Brutalist structures, also known as menacing raw concrete towers, considered the ugliest buildings, have again become so enviable and intensely effective. But how?
To know how, let's first learn what brutalist architecture is.
Brutalism is a style that emphasizes materials, textures and structure, producing highly expressive forms.
Appearing in Le Corbusier's work with Unité d'Habitation in Marseille in the late 1940s, the term was first used in 1953 by Alison Smithson for an unexecuted project for a house on Colville Place in Soho, England as the first representative of the "new wildness" of bare concrete, brick and wood. However, what established the movement was architectural historian Reyner Banham's 1955 review of Alison and Peter Smithson's school in Hunstanton, Norfolk, for its uncompromising approach to displaying steel and brick structures and services.
Characteristics of Brutalist Architecture
- Rough surfaces
- Massive forms
- Unusual shapes
- Expression of structures
Revival of Brutalism in Architecture
In the world of architecture, it's all about a reappreciation of the wild. The revival was relatively rapid—the reign swaying from condemnation and destruction to paganism and veneration for several decades.
Contrary to what you might imagine, brutality doesn't get its name from its aggressively confrontational toughness or lack of apologetic anxiety for comfort. It is not so named because of its brutality or ferocious savagery. The term is simply taken from béton brut, which is French for "raw concrete".
The Brutalist movement was popular from the 1950s to the mid-70s and was often commissioned institutionally – most brutalist structures are schools, churches, public housing and government buildings. In the 1980s, as architectural trends turned to purely poignant and old-world revival, the brutalist look was too harsh and abstract, and the style quickly fell out of favor.
However, if you fast-forward a few decades, it returns as a desirable stylistic pose—or perhaps a tangible sanctuary we can all take refuge in.
Brutalism is the techno music of architecture, plain and menacing. Brutalist buildings are expensive to maintain and difficult to demolish. They cannot be easily reshaped or altered, so they tend to stay the way the architect intended. Perhaps the movement has returned to a roaring style because permanence is particularly appealing in our chaotic and fragmenting world.
Like the original noble intentions of left-leaning mid-century-modern structures that were designed for the Everyman but now often serve as symbols of luxury status, brutalist architecture – particularly the few homes where people can actually live, and converted commercial buildings. - attacked by the aesthetic-oriented elite. And just as any style is at the zenith of populist rediscovery, it is also on the verge of being erased by those who have not yet grasped its value.
Unsurprisingly, there are heated debates about what designers and architects describe as exactly savages. The category is broad and ill-defined.
It was a bold and exciting architectural move, and there are very few places on the map that don't have a brutalist example or two. Let's protect and help protect the treasures from those determined to wreck them all, starting with the symbols here.
1- The Bank of London and South America
2- Barbican Centre and Estate
3- Spomenik Memorials
4- Geisel Library
5- The Cathedral of Saint Mary of the Assumption
In case you think of redesigning and renovating your home, give us a call or come to visit us at our offices to redefine your interior design and architecture project.
We are the top-notch interior design company in UAE, don’t hesitate to contact us.