We enter Maison Bordeaux-Le Pecq, Claude Parent’s famous house that represents a landmark in avant-garde architecture
Claude Barnett, one of the fathers of oblique architecture, began to eliminate straight lines in this project
A temple in the middle of Normandy? The truth is that if we look from afar, These three large concrete structures It is more reminiscent of Asia than the northwestern region of France. But in fact, It marks the beginning of the innovative turn, undertaken by Claude Barnett in 1963 after his meeting with the philosopher and urban planner Paul Virilio.. Although this construction was not yet the pioneer of his famous oblique architecture, it allowed him to begin to reject straight lines.
A project full of controversies
The painter André Bordeaux-Le Bec commissioned it after meeting him through the sculptor and editor André Blok. A parent imagines three main fluid circulation volumes – a workshop, a reception area, and a bedroom area – each defined by a vault at the top and stunning views on the sides. Today, the current owner, Michael Post, has an uninterrupted view of the garden as the light changes, but it wasn’t always that way: “The owner and her husband weren’t very enthusiastic, and they added details and finishes that weren’t with the project,” he says. “She criticized the large windows that made her feel like a monkey in a zoo.” The disputes were so severe that Barnett never set foot in the house again, and it was rarely used in the following years. It is not surprising that writer Michel Ragon included it in his 1982 book A critical study of the architect: Claude Barnett (Dunwood Publishing House) A few lines about this conflict: “Building a house is like living out a psychodrama: exciting, sometimes painful, but always wonderful,” Barnett says.. He invites you to immerse yourself in architectural adventure, to question boundaries to the point of rupture. Perhaps that was why, in his view, clients for single-family homes were exceptionally rare and courageous.
The beginning of something new
Maison Bordeaux-Le Pecq is a work of art in itself, designed to blend seamlessly into the landscape and surprise with its sculptural quality. From the highest piece of land in the middle of nature, it dominates the surrounding forest without imposing its presence, according to the theories of inclined architecture proposed at the time by Barnett and Virilio. The interior plan seeks to deconstruct spaces, while at the same time glorifying their fractures to achieve great dynamism. The exterior concrete is also the protagonist of the rooms, following the diagonal and fluctuating lines that fascinated the Frenchman and covering the platform on which the studio is located. The parent played with the tension between paradoxes, in a constant balance between theory and practice. This also helped him clarify his position, as Beatrice Simoneau summarizes in her book Qatari fool. Claude Parent, architect (Publishing the works of the South): “With the oblique, Claude Barnett aims to put people in an awkward situation. He replaces the geometry of comfort with the geometry of impact and effort.” It goes without saying that Maison Bordeaux-Le Pecq is all about adaptation, something that Michael Post, its current owner, quickly realized after he moved in. Little by little, he enhanced the distinctive characteristics of this beautiful structure until, one day, against all odds, he turned it into his principal residence.