JoCA 04

Issue four of the JoCA brings together a series of essays and visual essays that consider the theme of Home, or more precisely, the role of "dwelling" 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.

'Gaston Bachelard suggested, in The Poetics of Space, that we each have a house inside of our hearts that situates us in our dreams and in our waking life, making imaginative and everyday life possible. Since bad dreams and the cruelty of life cannot be discounted in this analysis, it’s no surprise that the actual poetry of home points less towards easy resolution, as towards longing, home-sickness, frustration, anger, boredom, and to some degree fear of home, and the fear of losing what is loved. We also talk somewhat ambivalently about Mother Nature, and are still trying hard to overcome prejudices and accept that we share our home equally with non-human beings. Any architectural poetics of home has to recognise the shared etymological roots of economics and ecology as oikos, homestead.

The great West Indian poet, playwright and painter Derek Walcott once explained, when challenged as to how he could combine all of these seemingly disparate activities (on 25th February 2004 at The Queen Elizabeth Hall in London), that “all poems are really images”. He also claimed in a poem (Codicil), that “To change your language you must change your life.” The inverse is also true, especially if you want to design a home: to change your life you must change your language. This is the challenge that sits behind all of the contributions to this (bumper) issue I think.'

Patrick Lynch

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