Renowned Architect, Brad Lynch, Dies at 64

Innovative architect Brad Lynch, cofounder of Brininstool + Lynch, passed away this week from a cerebral hemorrhage at the age of 64. The news stunned friends and colleagues who recalled Lynch’s larger-than-life personality and countless contributions to the field.

“Big voice. Big stature. Big thinker. Big heart. I met Brad early in my career as editor, and we always managed to stayed connected throughout our parallel design journeys,” shared Cindy Allen, editor in chief of Interior Design. “He was committed to making a difference with his architecture, and I proudly published his award-winning private residences, corporate headquarters, museums and more.”

Brad Lynch in front of a window
Architect Brad Lynch.

Born and raised in Racine, Wisconsin, the energy and creative prowess of Chicago captivated Lynch from an early age after viewing a Picasso sculpture there during a family trip. He went on to make the city his forever home, leaving an indelible mark.

Lynch also seemed to take Picasso’s words to heart, embodying the artist’s philosophy that: “Everything you can imagine is real.” In 1989, he teamed up with David Brininstool and founded their namesake firm. Together, the pair redefined the notion of residential, institutional and office design through sleek minimalist forms, experimenting with materials and geometry.

Notable projects include a LEED Gold-certified addition to the University of Chicago in collaboration with Diller Scofidio + Renfro, which won an Interior Design Best of Year Award, a Chicago glass and concrete condo high-rise at 1345 S. Wabash Ave, which was awarded a certificate of merit by the Chicago Chapter of the American Institute of Architects in 2016, as well as the Racine Art Museum, the Claremont House and Wood House in Chicago, and Perimeter Gallery locations in Chicago and New York.

Diller Scofidio + Renfro
The LEED Gold–certified structure for the University of Chicago comprises an eight-story tower atop a two-story base. Photography by Brett Beyer.

“Brad has led our firm, along with David Brininstool, for more than 30 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,” his colleagues said in a statement released by the firm.

Never one to stray from a challenge, Lynch got his start in the field through a rather unconventional path—one that did not include architecture school. As a longtime admirer of Frank Lloyd Wright, Lynch managed the restoration of the architect’s first Herbert Jacobs House in Madison, Wisconsin, shortly after college. His expertise in art history, engineering and landscape design, which he studied at the University of Wisconsin, proved a strong foundation for his burgeoning career.

“Brad’s big contributions to design will live on as his legacy, but I am deeply saddened by this shocking news and will miss him terribly as a design peer…and as my friend,” adds Allen.

Lynch’s influence extends well beyond the built environment into the halls of the many universities where he taught and served as a faculty member, as well as in the pieces he penned as an architecture critic. He is survived by his daughter, Annie, and son, Blake.

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