claude parent architectural and graphic work
claude parent architectural and graphic work claude parent architectural and graphic work
feb 17, 2010
claude parent architectural and graphic work


the poster of the exhibition shows ‘villa bloc’ or ‘andré bloc house’ in cap d’antibes.
it was planned in 1959 and built in 1961 by claude parent for andré bloc who is a french painter, sculptor, architect and
founder of the ‘architecture d’aujourd’hui’ magazine.
image © dominique delaunay
courtesy cité de l’architecture et du patrimoine, archives d’architecture du XXe siècle

claude parent, l’œuvre construite, l’œuvre graphique
exhibition at ‘la cité de l’architecture’ in paris
january 20 – may 02, 2010
exhibition design by jean nouvel

the cité de l’architecture & du patrimoine in paris dedicates a large-scale retrospective
to the french modernist architect claude parent. the exhibition uncovers both built and paper
architecture, from private houses to churches, schools and commercial space designs.
it is also featuring numerous drawings, sketches and architectural models of 92 projects
completed between 1960 and 2009.


‘villa bloc’ or ‘andré bloc house’ in cap d’antibes, france – upper living room view
image © dominique delaunay
courtesy cité de l’architecture et du patrimoine, archives d’architecture du XXe siècle

claude parent was born in 1923 in neuilly-sur-seine, france. he wanted to become
an engineer but turned to architecture in 1956. parent got the rare privilege to be among
the eight professionals listed in the french order of architects without having a diploma.
a peerless illustrator, as well as a polemicist and caricaturist in his spare time, he was
an imaginative dreamer with a rebellious character. the many facets of his work have
challenged and also disturbed his contemporaries. this explains perhaps why the recognition
of a solo show has only taken place today.



two churches, front: model of the church with trilobe plan, etats-unis, 1959
image © designboom


‘iran house’ video, drawings and models of churches
image © designboom



maquette of ‘iran house’, (1960-1968) by heydar ghiaï, mohsen foroughi, andré bloc and claude parent.
image © designboom



‘iran house’, (1960-1968) by heydar ghiaï, mohsen foroughi, andré bloc and claude parent.
image © gaston bergeret / collection DAF
courtesy cité de l’architecture et du patrimoine, archives d’architecture du XXe siècle

in 1949, at age 26, claude parent met the architect ionel schein. both were ‘children of corbusier’
and in 1952 they had a revelation of utopia when seeing sculptor nicolas schöffer’s ideas
of the russian constructivism, the de stijl movement and theories of the bauhaus (schöffer
was unknown in france at that time). parent and active member of the ‘space group’,
founded by andré bloc in the early 1950s, he collaborated with many artists (among them
yves klein and jean tinguely) and advocated for the integration of art in architecture
and society in general.



‘spatialism’, a view into the exhibition
image © designboom



model of memorial for yves klein, saint-paul-de-vence, 1964 – 1965
image © designboom

in spring 1959, yves klein worked with claude parent on a water and fire fountain project
and in 1969, they designed an aeromagnetic sculpture – ‘the pneumatic rocket’.



‘the pneumatic rocket’, 1969
maquette realized by designer roger tallon
image © designboom

in 1963, claude parent met urbanist paul virilio. together they developed the ‘oblique function’
theory which celebrated the inclined plane. ‘in may ’68, the intellectual marriage between
the catholic situationist paul virilio and the liberal anarchist claude parent ended,’ says francis rambert,
curator of the exhibition. in 1970, when parent was selected to build the french pavilion
of the biennale of contemporary art in venice, virilio refused to participate.



‘les vagues’, drawing by claude parent, 1965
image taken by designboom



model of the ‘les vagues’, 1965

image © designboom



architect testimonials on TV screens
image © designboom exhibition

architect testimonials on TV screens:
diana chan chieng, françois letaillieur, madame courrèges, philippe trétiack , paul virilio,
andrée bellaguet , bernard tschumi , paul andreu, odette ducarre, alain renk , nicoletti
manfredi, gérard mannoni, wolf prix, françois seigneur, marie ange brayer, marc noel vigier,
frédéric borel, pascale blin, maurice culot, odile decq, michel ragon, rudy ricciotti, michel
carrade, béatrice simonot, claude vasconi, jakob macfarlane, jean nouvel, and lucien kroll.


claude parent and jean nouvel, 1993
image courtesy cité de l’architecture et du patrimoin

the exhibition puts us back into the heart of current architectural debates. architect jean nouvel
whose career began in claude parent’s studio is the exhibition’s scenographer after having
dedicated his project for the paris’ philharmonie to claude parent.

