Sydney// Cut-Out Megastructure

A study in Archigram


I began this study within an indepth reading of Simon Sadler’s 2005 publishing on ‘Archigram; Architecture without Architecture.

Upon doing so became enamored with the piece in figure 1. It represented a recount, an amassing of Archigram’s previous work; including pieces from across the decades. It featured a “constructor kit[that]allowed readers to create and rearrange architectural vision on a desktop.” (Simon Sadler, 2005, pg. 106)

In fact the image we were presented in out lecture (seen in figure 2) is actually Peter Cook’s 2D version of this exact cut out puzzle.

Using this as a reference point I endevoured to explore Archigrams’ unique view on Architecture through the emulation of their work

As can be seen in figure 1 they wished for a distributive form of design, possible for the everyday man to complete. Its beauty is largely created by its simplicity; Creating a 3 dimensional object from a 2 dimensional plane.

My ultimate goal, to create a ‘cut-out puzzle’ of Sydney’s iconic mega-structures; the Center Point Tower, the Harbour Bridge, and the Opera House.

To gain a more complete understanding of this, I chose for my first model to be my own interpretation of Archigram 7’s ,cut out megastructures

5figure 1: Simon Sadler, 2005, Archigram; Architecture Without Architecture, p. 106,
figure 2: Excerpt for Leisa Touch lecture slides, 2017, image of Peter Cook’s 1984 Cut Out Megastructure

Model Iteration 1

As seen below in figure 3 I created a small international city with the cut out. Through this I began to formulate my own ideas on how to emulate their work within my own. This can be seen in figure 2.

Figure 3: 1st Model Iteration. Photo Chad Heilig 2017

Model Iteration 2

The first design modelling note I recreated in my work is the duality of dimensions. I chose to not only have my models represented in a 3 dimensional format but to also have a 2 dimensional stencil that plays an integral role in my design.

I was inspired by the folding nature of their design, creating complicated shapes out of such a flimsy substance as paper.

Figure 4: 2nd Model Iteration. Photo Chad Heilig 2017

Model Iteration 3

In the next iteration, I began experimenting with different ways to express the shapes, adding solid line weights and further detail.

Figure 5: 3rd Model Iteration. Photo Chad Heilig 2017

Model Iteration 4

Following these ideas, I kept pushing the design; hoping to create my own mega-structure by focusing on organizing the stencil as well as more intricate modelling. This can be seen most prominently in the Opera House.

Figure 6: 4th Model Iteration. Photo Chad Heilig 2017

Model Iteration 5

At this point I began to incorporate idealogies from Archigram into my design; by having details eluding to the architectural styling of the era. In their case post Bauhaus; in my context iconic Australian Architecture. I achieve this through detailing on the iconic harbour bridge arch (who’s stenciling was insprired by Archigram), as well as the pillars of the bridge and the wiring of Center Point Tower.

Figure 7: 5th Model Iteration. Photo Chad Heilig 2017

Final Model

As the iterations conclude, I began to think about what Archigram was trying to achieve with their Archigram 7’s, ‘Cut Out Architecture’. Their goal was to make their Architectural vision accessable to the every man; as such detailed descriptions of how to assemble the pieces were included and the stenciling was emaculated.

In my attempt to create a ‘Cut Out Sydney’ I too included this detailing, thus creating a piece that could be interactive to the reader no matter their understanding of model making and architecture.

Figure 8: Final Model Iteration. Photo Chad Heilig 2017


While Archigrams goal was to make Architecture accessible, which I believe I achieved through the multidimensional design; they also hand another, far more subtle goal. It was no accident that their cut-out could make a myriad of different combinations of Mega-structures. This is too ensure not to limit the reader, allowing their minds to wonder and create fantastical city-scapes. I too wished to bring this idea home in my own work by having all the structures disjointed and able to be connected theoretically in thousands of different ways. Making special care not to note that on the stencils, so that the reader can discover this quirk on their own accord.


Simon Sadler, ‘Archigram; Architecture without Architecture’, 2005, MIT PRESS, Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States