The drawings of British architect Peter Cook are the subject of a new exhibition at the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art. ‘Peter Cook: City Landscapes’ is part of the exhibition series ‘Louisiana on Paper’ and is to be held from 21 January to 8 May 2022.

A prominent figure in the architecture world for decades – and a founder of neo-futurist architectural group Archigram in the 1960s – Cook has long maintained that the future can be best examined through the medium of drawing. These works trace the way he has shaped his architectural vision over the years. Unrestrained by practical limitations, he is free to rethink conventional motifs in an innovative exploration of alternate cities and life forms.

Peter Cook: City Landscapes

blue and red illustration by Peter Cook
Peter Cook, Outcrop House, 2018, print on paper, 42 x 59,4 cm © Peter Cook 

The exhibition arranges his examinations of buildings and cities in chronological order. The theme ‘Towers’, where Cook over the years has considered the possibilities inherent in both existing skyscrapers and fantasy buildings, is interspersed throughout, with drawings including Oslo Towers, Santa Monica Hotel and São Paulo Tower named after places he has stayed.

The drawings, from Cook’s personal collection, are accompanied by the descriptions he has penned, offering a rare insight into his methodologies. The curated selection highlights the themes that matter to him, with the collages frequently communicating his architectural ideas. Created from a template – usually in black and white – they are copied on to paper and filled in with gouache, pencil or watercolour. The resulting drawings may at first appear chaotic in their embrace of colour and pattern, but on second look, a precisely scaled and rendered aesthetic is revealed. 

It is a technique that has long been integral to his work, dating back to the 1960s and 1970s with Archigram. Members of the group are well known for considering new ways of depicting what a city can be, with projects such as Plug-in-City, Walking City and Instant City rethinking traditional presentation methods. §

rock painting
Peter Cook, Inhabited Wall, 2020, original on paper, 48 x 72 cm © Peter Cook 
 
green and red picture

Peter Cook, Urban Retreat, 2018, print on paper, 42 x 59,4 cm © Peter Cook 
 

painting

Peter Cook, Academy of the Hill, 1979, coloured print on 3mm card, 71 x 71 cm © Peter Cook 
 

red drawing

Peter Cook, Crazy City, 2008, original on paper, 29 x 50 cm © Peter Cook