Brutalism architecture is a new different style showed between fifties and seventies of the past century, it’s defined by materials and structures made of concrete that are heavy to the eye, even today, they are still heavy although there are skyscrapers next to them. An average brutalist building is memorable graphic architecture that stands out in a crowd, forever altering city skylines and hovering over constructed landscapes around the world.
The term brutalism is invented by Swedish architect Hans Asplund and popularized by British architecture critic Reyner Banham in 1955, this architecture is not a reference to the brutal nature of its appearance, but is a play of word around the French expression for brut concrete. Emerging from the modernist movement of the late 19th century to the mid-20th century, Brutalist architecture originated in the 1950s. The iconic Radieuse city designed by the modernist architect Le Corbusier in Marseille is a working-class accommodation of post-war period for 1,600 people that is part of its social housing units and a building that inspired the brutalist movement. It had a massive unadorned reinforced concrete frame filled with modular apartment units that was a model for post-war societies seeking to renew the housing units for the people.
Brutalism has spread across Europe, the Soviet Union, and the United States (and around the world in countries like Japan, and Brazil). Brutalist architecture has become a popular but still controversial choice for institutional buildings such as New York’s One Police Plaza (1973) and Boston City Hall.
Brutalism began to fade away in the 1980s, when it became increasingly seen as cold, alienating and unfit for man. Concrete turned out to be indestructible but deteriorated from the inside out, making it difficult to maintain. Brutalist buildings were neglected and covered in graffiti, symbolizing urban decadence. The adoption of Brutalist architecture in the Soviet Union meant that the style also began to suffer from its association.
In the years that followed, the world became divided between those who thought Brutalist buildings were horrors to be demolished and those who found these architectural masterpieces of old but not yet historic buildings to be preserved. Due to their poured concrete construction, Brutalist buildings are difficult to renovate, although a successful example is the Center National of dance of Paris, which opened after the reconversion of the original building in Paris. They are also difficult to demolish, which only further complicates the public debate on whether or not to save these immense relics.
While architecture has shifted to postmodernism of the 1980s and 1990s and contemporary styles today, everything is coming back into fashion one way or another, and thanks to a recent wave of books and the rediscovery of brutalism by a new generation on the internet, brutalism shows its influence in contemporary products and interior design, furniture and objects.
There is so many characteristics in brutalism architecture that represent this style of design including :
- Simple lines and graphics.
- Utility feel.
- Lack of ornamentation.
- Heavy appearance.
- Use of exposed raw concrete and brick in the exterior of the building.
- Monochromatic palette.
- Rough surfaces.
- Small windows.
- Modular elements.
- Using modern materials just like stone, glass and steel.
London’s Trellick Tower, designed by architect Erno Goldfinger, it’s a building of 31 levels, brutalist housing unit completed in 1972 that now has historic status. Goldfinger was one of the Modernist architects called to rebuild and renew London homes after the ravages of World War II, but not everyone is a fan of his work. James Bond author Ian Flemming hated the Goldfinger aesthetic so much that he named his nemesis with his name.