JoCA 02


Issue two of the JoCA brings together a series of essays and visual essays that consider the theme of Landscape, or more precisely, the role of "nature" in architecture.

The Journal of Civic Architecture includes essays, visual essays, drawings and design projects that relate architecture, photography, literature and criticism to city life. Each issue is edited by Patrick Lynch, and addresses a series of unpredictable themes concerning urban culture and imagination.

Contributions are invited for the forthcoming issues from photographers, writers and designers who wish to engage in a fruitful dialogue with other creative people about the meaning, frustrations and pleasures of civic culture today. Academics are encouraged to send things that perhaps wouldn’t otherwise find an audience. Please contact us if you’ve design projects, writing, or images that you’d like us to consider for publication.

Each issue of JoCA has a limited print run of 500 copies, and is available to purchase from our website, Magma, magCulture, Rare Mags,  Margaret Howell, Charlotte Street News, The Architectural Association Bookshop in London; and at CCA in Montreal, William Stout in Los Angeles, Copyright Books in Ghent, and at Choisi Bookshop in Lugano, amongst others.

‘Shortly before his death in 1926, Rainer Maria Rilke, a great lover of landscape and architecture, asked a question: “Earth, is it not this that you want: to/rise/ invisibly in us?” (Duino Elegies, 1923).

In the villa tradition, both in antiquity and at least since the 15th century, the ancient link between beauty and goodness remained more or less explicit. Riffing on Virgil’s exultation of natural poetics in The Georgics, Petrarch took great delight in the twin meaning of cultivation: cultivation of selfhood and of the land. This is one reason why the villa became important in the Renaissance as a locus amoneus.

A house in nature remained a practical and ideal proposition for most of the 20th century. John and Dorothy Meunier’s beautiful brick house, in the village of Caldecott outside Cambridge, provides us with a vision from a seemingly distant past. It is a shocking reminder of a time when a young university lecturer could borrow money from their employer and build a home for their family (on what is known as Village Infill) – uniting body and mind in Arcadian equilibrium. The Meunier House is a first class example of Alberti’s notion that architecture is lived imagination, Second Nature.

David Grandorge’s photographs reveal that the world is still beautiful. If it still rises in us though, the world is expressive now of intentions that we hardly understand, and have little time left, to continue to ignore.'

Patrick Lynch

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