Peter Cook exhibition explores colourful urban visions at Richard Saltoun Gallery

Peter Cook exhibition ‘Cities’ launches at Richard Saltoun Gallery in London

Peter Cook 1936 - Arcadia A, 1977-78, as part of Peter Cook exhibition at Richard Saltoun Gallery in London
Installation View: 'Peter Cook, Cities'
(Image credit: Courtesy of Richard Saltoun Gallery London and Rome Copyright The Artist)

A new Peter Cook exhibition delves into some of the architect, educator and writer's best-known creative products, his artworks – a series of colourful, imaginative and visionary drawings that explore buildings and cities. It is some of these captivating pieces that the British architect and member of Archigram explores in a new London architecture exhibition titled 'Peter Cook: Cities' that has just opened at Richard Saltoun Gallery. 

Peter COOK 1936 - Arcadia A, 1977-78

Arcadia A, 1977-78

(Image credit: Peter Cook)

Peter Cook exhibition in cities

The show, designed by Cook Haffner Architecture Platform (CHAP) and including a media and VR element by Louis Peralta, coincides with the 60-year anniversary of the exhibition 'Living City' at London’s ICA. In it, famously, Cook, together with Warren Chalk, Dennis Crompton, David Greene, Ron Herron and Michael Webb – who would all soon form the architectural group Archigram – examined ideas around our urban environment. 

As the ICA was at that time on the same street as Richard Saltoun Gallery, it felt a fitting opportunity to celebrate the 1963 exhibition that started it all, with a new display that looks both towards the past and the present, through old, new and site-specific works. 

Peter COOK 1936 - Arcadia B, 1976

Arcadia B, 1976

(Image credit: Peter Cook)

Immersed in Cook's creative vision, visitors to the show are greeted by a site-specific installation by the architect and CHAP's Cong Ding who also oversaw the curation, an 'architectural environment produced especially for the gallery', before taking a deep dive into a selection of paintings, drawings and sculpture by the architect. Guests are invited to have ‘visual discussion’ about cities, as Cook writes that he 'is not concerned with whole cities nor whole projects, but with accumulated fragments and scrambled bits of inspiration'. 

The gallery adds: 'It is the essence of conglomeration, of confrontation of the unlike with the unlike, of the potential of unexpected mixtures'. 

Peter COOK 1936 - Arcadia 4, 1980s

Arcadia 4, 1980s

(Image credit: Peter Cook)

'Peter Cook: Cities', Richard Saltoun Gallery London

18 July – 16 September 2023 

Ellie Stathaki is the Architecture & Environment Director at Wallpaper*. She trained as an architect at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki in Greece and studied architectural history at the Bartlett in London. Now an established journalist, she has been a member of the Wallpaper* team since 2006, visiting buildings across the globe and interviewing leading architects such as Tadao Ando and Rem Koolhaas. Ellie has also taken part in judging panels, moderated events, curated shows and contributed in books, such as The Contemporary House (Thames & Hudson, 2018), Glenn Sestig Architecture Diary (2020) and House London (2022).