Writer and avid cyclist Max Leonard made a rare discovery as he rode his bike around the remote French Alpes-Maritimes; startled, he stumbled upon to a number of discrete buildings fully hidden within the mountainous landscape, far from the civilized world. Driven by a rabid curiosity – what were these military bunkers and why were they here? – Leonard partnered with photographer Camille McMillan to document his finding as best he could.
Over the course of 8 months, the two hunted the nearby countryside for any and all shelter they could find, which would eventually result in their printed study: “Bunker Research.” One hundred photos, maps, and diagrams fill the pages of this bound beauty by Isola Press; inside, the construction method and rationale for these unusual structures is explained. Concrete walls were built and strategically placed throughout the French Alps during WWII to shield occupants from even the most powerful bomb blast, a function which is clearly reflected in the brutalist aesthetic. Despite the imposition of man which brought them to life, the bunkers have succumbed to the forces of nature over the course of mere decades, gradually becoming one with the organic world surrounding. Both the architecture itself as well as Leonard and McMillan’s exhaustive documentation qualify as works of art, conscious design thinking, and the result of purposeful creation. Buy here.