Architecture-sculpture

Neither style nor movement, architecture-sculpture encompasses a series of architectural approaches which stand out from post-war functionalism through their sculptural and sometimes biomorphic shapes.

Going against the grain of the unbridled functionalism of reconstruction and of its formal schematic vocabulary, many artists and architects of the 50s called for a new synthesis of the arts, so as to renew language and architecture. The way they approached space was resolutely plastic and tended to reaffirm the position of the human being within architecture. The manufacturing of new materials, such as plastic, and of new techniques, such as shotcrete, played a part in the liberation of the architectural form.

Michel Ragon was the first to use the expression in his book Where Shall We Live Tomorrow? (1963), to qualify the creators whom he believed turned back to the radical anti-functionalism of Ferdinand Cheval, Gaudi or German and Austrian expressionists (Bruno Taut, Hermann Finsterlin, Frederick Kiesler…).

The figure of André Bloc, through the Architecture d’Aujourd’hui review, was particularly active in France when it came to the search for a new interweaving of disciplines. He created the group Espace with the painter Felix del Marle in 1951 to defend a synthesis of the arts akin to Theo van Doesburg and the Neoplasticism of the 20s. The group brought together creators from various artistic fields, who questioned form and aspired to a type of space that would be more complexly organised and more adapted to man’s needs.