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12 August 1930|
|Died||1 October 1994(aged 64)|
|Alma mater||Regent Street Polytechnic, London|
|Design||The Walking City (1965)|
Ronald James "Ron" Herron (1930 in London, England – 1994) was a notable English architect and teacher. He was perhaps best known for his work with the seminal English experimental architecture collective Archigram, which was formed in London in the early 1960s. Herron is the creator of one of the group's best known and celebrated projects, the walking city.
Early life and education
Ron Herron was born in London on 12 August 1930, to a leather-working family. He studied draughtsmanship at the Brixton School of Building and architecture at the Regent Street Polytechnic in London.
Taught at the Architectural Association in London from 1965 until 1993, when he was appointed as professor and Head of the School of Architecture at the University of East London.
In 1981 he formed Herron Associates, along with his sons Andrew and Simon. The firm built the acclaimed Imagination Headquarters in London and were involved in the design for Canada Water station.
Shortly after finishing his architectural studies, Herron went to work for the London County Council, alongside fellow future Archigram members Warren Chalk and Dennis Crompton. They were joined by Peter Cook, Mike Webb, and David Greene, who had been meeting regularly as a group at a cafe called Swiss Cottage, and had already published a homemade pamphlet under the moniker "Archigram" (ARCHitecture + teleGRAM). After the publication of the second issue, Cook, Webb and Greene sought out Herron, Chalk and Crompton, whom they knew by reputation. Those six formed the core of Archigram. In 1963 the group was invited by Theo Crosby to do an exhibition on "The Living City" at the Institute of Contemporary Arts, which became a manifesto of sorts.
The Walking City
Herron is remembered for his "Walking City", later described as "the international icon of radical architecture of the Sixties". Between 1964 and 1966, the concepts for the Walking City were published in Archigram. They consist of multi-story buildings mounted on giant, telescopic steel legs, with an ovoid and insect-like form, and while highly detailed, show little about how the ideas are meant to work in practice. Resembling the Maunsell Forts, they appeared warlike to some, leading Herron to be heckled at a conference in Folkestone in 1966 when he spoke about the Walking City. However, they were intended to be more like "survival pods" than weapons.
Herron married Pat Ginn in 1954 and they remained together until his death. They had two sons.