In France, perhaps more than elsewhere, it is preferable to be a rebel in order to attain the status of a great architect. Established French cultural institutions regularly celebrate the cult of the independent spirit, as demonstrated by architects working as agitators and engaged activists who are reluctant to accept the ruling order. In the middle of the last century, Le Corbusier epitomized this, and today many contemporary French architects continue to identify with this posture. Now, at a time when the "revolutionary" has often given way to the "starchitect," the draft dodgers of the 1960s and 1970s are entering, one after the other, the pantheon of French national architecture. It is within this context that the Cité de l'Architecture et du Patrimoine has recently presented a vast and comprehensive retrospective of the work of architect Claude Parent (Figure 1...

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