Approximately 1,500 bunkers were built during World War II along the
French shores to forestall an Allied landing—“the Atlantic Wall.”
Decommissioned after the Allied invasion of Normandy, this elaborate
defense system now lies abandoned. At the age of 25, Paul Virilio
stumbled upon these relics with his camera and began a study that would
continue for 30 years. His 1975 book,
Bunker Archeology, has recently been translated into English and reprinted by Princeton Architectural Press:
an inquiry of war and its structures and a personal memoir of
exploration, merging technical analysis with philosophical questioning.

Paul Virilio is a renowned urbanist, political theorist, and art
critic. The following essay is excerpted from his preface for the book.
All images © copyright the author, courtesy of Princeton Architectural
Press, all rights reserved.

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