Is architecture returning to an age of civic mission?

Patrick Lynch's red axo - of objects on ground - of St Peter’s Church, Klippan, Sweden, by Sigurd Lewerentz

Nicholas de Klerk finds cause for hope in Patrick Lynch’s latest book, Civic Ground

An architect who makes a habit of examining his or her influences and who then proceeds to share this knowledge with a professional and wider audience is a relatively rare thing – perhaps particularly in the context of practice as opposed to academia.

To do so as Patrick Lynch has done, through a PhD and a series of books, book chapters and articles produced over the last two decades, is an especially rare commitment to this task.

Civic Ground is the third in a series of books, both by Lynch and his practice, examining the “architectural and urban significance of aspects of poetics”. It comes not long after Mimesis, which was published in 2015. Civic Ground is based on Lynch’s PhD dissertation and, inasmuch as it is constructive to try and distil this undertaking into a short description, it examines the relationship between sculpture and architecture. Lynch unpicks this comparison in an almost forensic fashion and suggests that architects who embrace the idea of architecture as sculpture effectively understand sculpture even less than they do architecture.

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