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On Intricacy: The Work of John Meunier Architect (Canalside Press 2020)

Further to initial research undertaken by Patrick Lynch and published in issue 2 of the JoCA in 2018, conversation with the English architect continued, resulting in this book, On Intricacy: The Work of John Meunier Architect, published by The Canalside Press in London, 2020, which is available to purchase on this website.


On Intricacy is perhaps unusual in that it’s not a monograph,

nor is it a hagiography. John Meunier is still alive. On Intricacy

celebrates and proselytises the ideas that Meunier has articulated

throughout his career. On Intricacy is not a book about him as

such, nor simply a book by him, but a book with him, and it reflects

his life’s work as an architect and teacher, in the UK and USA.

On Intricacy is concerned with the deep reciprocity of ethics

and aesthetics in human ecology and culture. Intricacy is not so

much an aesthetic term—although it is a sign of quality in artistic

work—as something intrinsic to human situations. Intricacy is

something that architecture does or doesn’t reflect, and when

it does, it tends to be life-like, vital, and therefore good.

On Intricacy is a visual and written polemic reflecting the

hard-won wisdom of a practical life. On Intricacy is also a

biography of sorts of a man born into a relatively recent, but

also a very different age. It tells an inspiring story from a period

of hope and opportunity in the 20th century. On Intricacy is an

anthology. An anthology is a collection of flowers2, often offered

at a festival. On Intricacy is an invitation to share in the deeper

meaning of theory3: to participate in a form of long game that

demands that we give ourselves up to it, witness it, and join in

with it; keeping alive the possibility of architecture that “really

has something of the truth of play about it”.

Patrick Lynch

Waypoint 1