Standing like a concrete mountain amid a wood, the jagged concrete volume of the Neviges Mariendom [“Cathedral of Saint Mary of Neviges”] towers over its surroundings. Built on a popular pilgrimage site in western Germany, the Mariendom is only the latest iteration of a monastery that has drawn countless visitors and pilgrims from across the world for centuries. Unlike its medieval and Baroque predecessors, however, the unabashedly Modernist Mariendom reflects a significant shift in the outlook of its creators: a new way of thinking for both the people of post-war Germany and the wider Catholic Church.
Demolition has officially commenced on East London housing development Robin Hood Gardens, bringing to an end any chance of a last-minute preservation effort for the Brutalist icon. Designed by British architects Alison and Peter Smithson and completed in 1972, plans for the site’s clearing and redevelopment have been in the works for more than five years, before government indecision and a spirited protest campaign led by architects including Richard Rogers, Zaha Hadid, Robert Venturi, and Toyo Ito put those plans in doubt.
In their ninth architectural city guide, London-based publisher Blue Crow Media highlights the city of Boston’s Brutalist buildings. The map was produced in collaboration with the principles of the firm over,under Chris Grimley and Mark Pasnik along with Michael Kubo, who together authored the book “Heroic: Concrete Architecture and the New Boston.” The map highlights more than forty examples of Brutalist architecture around the greater-Boston area.
In a major victory for preservationists, one of Sydney’s few examples of brutalist architecture, the Sirius Apartment Building, has been saved from the wrecking ball after court ruled against the government’s attempt to deny it a place on the State Heritage Register.
The Swan Housing Association has announced the appointment of Danish firm C.F. Møller to join Haworth Tompkins and Metropolitan Workshop in designing housing projects for the Blackwall Reach regeneration plan, a £300 million redevelopment effort which will replace Alison and Peter Smithson’s Brutalist east London estate, Robin Hood Gardens.
As leaders of Phase 3 of the plan, C.F. Møller will design housing for the eastern portion of the site. A total of 330 one- to five-bedroom residential units, half of which have been designated as affordable, will be located within a courtyard block complex at the edge of an existing garden mound – one of the few elements of the original estate that will be retained. The garden is planned to be replanted and renamed the “Millennium Green.”
Sydney is the latest city spotlighted by city map publisher Blue Crow Media, with the release of their fourth map of Brutalist architecture. Produced in collaboration with Glenn Harper, Senior Associate at PTW Architects and founder of @Brutalist_Project_Sydney, Brutalist Sydney Map showcases over 50 examples of the architectural style across the New South Wales (NSW) city and suburbs.
“This map not only guides the reader to discover many of Sydney’s oldest and historically important Brutalist buildings, it enables a unique encounter of Sydney and its varied urban and harbor side landscapes,” expressed Harper.
Winner of the 1942 Acadamy Award for Best Special Effects, William Pereira (April 25, 1909 – November 13, 1985) also designed some of America's most iconic examples of futurist architecture, with his heavy stripped down functionalism becoming the symbol of many US institutions and cities. Working with his more prolific film-maker brother Hal Pereira, William Pereira's talent as an art director translated into a long and prestigious career creating striking and idiosyncratic buildings across the West Coast of America.
During his frequent travels to Seoul, Hong Kong- and Singapore-based photographer Raphael Olivier noticed a new trend taking the South Korean capital: a crop of geometric, concrete buildings of all genres. He calls the new style Neo-Brutalism, after the modernist movement that proliferated in the late 1950s to 1970s, in which raw concrete was meant to express a truth and honesty. Olivier's observation led him to capture the phenomenon in a personal photo series—a photographic treasure trove of these projects which, when taken as a whole, uncovers a cross-section of this trend in the city's architecture.
The Barbican Centre in London is celebrating its 35th anniversary. Widely regarded as the pinnacle of the Brutalist movement, the mixed-use development is home to 4,000 residents, the Guildhall School of Music & Drama, and the London Symphony Orchestra. Located in the heart of London, the Barbican is just one example of how Brutalist architecture forms a central part of our cities. To celebrate this progressive, modernizing, sometimes controversial style, GoCompare has created an online gallery illustrating Brutalist icons from across the world.
In this second installment of his revamped “Beyond London” column for ArchDaily, Simon Henley of London-based practice Henley Halebrown discusses a potential influence that might help UK architects combat the economic hegemony currently afflicting the country – turning for moral guidance to the Brutalists of the 1960s.
