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.
City Guide publisher Blue Crow Media and Deane Madsen, Associate Editor of Design at Architect Magazine, have collaborated to produce the Brutalist Washington Map, which features 40 examples of Brutalist architecture in Washington, D.C. This is Blue Crowe's fourth architectural guide map, following their Brutalist London Map, Art Deco London Map, and Constructivist Moscow Map. One can only expect further releases on the horizon.
This exclusive photo essay by Laurian Ghinitoiu was originally commissioned for the fifth issue of LOBBY. Available later this month, the latest issue of the London-based magazine—published in cooperation with the Bartlett School of Architecture—examines the theme of Faith as "a fervent drive, a dangerous doctrine, a beautifully fragile yet enduring construct, an unapologetic excuse, a desperate call for attention and a timely consideration on architectural responsibility."
In 1986 the Pritzker Architecture Prize announced their first German laureate. In a speech at the ceremony in London’s Goldsmiths’ Hall, the Duke of Gloucester suggested that the prize “may not guarantee immorality,” inferring, perhaps, that not even the most prestigious award in architecture could compete with an œuvre so compact, focussed and enduring as that of Gottfried Böhm – a “son, grandson, husband, and father of architects.”
We are all familiar with the "utopian" towns of the 20th Century. Basildon, Essex, was one of the largest of those New Towns. It was founded in 1949, when Lewis Silkin, the Minister of town and country planning at the time, ambitiously predicted that "Basildon will become a city which people from all over the world will want to visit. It will be a place where all classes of community can meet freely together on equal terms and enjoy common cultural recreational facilities." Nearly seventy years later, Basildon is left with a struggling local economy, splintered communities, and a fraction of the art and culture than what was originally hoped for. "New Town Utopia" is a documentary film that confronts this concrete reality with a question: “What happened when we built Utopia?”
North Korea is one of the few countries still under communist rule, and probably the most isolated and unknown worldwide. This is a result of the philosophy of Juche – a political system based on national self-reliance which was partly influenced by principles of Marxism and Leninism.
In recent years though, the country has loosened its restrictions on tourism, allowing access to a limited number of visitors. With his personal photo series “North Korea – Vintage Socialist Architecture,” French photographer Raphael Olivier reports on Pyongyang’s largely unseen architectural heritage. ArchDaily interviewed Olivier about the project, the architecture he captured, and what he understood of North Korea’s architecture and way of life.
As soon as photographer Harlan Erskine discovered the plans to demolish Paul Rudolph's iconic Orange County Government Center in New York, he knew he needed to bear witness to its demise. Beyond admiring the building's dynamic form, the photographer recognized its continued impact on architecture today, particularly noting its influence on Herzog and de Meuron's "Jenga tower."
Visiting on four separate occasions throughout 2015 and 2016, Erskine captured the dismantling of this iconic Brutalist work with stunning severity. See the building's final seasons below.
In the past few weeks, the fates of two classic Brutalist buildings by architect Marcel Breuer were determined – with differing results. For the Atlanta Central Library, it was good news, as the Fulton County Board of Commissioners voted unanimously to support the renovation of the building, saving it from the wrecking ball. Meanwhile, the American Press Institute in Reston, Virginia, was not so lucky, as Fairfax County’s board of supervisors voted to tear down the building to make room for a new a townhouse development project.
On the 29th December, 1940, at the height of the Second World War, an air raid by the Luftwaffe razed a 35-acre site in the heart of the City of London to the ground. The site was known as the Barbican (a Middle English word meaning fortification), so-called for the Roman wall which once stood in the area. Following the war, the City of London Corporation—the municipal governing body for the area—started to explore possibilities to bring this historic site into the twentieth century.
For architects, if I may generalize an entire professional community, there are few novelists as cultishly beloved as J.G. Ballard. Borges or Calvino have their fair share of admirers, but to borrow an adjective more frequently applied to buildings, Ballard is the most iconic of literary figures—especially for readers of a concrete-expansion-joint persuasion. Witnessing war as a child, training in medicine, and thereafter writing from a rather bloodless middle-class patch of suburbia, Ballard spun tales of urban life that continue to be uncomfortably visceral.
Following “Brutal London,” Zupagrafika has released another collection of illustrated paper cut-out models, “Paris Brut," which portrays the Brutalist architecture of Paris from the late-’50s through the 1970s. The set features buildings from the city’s arrondissements and banlieues, the latter of which became a central locality for Habitation à Loyer Modéré, a type of public-private, rent-controlled housing in France.
