Online seminar: Patrick Lynch - Civic Ground in the City of Westminster and Hackney

This is the sixth in a new seminar series The Living Memory of Cities, convened in collaboration with Eric Parry Architects and CUBE.

About this event

Join us for The Living Memory of Cities, a project originally conceived by Dr José de Paiva as an international symposium, and convened thereafter as a collaboration between Eric Parry Architects and research group Ecological, Architectural and Civic Humanities in Design (EACHiD) at CUBE: the Centre for Urban & Built Ecologies. The series continues with Patrick Lynch's presentation entitled "Civic Ground in the City of Westminster and Hackney".

Civic Ground concerns the public nature of architecture and indeed of artistic experience, it's fundamental position in our culture, and the role that architecture, sculpture and landscape play in articulating this. “Civic” does not refer to a Use Class as such, ie a town hall, but to something which orients architecture towards the shared conditions of urbanity. The term “common ground” gets close to the original meaning of “civilitas”, which more properly means civic order. Its use in English law as common public grazing land, and its survival as “digital commons”, suggests its participatory character. However, the ground itself is not simply a matter of property or of one’s “rights” to use it, nor is it just a metaphor or a philosophical construction, but it is the basis and grounds for life itself. Martin Heidegger claimed that its central orienting importance for human affairs might be best described as “motive” (what Aristotle called “mythos” or plot) and wrote that: “Motive is a ground for human action... All different grounds are themselves based on the principle of ground. All that is has a ground.” The term “motive” fuses together the representational and practical aspects of architecture as the expression of civic ground, suggesting that there is no gap between the practical and the symbolic, only progressively more explicit modes of representation. The presentation will seek to demonstrate efficacy of this way of looking at and thinking about the city with reference to The City of Westminster in London. This will be done through photographs comparing Piccadilly with Victoria Street and a series of drawings that contrast the mercantile and ceremonial aspects of this part of the city, seat of Royal and Political Power, artistic and cultural influence, and a microcosm of the representational and quotidian aspects of what might be termed Civic Architecture. We'll conclude with some recent examples of built work by my practice Lynch Architects.

Patrick Lynch is the founding director of Lynch Architects and a Visiting Professor at the University of Liverpool, where he also studied architecture. He holds a Master of Philosophy degree in the History of Architecture from Cambridge University, where he was supervised by Dalibor Vesely. He completed a PhD under the supervision of Peter Carl, Helen Mallinson and Joseph Rykwert at London Met's School of Art, Architecture and Design (then known as The Sir John Cass School of Art, Architecture and Design). He is the author of The Theatricality of the Baroque City (Verlag Dr Muller, 2011), Mimesis (Artifice, 2015) and Civic Ground (Artifice, 2016). He previously taught at the Architectural Association and Cambridge University. Lynch Architects won the Young Architect of the Year Award in 2005, and exhibited at the Venice Biennale in 2008 and 2012.

photographic portrait of a Patrick looking at the camera


Date/time Online: Tuesday 27 April 2021, from 5pm to 6.30pm
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Patrick Lynch "Civic Ground in the City of Westminster and Hackney"

This was the sixth in The Living Memory of Cities, a seminar series convened in collaboration with Eric Parry Architects and the Centre for Urban and Built Ecologies (CUBE), London Metropolitan University. The series continues with Patrick Lynch's presentation entitled "Civic Ground in the City of Westminster and Hackney".

The Living Memory of Cities – Seminar series