Michael Webb

Professor

Michael Webb was born 1937 in Henley-on-Thames (home of the Rowing Regatta), England. He studied architecture in London, taking seventeen years to graduate from a curriculum which is supposed to take but five. However, a project he designed in the fourth year of his studies found its way, via a curious set of circumstances, into the exhibition at MoMA New York in 1962 entitled “Visionary Architecture.” His thesis design: The ‘Sin Palace’ which repeatedly failed at his school of architecture, was later widely published.

He then, circa 1963, joined the Archigram Group, a collection of six young architects rebelling against what they saw as an English architectural scene on life support. Through the pages of a magazine the group produced highly colored images of ‘a new architecture that would stand alongside the spacecapsules, the inflatable structures and the lifestyles of a new generation.’ For eleven years, an exhibition of the group’s work toured the world. Originating in Vienna, it visited New York in 1998. In August of 2003 it was mounted in Seoul, Korea, and in London in March of 2004.

Webb came to the USA in 1965 and has since taught architecture at The Cooper Union, Columbia University, and a number of other schools. He has received grants from the New York State Council on the Arts and the New York Foundation for the Arts. He has lived just outside Millerton for four years and claims to have retired. Webb recently completed a three month fellowship at the Canadian Centre for Architecture in Montreal, and will deliver the Mellon Lecture there later this month.

Projects & Links

  • Founded by inventor, industrialist and philanthropist Peter Cooper in 1859, The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art offers education in art, architecture and engineering, as well as courses in the humanities and social sciences.

  • “My feelings, my desires, my hopes, embrace humanity throughout the world,” Peter Cooper proclaimed in a speech in 1853. He looked forward to a time when, “knowledge shall cover the earth as waters cover the great deep.”

  • From its beginnings, Cooper Union was a unique institution, dedicated to founder Peter Cooper's proposition that education is the key not only to personal prosperity but to civic virtue and harmony.

  • Peter Cooper wanted his graduates to acquire the technical mastery and entrepreneurial skills, enrich their intellects and spark their creativity, and develop a sense of social justice that would translate into action.