Before Christmas, I finished writing my book entitled Redefining Brutalism. As the title suggests I am seeking to redefine the subject, to detoxify the term and to find relevance in the work, not just a cause for nostalgia. Concrete Brutalism is, to most people, a style that you either love or hate. But Brutalism is far more than just a style; it is way of thinking and making. The historian and critic Reyner Banham argued in his 1955 essay and 1966 book both entitled The New Brutalism: Ethic or Aesthetic that the New Brutalism began as an ethical movement only to be hijacked by style. Today, it is a mirror to be held up to the architecture of Neoliberalism, to an architecture that serves capitalism. More than ever, architecture relies on the brand association of the big name architects whose work has little to do with the challenges faced by society, which are today not unlike the ones faced by the post-war generation: to build homes, places in which to learn and work, places for those who are old and infirm, and places to gather. We can learn a lot from this bygone generation.
Russian designer Sergey Lisovsky has created an online illustrative magazine inspired by Brutalist Architecture. Pattern Brutalist’s first issue was published in January 2017, illustrating four Brutalist buildings across Russia, Germany, and Serbia. The buildings, dating between 1968 and 1980, are represented by Lisovsky using a collection of GIFs, photographs, and illustrations.
Pattern Brutalist also hosts a T-shirt printing service, allowing users to publically express their appreciation for an often-criticized architectural style.
Adding to its regular releases of city guide maps, London-based publisher Blue Crow Media has now produced the Brutalist Paris Map, in collaboration with Nigel Green and Robin Wilson of Photolanguage. Having previously covered Washington D.C.’s most prominent Brutalist buildings, the latest map highlights over 40 Parisian examples of Brutalist architecture.
From its hilltop vantage point in the east end of Sheffield, UK, the Park Hill Estate surveys the post-industrial city which sprawls westwards. Its prominent location makes the estate highly visible and it has, over time, become engrained in the popular consciousness – a part of the fabric of the city. Although today it divides opinion, following its completion in 1961 it was hailed as an exemplary model for social housing. Designed by architects Jack Lynn and Ivor Smith under the supervision of Sheffield’s visionary City Architect John Lewis Womersley, the estate now stands as testament to an era when young British architects were revolutionizing the field of residential architecture with radical housing programs.
The Park Hill Estate was part of Womersley’s strategy to introduce more high-density housing to Sheffield, which he believed would foster a stronger sense of community than the ubiquitous back-to-back terraces. This policy went hand in hand with an urgent need for slum clearance; The Park, a slum so notorious for its high crime rate that it was known locally as ‘Little Chicago,’ was demolished to make way for the estate.
The career of Gottfried Böhm (born January 23, 1920) spans from simple to complex and from sacred to secular, but has always maintained a commitment to understanding its surroundings. In 1986, Böhm was awarded the eighth Pritzker Prize for what the jury described as his "uncanny and exhilarating marriage" of architectural elements from past and present. Böhm's unique use of materials, as well as his rejection of historical emulation, have made him an influential force in Germany and abroad.
Campaigners in the UK have launched a petition to save Durham University's Student Union Building, also known as Dunelm House, after the university announced its intention to demolish and replace the brutalist structure earlier this month. Designed in 1966 by Ove Arup and the Architects' Co-Partnership, the building is perhaps the most important 20th-century edifice in a city that is better-known for its UNESCO World Heritage-listed cathedral and castle.
In 2017, British news magazine The Economist will move to a new home, leaving behind its iconic home of 52 years, Economist Plaza.
The project represents the first major commission by British duo Alison and Peter Smithson, who would go on to have esteemed careers as champions of the Brutalist style. Located at 22 Ryder Street, not far from Hyde Park and Buckingham Palace, Economist Plaza marked a significant breakthrough in tall building design, replacing the traditional streetfront of a podium and tower design with stairs and a ramp leading to an elevated plaza from which 3 buildings would rise.
Watch the video above to learn the story behind the project, and read more about the legacy the Economist will leave behind, here.
UK transport minister John Hayes has declared war on Brutalist architecture, The Independent reports. Citing public distaste for the functional, modern designs characterized by exposed concrete and brick masonry, Hayes warned against a revival of the style, referring to it as "aesthetically worthless, simply because it is ugly." Meanwhile, Hayes named Boris Johnson's New Routemaster and the redeveloped St. Pancras, Blackfriars, and King's Cross stations as specimens of exemplary design. At the heart of this ire is a push to rebuild a Doric arch outside Euston station, which was demolished in 1962.
The winning proposal has just been announced for an extension to the Bunkier Sztuki ("Bunker of Arts") contemporary art gallery in Cracow, Poland. Out of 33 entries in the international competition, the underground design by Robert Konieczny - KWK Promes has been selected to be executed in the heart of Cracow's Old Town.