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Claude Parent: Visionary Architect09:09

Claude Parent’s (1923-2016) injunction to architects called them to “open the imaginary,” “dislodge the immobile,” “surf on the surface,” and “limit without closing.” In a life dedicated to provoking new alternatives to how life might be lived through drawing, Parent transformed the direction of architecture and influenced many of the most radical contemporary practitioners, from Thom Mayne to Jean Nouvel, to Zaha Hadid. 

SCI-Arc History + Theory Faculty John Cooper and Chloé Parent (Claude Parent’s daughter) discuss the exhibition Claude Parent: Visionary Architect curated and designed by Laszlo Parent and Sara Benrahmoun on display in the Kappe Library at SCI-Arc in Fall 2019 which included a physical remaking of a structure Parent originally designed for his family home to demonstrate his fundamental theory of architecture: the oblique. 

A demolishing critique of conventional orthogonal architecture, the oblique was first theorized by Parent and the philosopher Paul Virilio in the wake of the Second World War as a rampant destabilizing of architectural norms and the outmoded and oppressive systems of society which they sustained. Through a seemingly endless series of hand drawings of incredible virtuosity and obsessive rigor- a selection of which are featured in the exhibition and film- in combination with a life-long commitment to writing and lecturing about his theories, Parent explored and expanded what it might mean to live life “on the oblique.”

Crew Credits -

Creator and Executive Producer - Hernan Diaz Alonso
Producers - Marcelyn Gow/Reza Monahan
Director - Reza Monahan
Director of Photography - Sean Morris
B Camera - Robert Moreno
C Camera - Alex Zarth
Sound Engineer - Chris Trueman

Story Producer - John Cooper
Editors - Alex Marfin/Reza Monahan

Soundtrack: "Machines String Interlude" by Uuriter
Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
(CC BY 4.0)

Additional Photos and Images Courtesy of Chloe Parent and the Claude Parent Archives

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