Practical poetics: rhythmic spatiality and the communicative movement between site, architecture and sculpture

Lynch, Patrick (2015) Practical poetics: rhythmic spatiality and the communicative movement between site, architecture and sculpture. Doctoral thesis, London Metropolitan University.


My thesis is that urbanity is a function of the communicative movement between the natural and social conditions of a site, as revealed in architecture and sculpture, and most clearly in their continuity. In order to deal with the effects upon modern design and architectural thinking of dead metaphors like 'technology, 'form' and 'space', I critique and reject their use in architectural discourse, by returning to the philosophical tradition of 20th century phenomenology - Husserl and Heidegger, Merleau-Ponty, et al- in order try to reveal the power of spatiality in 20th century thought, and its central importance to modern art and architecture. This led to new ways of making site-specific, topographic and spatial sculptures, and in some cases led to brilliant and urbane syntheses of architecture with sculpture - revealing the potential communicative depth of spatiality. Central to characterizing this communicative depth was recovering the cultural - rather than formal or picturesque - continuity of Renaissance and Classical poetics. Whilst the iconographic, social and political aspects of this continuity arc standard features of interpretation, far less noticed is the tradition of Eurhythmia. Rhythm was traditionally seen as an aspect of measure - therefore invoking justice (cf. Plato's Divided Line in the Republic) and mediation; and these animate a rich geometric poetics that is more profound than the usual understanding. A vital aspect of the character of urban spaces - arguably the most communicative of architectural settings - is the rhythmic characteristics of situations and the natural world that are revealed in urban topography and architectural physiognomy, and often articulated most emphatically in sculptures. Crucially, the revelation of the structure of relationships between site, place, social life, the natural world, etc., which make up the architectural conditions for civic praxis, is the basis also of ornament and decorum in the arts generally. However, when architects confuse their work with sculpture - misunderstood as '(arm' rather than rhythmic spatiality - the philosophical and communicative potential of architecture is diminished. My thesis concerns the conditions of the possible recovery of this potential in urban terms.

681225.pdf - Published Version

Download (12MB) | Preview


Downloads per month over past year

Downloads each year

View Item View Item