5 Pages

Widow, orphans

WithJoseph Rykwert

This chapter presents an autobiography of Joseph Rykwert that explores how his life's experiences shaped his working life. He addresses the dualities between which he had to navigate: Jewish/Polish, Polish/British and later, Practice/Scholarship. He spent most of his working life between the USA and UK and worked both as a designer and a writer; as such his ground-breaking ideas and work have had a major impact on the thinking of architects and designers since the 1960s and continue to do so to this day. In the cultural and spiritual disorientation his father's death had intensified, the 'Oxford Group' provided a provisional if unlikely guidepost. 'Group' activities offered a kind of social/spiritual matrix to the congenital outsider he had become – as did being fatherless; though that was not in itself aberrant; many boys' fathers were on war service, and some had already been lost – killed, missing, prisoners.