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Ant Farm And The Influences Of Guerilla Architecture (PHOTOS)

Posted: 10/23/2010 3:44 pm

Vincent Callebaut Lilypad, A Floating Ecopolis for Climate Refugees, 2008 Digital rendering, dimensions variable © Vincent Callebaut Architectures
"Vincent Callebaut Lilypad, A Floating Ecopolis for Climate Refugees, 2008 Digital rendering, dimensions variable © Vincent Callebaut Architectures"

Ant Farm's 1969 work, 50×50′ Pillow for the Whole Earth Catalog led to the commission to build the medical tent at Altamont.
"Ant Farm's 1969 work, 50×50′ Pillow for the Whole Earth Catalog led to the commission to build the medical tent at Altamont."

By Kisa Lala

The new independent film Space Land and Time: Underground Adventures with Ant Farm, directed by Laura Harrison and Elizabeth Federici is a biography of the renegade architecture outfit Ant Farm that operated in the 60s and 70s counter-culture movement and pioneered the use of many architectural design devices, technologically ahead of their times.

In Europe there were other radical /guerilla architecture organizations around like Archigrams (UK) and SuperStudio (Italy) whose theoretical inventions were then put to practice by AntFarm in the USA. Their subversive, alternative ideas fertilized the possibility of overturning old-habits. As an 'underground' collective, Ant Farm, funded most of their own projects and focused on urban designs that were temporary, nomadic and malleable - opposite of the dominant style. They were also exponents of Buckminster Fuller's assault against the right angles of traditional architecture.

Richard Buckminster Fuller, Shoji Sadao Dome over Manhattan, ca. 1960 Silver gelatine print, 34.9 x 46.7 cm Courtesy: The Estate of R. Buckminster Fuller
"Richard Buckminster Fuller, Shoji Sadao Dome over Manhattan, ca. 1960 Silver gelatine print, 34.9 x 46.7 cm Courtesy: The Estate of R. Buckminster Fuller"

Ant Farm (Chip Lord, Doug Michels and Curtis Schreier) Clean Air Pod, 1970 Polyethylene, dimensions unknown Chip Lord, Courtesy Ant Farm
"Ant Farm (Chip Lord, Doug Michels and Curtis Schreier) Clean Air Pod, 1970 Polyethylene, dimensions unknown Chip Lord, Courtesy Ant Farm"

Zaha Hadid, Chanel Mobile Art Pavilion  Hong Kong, Tokyo, New York, Paris 2008-2010, New York, Photography © John Linden
"Zaha Hadid, Chanel Mobile Art Pavilion Hong Kong, Tokyo, New York, Paris 2008-2010, New York, Photography © John Linden"

Many failed projects and architectural follies now seem more technologically feasible with today's new plastics and smarter, durable skins. Concepts like Dolphin Embassy a project used to envision one living space for multiple species, in this case, marine and human, can be of potential use to natural history museums. Highly poly-urethaned carved wood molded interiors can be seen as style influences today in Marc Newson's Aqua Riva speed boat. And Cargo parachutes, supported by wind, used to create living spaces, can be seen as early evolutions of modern inflatables-technology.

Consider other modern day off-shoots of these early precursors in nomadic structures and inflatables such as the Water Cube - Olympic stadium in Beijing, Diller Scofidio's Bubble, an inflatable event space planned for Hirshhorn Museum, the temporary structures of the Burning Man event, Zaha Hadid's Chanel mobile art pavilion, and the many pop-up stores and exhibition spaces of today.

© Photographe : François Lauginie Courtesy Frac Centre, Orléans
"Dolphin Embassy, 1974, Drawing by Ant Farm - Photo: François Lauginie Courtesy Frac Centre."

Diller Scofidio's Bubble, Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, museum expansion: Washington DC, 2012
"Diller Scofidio's Bubble, Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, museum expansion: Washington DC, 2012"

More on the history of inflatables and architectural groups: Raumlabor, Ant Farm
Text: By Kiša Lala

 

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