"I formed the Architecture Principe group in 1963, along with the architect Claude Parent, the painter Michel Carrade and the sculptor Morice Lipsi. Such multidisciplinary groups were in vogue at the beginning of the 1960s, and Claude Parent himself collaborated in several, including the Espace group founded by André Bloc. […], the most important work of the group is to be found elsewhere, in the development of the theory known as THE FUNCTION OF THE OBLIQUE… To elaborate the theory, it was absolutely essential to have a publication, a 'manifesto' - hence Architecture principe, nine issues in total, edited jointly by me and Claude Parent, from 1966 on. That was thirty years ago."
Selected Subject Headings
- Architects’ writings
- Architecture and cities
- Bunkers (fortification)
- Church architecture - France
- Groupe architecture principe
- Manhattan (N.Y.)
- Technology and civilization
- Oblique projection
- Power (social sciences)
- Residential mobility
- Sustainable development
- Visionary architecture - designs and plans
Interested in bunker architecture and Virilio’s concepts of Dromology, InfoWar & The Information Bomb, ccindex encountered Architecture principe’s work in Paris’ Musée national d’architecture française. Upon learning about the manifesto which accompanied their oblique crusade, it was decided to index the short lived periodical in order to account for what appeared a forgotten (architectural) ferment for the then upcoming events of May 1968, Paris. Virilio claims to have come up with the famous 1968’s motto “Power to the imagination,” otherwise attributed to the Situationist. Shaped by the brutal British bombings of Nantes and subsequent death and destruction, Virilio's knowledge and imagination has given us piercing dissections of the current superstructure of our lives: Pure War. Churches and shopping malls as bunkers are Architecture principe’s attempts at meshing civil life with the aforementioned structure. Before Speed took over.
Another account: "In 1963 Claude Parent and Paul Virilio formed the Architecture Principe group with the aim of investigating a new kind of architectural and urban order. Rejecting the two fundamental directions of Euclidean space, they proclaimed 'the end of the vertical as the axis of elevation' and 'the end of the horizontal as the permanent plane': Out With Manhattan, Out With Old Villages. In place of the right angle, they adopted 'the function of the oblique,' which they believed would have the benefit of multiplying usable space. […] But what exactly was 'the function of the oblique'? For the Architecture Principe group, it was a new means of appropriating space, very much inspired by a Gestalt psychology of form, which promoted continuous, fluid movement and forced the body to adapt to instability: 'While the enclosed and the cryptic lie at the origins of this new era of architecture … we must also recognize within the sense of disequilibrium, of vertigo, the second archetype of this art of space.' Parent and Virilio's experimental and provocative research, which was not without its obscure points, found concrete form in the church of Sainte-Bernadette du Banlay at Nerves (1964-6)."
To peruse the indexed contents of Architecture principe, please log into the database.
Paul Virilio. “Architecture principe.” In: The function of the oblique: the architecture of Claude Parent and Paul Virilio, 1963-1969. London: AA Publications, 1996: 11, 13.
Paul Virilio, Sylvère Lotringer. Pure war: twenty five years after. Los Angeles: Semiotexte, 2008.
Jacques Lucan. "Introduction." In: The function of the oblique: the architecture of Claude Parent and Paul Virilio, 1963-1969. London: AA Publications, 1996: 5.