Not For Web | Way Out West: Berlin - Cheerful Corner

This work is part of the Keeper’s House display Sir Peter Cook RA: City Landscapes, on show in the Belle Shenkman Room from 19 February 2020.


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Artwork details

Material Digital Print
Dimensions 55.5 x 53.5cm
Edition of 40

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Product story

“From the earliest days after graduating from the AA, I was determined to explore the edges of architecture: particularly the limits of its formal vocabulary. Drawing was the inevitable method for this.”

Peter Cook, 2020

Sir Peter Cook RA is an English architect, lecturer and writer. His drawings have captivated people with their depictions of an architecture freed from the conventions of style and construction. The prints in this display were produced recently from original hand-coloured, mixed media drawings which date from the late 1980s to the present day.

Cook began architectural studies at age 16, starting at Bournemouth College of Art and then continuing to the Architectural Association School of Architecture in London (the AA). He remarks that he initially struggled with drawing as a student. However, through a determination to express his ideas and a close association with inspirational drawers, such as David Greene, Ron Herron, Christine Hawley and Gavin Robotham, he came to learn a series of graphic tricks, worked preferences and tectonic gambits which gave his ideas substance.

He compares drawing by hand to new computer- based techniques, reasoning that while software can do amazing things (including being instrumental in realising his own Kunsthaus Graz and subsequent buildings) drawing by hand allows the architect to learn, communicate and experiment in a way that is irreplaceable. Cook has remarked that ‘the accuracy of the computer is its undoing’ as a creative tool, highlighting the importance of hand-drawing in his creative process and practice.

His career has been characterised by designs which are instinctively anti-Classic, anti-Minimalist, and anti-Monochrome. As a founder member of the visionary group Archigram in the early 1960s, Cook helped to re-imagine radically new possibilities for architecture, dismantling constructs and then reassembling them. He expresses a preference for elements that deviate from the purely repetitive, such as the combination of natural vegetation with highly technological inserts or devices and surfaces that are deliberate hybrids between the organic and the super-sleek.

Whilst a professor of architecture at the Bartlett School of Architecture, part of University College, London, Cook helped to establish its reputation as a leading institution for creative design. In 2004 his achievements with Archigram were recognised by the Royal Institute of British Architects when the group was awarded the Royal Gold Medal. He was elected a Royal Academician in 2003 and was knighted in 2007 for his services to architecture and teaching.

In Sir Peter Cook RA’s own words:

“A suggestion of a mixture of celebratory flags and tents exploding out of the mysterious club-world at the western end of the Kurfürstendamm.”

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RA Editions
The RA Editions programme publishes and showcases prints by Royal Academicians and invited artists. All are available to buy online, from the RA Shop in Gallery X as well as through a series of displays within the Keeper’s House and Burlington Gardens. The programme generates valuable revenue for the RA and, in particular, the RA Schools.
Artist Sales: This work is sold by the artist. The sale is facilitated by RA Enterprises (RAE) for which they receive only a commission from the artist.