nouvel’s set design is articulated as a sequence of cells, divided into 4 sectors:
spatialism, the oblique function and critical space (1963-1968) , involving the oblique (1970-1982)
and recent projects (1975-2000), delimited by inclined surfaces and viewable from many
different angles. it marries the work of parent and his ‘oblique function’ manifesto perfectly.



slightly blurred image of a view inside the (scarcely illuminated) exhibition with model of ‘les grandes oreilles I,
les conques’, 1969
image © designboom exhibition



‘les grandes oreilles I, les conques’, 1966
image taken by designboom



model of ‘les grandes oreilles I, les conques’, 1966
image © designboom



‘spirals – bridges’, parent’s utopian dream of a ‘spatio-dynamic city’,
drawing by claude parent, 1971
image taken by designboom



on the right a model of ‘la colline de sens’, a project of an oblique city, 1971
image © designboom



‘la colline de sens’ a project of an oblique city
drawing by claude parent
image taken by designboom



close-up
image taken by designboom



close-up
image taken by designboom


book ‘architecture principe’, claude parent / paul virilio, 1966

architecture will no longer be dominated by the visual, the façade, but will relate to the human
body as a receptive totality’ and ‘the individual will always be in a state of resistance – whether
accelerating as when going down or slowing down as when climbing up, whereas when one walks
on a horizontal plane, weight is nil.

– ‘architecture principe’ claude parent / paul virilio, 1966



‘open limit’, the leitmotif is the denial of the severity of horizontal and vertical planes, to invent a universe
composed of unstructured ramps
image © designboom


buildings should be all about ramps, slopes and angles, wall-free where possible; space should predominate over surface.
image taken from ‘functioning the oblique’, claude parent / paul virilio

we are in front of the imperious necessity to accept as an historical fact, the end of verticality as an
elevation axis, the end of horizontality as a permanent plan, in the benefit of oblique axis and lean plan
which achieve all the needed conditions to create a new urban order, and which also allow to totally
reinvent architecture’s vocabulary. this shift should be understood for what it actually is:
the third architecture’s spatial possibility.

-‘architecture principe’, claude parent / paul virilio, 1966



maison bordeaux le pecq house in bois le roy (1963-1966)
giant wave like gestures of the roof create one of residential architecture’s great rooms on the inside.
image © dominique delaunay
courtesy cité de l’architecture et du patrimoine, archives d’architecture du XXe siècle


drawing of maison bordeaux le pecq
image taken by designboom

inside, the bordeaux le pecq house consists almost entirely of one large open space.
claude parent created the house for an art collector andrée bordeaux le pecq, who wanted
it as her countryside studio. she designed most of the interior with a small kitchen,
bathrooms and bedrooms herself.



maison bordeaux le pecq house with giant wave like roof
image © dominique delaunay
courtesy cité de l’architecture et du patrimoine, archives d’architecture du XXe siècle



model of drusch house in versailles
image © designboom



villa drusch in versailles by claude parent and d.m. davidoff, michel carrade and roger fatus (1963-1965). built for local entrepreneur gaston drusch.


image © dominique delaunay
courtesy cité de l’architecture et du patrimoine, archives d’architecture du XXe siècle

villa drusch a rectangular concrete box which stands on one of its corners.



north side of the church of sainte-bernadette du banlay in nevers
image © dominique delaunay
courtesy cité de l’architecture et du patrimoine, archives d’architecture du XXe siècle

between 1963 and 1966, claude parent, odette ducarre, morice lipsi, michel carrade and
paul virilio built the church of sainte-bernadette du banlay in nevers. it is a concrete monolith
whose interior is organized with slopes. the church with its exterior resembling a bunker
and a nearly empty interior is considered as one of his most scandalous buildings.



interior of the church of sainte-bernadette du banlay in nevers
image © dominique delaunay
courtesy cité de l’architecture et du patrimoine, archives d’architecture du XXe siècle



‘maison toueg’, gif-sur-yvette (1969 – 1970
image © designboom



a model and books in a showcase
image © designboom

in the ’70ies claude parent became responsible for the architectural aspect of EDF nuclear
power plants. he planned two ‘houses of the atom’ at cattenom and chooz – a futuristic world
populated by nuclear power plants or cities in the form of waves at infinity.



nuclear power plant at cattenom,
painting by claude parent



claude parent at the opening of the exhibition on january 19, 2010 in paris
portrait © AFP

in 1979, parent was awarded with the gran prix national d’architecture.



catalog published by hyx / cité de l’architecture, 408 pages. 700 illustrations, french text only,
the first monograph on the architect’s work since 1982.
ISBN 978-2-910385-61-3

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