Paris Brut is made up of six illustrated models to assemble: Orgues de Flandre, Les Choux de Créteil, Cité Curial-Michelet, Cité des 4000, Centre National de la Danse and Plan Voisin interpretation. The whole set is eco-friendly (printed on recycled paper and cardboard), and includes a short technical note on each building’s architect, year of construction, and exact location.
Gillespie, Kidd & Coia's celebrated St Peter's Seminary—once voted Scotland's best modern building—has for too long been a victim of fate, left to decay after it was abandoned just 20 years after its completion. Fortunately, plans are well underway to restore the building. This article, originally published by Metropolis Magazine as "Ruin Revived," explains how even in its ruined state, the dramatic brutalist structure is already showing its value as a cultural destination.
Modernist architecture, it used to be said, was inadequate because the machined materials of modern buildings wouldn’t lend themselves well to picturesque ruination. What, minus the taut skins of glass and plaster, could these stark, boxlike carcasses possibly communicate to future generations?
St. Peter’s Seminary in Cardross, Scotland, is a forceful rejoinder to that jibe. Built in 1966 and abandoned 20 years later, the seminary has settled into a state of pleasing decrepitude. Glass and plaster are long gone. The concrete remains largely intact but stained, spalled, and spoiled. Entire roofs and staircases have caved in. The only fresh signs of life are the aprons of graffiti draped all over the “interiors.” Yet, the sense of the place lingers, its noble forms still remarkably assertive—jutting forth from the dense surrounding forest—and optimistic.
Author of "ConcreteConcept: Brutalist Buildings Around the World" Christopher Beanland will take us on a journey through some of the most iconic as well as some of the unknown treasures of Brutalist architecture around the world. Why were they built, what do they mean and how are they seen today? Are some of the things we'll get to find out about some of the Brutalist Beasts featured inside Beanland's new book.
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.
Like many Brutalist buildings in America, the Central Library in Atlanta by Marcel Breuer is facing demolition, reports The Architect's Newspaper. Completed in 1980 with a 300-seat theater, restaurant and 1 million books, the building exemplifies Breuer’s sensibilities, with its bush-hammered concrete panels and Bauhaus-inspired forms. However, over the years the building has fallen into disrepair, with its theater closing in the mid-1990s, and the restaurant closing a few years later. In 2002, the city spent $5 million on restoration. Even so, in 2008, voters approved a $275 million bond referendum, which included a proposal to replace the library by Breuer with another. Despite protests from preservationists, the building’s future is uncertain, with voters clearly calling for a new library building.
This episode of Section D, Monocle 24's weekly review of design, architecture and craft, examines the changing use and role of "one of the most simultaneously decried and admired materials in twentieth century architecture:" concrete. Exploring the "unlikely revival of a polarising product" in the cultural perception of many, this cheap, abundant and energy-hungry resource is studied as one of the most prolific and diverse building materials in history.
Studio Esinam, in collaboration with London-based photographer Rory Gardiner, has released Utopia, a photo series that captures and pays tribute to London’s Brutalist architecture. The series aims to “highlight the subtle beauties hidden beneath the hard surface of some of London’s brutalist buildings.”
Photographed during the early spring of 2016, the project captures some of the city’s best examples of Brutalism: the Barbican Estate, Royal National Theatre, Hayward Gallery, Trellick Tower, and the Robin Hood Gardens.
At last year’s inaugural Chicago Architecture Biennial, one of the celebrated exhibits was Architecture is Everywhere by Sou Fujimoto Architects, in which the firm used everyday items like staples, boxes, potato chips, rocks, and ping pong balls, coupled with scaled human figures to posit new architectural forms. Operating with the philosophy that “architecture is first found and then made,” the project expresses the firm’s belief that we need not look to typical sources for bold thinking on the formal possibilities of architecture.
Building on this philosophy and using only the white-brick Legos from the company’s Studio Architecture kit, Berlin-based artist Arndt Schlaudraff has created a series of constructions that emulate real-world precedents, but lack their materiality and color. The results are sterilized, scaleless forms restricted by the orthogonality of the interlocking brick forms. These stripped Brutalist and Modernist buildings morph into white-washed facsimiles which allow us to see many recognizable projects with a set of fresh eyes. Posting the completed projects on Instagram, Schlaudraff has reimagined icons like the Tate Modern, Alejandro Aravena’s Innovation Center UC, and the Barcelona Pavilion of Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, interspersing them with his own creations and adding another layer of reality distortion to that which is already enabled by the Legos.