Monica Pidgeon, the former editor of Architectural Design and creator of the Pidgeon Digital Archive, died on Thursday at the age of 96. Pidgeon was a significant figure in the world of postwar Modernism and a driving force within the British architectural discourse for many decades.
A friend of LeCorbusier, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, Buckminster Fuller, Josep Lluís Sert, Louis Kahn, Walter Gropius, and others, Pidgeon attended the founding meeting of the International Union of Architects, attended the first postwar meetings of Congrès International d’Architecture Moderne, and then ruthlessly promoted Team Ten, Aldo van Eyck and the Smithsons. In the following, oil-strapped decade, the content of AD veered more toward energy conservation and alternative lifestyles before being sold to Andreas Papadakis who turned it into the voice of Post-Modernism, much to Pidgeon’s displeasure.
Starting in 1979, Pidgeon began interviewing well-known architects, and hundreds of hours of those interviews are now available online as part of the Pidgeon Digital Archive. Pidgeon believed in the importance of not just reading about but hearing the architects describe and discuss their work, a project that kept her busy until the end of her life.