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Working Notes FarGo Canopy, Coventry 2012

“The city is a fact in nature, like a cave, a run of mackerel or an ant-heap. But it is also a conscious work of art, and it holds within its communal framework many simpler and more personal forms of art. Mind takes form in the city; and in turn, urban forms condition mind.”
[Lewis Mumford: ‘The Culture of Cities’ 1938]

The introductory panel for the ‘Coventry of Tomorrow’ exhibition read:

“Art is integrating. Architecture Painting Sculpture and Living.The well making of that which needs making. Eating Dressing Housing Engineering. First in a series of exhibitions of the works of those moving towards this synthesis.”

A few weeks after the exhibition opened, on the 1 November 1940, Coventry was blitzed. Given the scale of the city, the bomb damage was considerable. As City Architect Donald Gibson later commented, we “used to go up and see which buildings would be burnt to see how it would speed up our planning. [...] We knew which were the key buildings to get down.”