Civic Architecture Symposium The Architectural Association 2014
Civic Architecture was a seminar at The Architectural Association in November 2014 accompanying an exhibition of the same name at The Building Centre, which resulted in a small publication. The seminar at the AA involved eminent architects and academics, artists, writers, planners, developers and politicians. The exhibition and writing grew out of research that Patrick Lynch had conducted for his PhD, parts of which had been exhibited at The Venice Biennale in 2014. This work eventually found its way into two books published by Artifice Books on Architecture. Mimesis: Lynch Architects (2015), and Civic Ground (2017). The exhibition Civic Architecture included photographs comparing Piccadilly with Victoria Street in London, as well as images of work in progress of Lynch Architect's projects there. 'Civic Architecture' is an old term, commonly found in Renaissance architectural treatises, and is something that is worthy of revival in contemporary urban design and architecture today. All buildings are potentially civic. The degree to which they are, is founded upon an ethical as much as an aesthetic orientation, and the capacity of architecture to be more or less civic depends upon the imagination and urbanity of architects and clients. Above all, it is a typified by a characteristic openness and generosity of spirit: the ability to see how each individual building project is one part of a continuum of civic values; respect for the natural world; its analogues in ornament, and in the presence of gardens in the city and pleasurable public spaces; and care for the psychic and ethical aspects of energy use, something that is evident in particular in the design of facades that exhibit actual spatial, and cultural depth.