and Choice, and with the house for the Year 1990 exhibition at Harrods.
The idea was to make a strip or terrace of studio dwellings that consisted purely of a roof on a frame. The oddball thing was that the parts that made up the house – the walls, upper floor, and screen elements – were entirely robotized so they could be driven into other positions to respond to the user. The screen on the garden side, for example, was a drivable curved video wall, some 15 meters long and 6 meters high, which could be hinged to open outwards. You could therefore see the actual garden, play a video on the wall of any environment you wished to be in, or even drive the wall right out into the garden, taking the idea of indoor/outdoor architecture to an extreme.
The design was also attractive because it allowed experiments with early computer models and later an animation studio to animate it for Archigram. A video was made with Dennis Crompton, who did some trickery with the backcloths. This was eventually shown at the German Architecture Museum in the 1986 exhibition, Vision der Moderne. The video starts with an animated walk into the Studio Strip. Then you see Ron Herron sitting in the computer model with moving images on the video wall behind me – he is in a real space talking about authentic images. In the end sequence, the screen opens, and he sits in his garden finishing the conversation.
This animation sequence was an early attempt of Archigram to simulate a real environment.
Archigram was an avant-garde architectural group formed in the 1960s – based at the Architectural Association, London – that was neo-futuristic, anti-heroic, and pro-consumerist, drawing inspiration from technology to create a new reality that was solely expressed through hypothetical projects.
The group’s leading members were Peter Cook, Warren Chalk, Ron Herron, Dennis Crompton, Michael Webb, and David Greene. Designer Theo Crosby was the “hidden hand” behind the group. He gave them coverage in Architectural Design magazine (where he was an editor from 1953–to 62) and brought them to the attention of the Institute of Contemporary Arts (ICA) in London, where, in 1963, they mounted an exhibition called Living Cities, and in 1964 brought them into the Taylor Woodrow Design Group, which he headed, to take on experimental projects.
The pamphlet Archigram I was printed in 1961 to proclaim their ideas. The group experimented with modular technology, mobility through the environment, space capsules, and mass-consumer imagery, committed to a’ high tech, ‘ lightweight, infra-structural approach focused on survival technology. Their works offered a seductive vision of a glamorous future machine age; however, social and environmental issues were left unaddressed.