Claude Parent

Les ponts urbains, 1971

In 1971, Claude Parent produced the model and drawings for a project of urban bridges.  The one here is part of the architect’s research on the oblique, begun in the early 1960s. Parent imagined places for housing that are transformed into immense artificial hills, megastructures for climbing, thus linking the oblique circulation with the dwelling: Turbosites, Grandes Oreilles (big ears), Vagues (waves), Spirales, Collines (hills) etc. Based on the potential continuity of an inclined plane, the urban bridges, similar to the oblique cities, look like a gigantic “practicable enclosure,” offering an “inhabitable circulation” and negating any dissociation of architecture from urbanism. Often present in experimental architecture in the 1960s, the bridge theme was favored by experimental architects as a way of freeing up space on the ground, thereby leaving it to nature or for use as circulation, as Yona Friedman did with the Spatial City (1958-60) or like Paul Maymont’s Hanging Bridges.

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