Brutalist Architecture

Brutalist architecture


Brutalist architecture is a movement in architecture that flourished from the 1950s to the mid-1970s, descended from the modernist architectural movement of the early 20th century. Brutalism became popular with governmental and institutional clients, with numerous examples in Britain, France, Germany, Japan, the United States, Canada, Brazil, the Philippines, and Australia. Examples are typically massive in character (even when not large), fortress-like, with a predominance of exposed concrete construction, or in the case of the "brick brutalists" ruggedly detailed brickwork and concrete together. There is often an emphasis on graphically expressing in the external elevations and in the whole-site plan the main functions and people-flows of the buildings. Brutalism became popular for educational buildings (especially university buildings), but was relatively rare for corporate projects. Brutalism became favoured for many government projects, high-rise housing, and shopping centres to create an architectural image that communicated strength, functionality, and frank expression of materiality.
In its ruggedness and lack of concern to look comfortable or easy, Brutalism can be seen as a reaction by a younger generation to the lightness, optimism, and frivolity of some 1930s and 1940s architecture. In one critical appraisal (by Reyner Banham) Brutalism was posited not as a style at all but as the expression of an atmosphere among architects of moral seriousness. "Brutalism" as an architectural critical term was not always consistently used by critics; architects themselves usually avoided using it altogether. More recently, "brutalism" has become used in popular discourse to refer to buildings of the late twentieth century that are large or unpopular – as a synonym for "brutal" – making its effective use in architectural historical discourse problematic.
The term "brutalism" is not derived from the word "brutal", but originates from the French béton brut, or "raw concrete", a term used by Le Corbusier to describe his choice of material. British architectural critic Reyner Banham adapted the term into "brutalism" (originally "New Brutalism") to identify the emerging style. Read more here.







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