Chicago Architect Brad Lynch Dead at 64

John Hill
28. September 2022
Brad Lynch inside the Wood House (Photo © Mariah Karson)
"We are devastated to announce that our founder, Brad Lynch, passed away early Monday. Brad has led our firm, along with David Brininstool, for more than thirty years and has contributed in untold ways to the built environment of Chicago and beyond, to the design community in his adopted home city, and to all of our lives. As we move forward, we vow to redouble our efforts on behalf of our clients and to create an architecture of rich beauty and quiet grace that Brad would be proud of. Brad is much loved and will be much missed, but he will continue to inspire us all."
Racine Art Museum, Racine, WI, 2003 (Photo © Christopher Barrett, Hedrich Blessing)

As the sad announcement transcribed above indicates, Brad Lynch and David Brininstool founded Brininstool + Lynch in Chicago in 1989, after the two met while working at Pappageorge + Haymes. That year was the height of postmodernism in Chicago, as just two years earlier the competition for the Harold Washington Library was held, and the winning design — Hammond Beeby Babka's rusticated mass of red brick topped by green metal ornamentation — would open two years later, in 1991. 

But the buildings that would come out of the office of Brininstool + Lynch's were decidedly modern, using brick, steel, and glass in ways that could be described as regional modernism, appearing to blend the character of buildings by Frank Lloyd Wright, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, SOM and the like, while eschewing postmodernism and other styles of the times. A few highlights from the last two decades are shown here, spanning from the single-family houses the firm is known for to cultural buildings and multi-family housing.

Claremont House, Chicago, 2008 (Photo © Christopher Barrett, Hedrich Blessing)

According to his bio in Brininstool + Lynch's office profile, Lynch "guided designs ranging from high-rise mixed-use towers and corporate headquarters, to film facilities and museums, through private residences and master plans." His designs manifested in "buildings and interiors whose beauty is a function of their elegant restraint. Through refined material palettes, thoughtful details, and the careful play of light and space [Lynch] produced works of rich experience and quiet grace."

Wood House, Chicago, 2013 (Photo © Christopher Barrett)

Lynch studied at the University of Wisconsin and began his career in architecture as a construction and project manager restoring Prairie School buildings in the early 1980s; one of them was Frank Lloyd Wright's first Usonian house, the Herbert Jacobs House, located in Madison, Wisconsin. Raised in Wisconsin, Lynch visited Chicago in 1967 with his parents, according to an obituary in the Chicago Sun-Times, and seeing the Picasso sculpture in Daley Plaza he knew someday he would move there. Decades later, Lynch and his firm would design buildings that would rise on blocks not far from that plaza, making a dramatic mark on his adopted city.

R+D 659, Chicago, 2009 (Photo © Darris Lee Harris)
Lynch, just left of center, among the firm in September 2019 (Photo via Brininstool + Lynch office profile)

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