Claude Parent (October 14, 1998) Part 1 of 2

Thom Mayne makes a general introduction, followed by Frédéric Migayrou’s introduction to the architectural culture of France in the 1960s, focusing on André Bloc, Paul Virilio, Jean Nouvel and Claude Parent. He describes the influence of sculpture, anthropology, structuralism, and neoplasticism. Migayrou describes in detail projects developed by Parent in collaboration with Virilio and with Bloc. These projects include representations of the fourth dimension, sculptures to be inhabited, and several church designs.

Migayrou describes how Paul Virilio and Claude Parent met and began working together. He shows drawings and project by Virilio and Parent. Migayrou describes their interest in topological spaces, hyperbolic surfaces and monoliths. He also describes Jean Nouvel’s relationship with Claude Parent, and shows some of Nouvel’s first projects.

Claude Parent lectures in French, and an interpreter provides an English translation. Parent illustrates his ideas by drawing on paper attached to the wall. Parent stresses the importance of movement in architecture, evoking the ocean and waves as a image of what he is interested in architecture. He calls himself a magician of architecture, and claims he designs illusions. Parent argues that Frank Lloyd Wright and Erich Mendelsohn were the first architects to incorporate the illusion of movement in
architecture.

Parent discusses the future of society, which he sees as a situation in which instability leads to continuity. He argues that modernism focused on the development of surface, instead of development of volume. Parent stresses that architects must invent their own limits, develop without boundaries, and think about habitations in terms of masses, not individuals.

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