roads were not always stone-paved, especially in difficult terrain. Like the substructure, surfaces varied according to what materials were locally available: gravel, flint, small broken stones, iron slag, rough concrete, or sometimes fitted flat stones were used. The pavement thickness varied from a couple of inches on some roads to 2 feet (0.6 meter) at the crown of others. Surfaces sloped down—as steeply as 1 in 15—from the center, to allow rainwater runoff into flanking ditches.

Roman roads were strong enough to support half-ton metal-wheeled wagons, and many were wide enough to accommodate two chariots abreast. Some roads were provided with intentional ruts, intended to guide wagons on difficult stretches. Under normal traffic a paved Roman road lasted up to 100 years. Beginning with the Appian Way, the ancient Roman engineers flung an all-weather communication network across Italy and eventually their empire. The poet Publius Papinius Statius wrote late in the first century a.d.:

Further reading

Chevallier, Raymond. 1976. Roman Roads. London: Batsford.

Hagen, Victor von, and Adolfo Tomeucci. 1967. The Roads That Led to Rome. Cleveland: World Publishing.

White, K. D, 1984. Greek and Roman Technology. London: Thames and Hudson.


The Archigram group was established in 1961 by a few young British architects “united by common interests and antipathies.” Its founders were Peter Cook, Michael Webb, and David Greene, who were soon joined by Dennis Crompton, Ron Herron, and Warren Chalk. Archigram’s international impact—its architectural feat, so to speak—was significant. Other architects would give form to its notions. The Centre Pompidou, Paris, by Renzo Piano and Richard Rogers, and Arata Isozaki’s buildings at the 1970 Osaka World’s Fair are redolent of the fantastic schemes drawn, but never built, by Archigram. The Austrian architect Hans Hollein, too, admits his debt to them after 1964. It is in the realm of ideas about living in an advanced industrial civilization that they offered most.

All the founders had been students at the Architecture Association school in London, where they had learned, in the face of a then-reactionary architectural profession, to apply democratic principles to the art. The members who came later assimilated those ideas and blended them with other influences, notably the futuristic urban visions of Friedrich Kiesler and Bruno Taut and the technological notions of Richard Buckminster Fuller, whom they heroized. They also formed a symbiotic intellectual association with the exactly contemporary Japanese Metabolist group, in which Isozaki was preeminent. The Japanese applauded their efforts to “dismantle the apparatus of Modern Architecture.”

Like the Dutch De Stijl group around 1920, Archigram’s cooperation was mainly through a polemical journal; and like the Hollanders, it drew its name from the title of the journal. Archigram (derived from “architecture” and “telegram” or “aerogram”) was published (almost) annually between 1961 and 1974. Archigram, more like a polemical broadsheet than a journal, directed an attack on the smugness of modernist architectural conservatism, reinforced by what can best be called Britishness. The powerful publication ran to ten annual issues, preaching an urgent message about architecture that has been described as “esthetic technocratic idealism.” Possibly the most significant architectural publication of the decade, its “pop” format, including beautifully drawn comic strips, declared the group’s “optimism and possibilities of technology and the counterculture of the pop generation.”

The 1964 issue, after a controversial “Living City” exhibition at London’s Institute of Contemporary Arts, attracted the critic Reyner Banham, who became the group’s champion. There followed a succession of (perhaps) outlandish architectural proposals. Archigram’s direction was urban, technological, autocratic—and some have said inhumane. The members believed that technology was the hope of the world, so traditional means of building houses and cities must be superseded. Their favorite words