Unique Brutalism - Celebrating 35 Years of the Barbican

Unique Brutalism - Celebrating 35 Years of the Barbican

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.

Unique Brutalism - Celebrating 35 Years of the Barbican - More Images+ 4

The Balfron Tower, London. Image Courtesy of GoCompare

Designed by Erno Goldfinger in 1963, London’s Balfron Tower represents another defining Brutalist landmark in the capital. For two months in 1968, Goldfinger took up residence in the newly-completed 26-storey tower, using his neighbors’ feedback in the design of his Trellik Tower in West London. Once under threat of demolition, the building was rescued by a Grade II listing in 1996.

Unite D'Habitation, Marseille, France. Image Courtesy of GoCompare

The Unité D’Habitation in Marseilles, France was designed by Le Corbusier, and built in 1952. The béton brut (raw concrete) used in the building’s construction ultimately gave rise to the term Brutalism, cementing Unité D’Habitation as an iconic example of the movement.

Torres Blancas, Madrid, Spain. Image Courtesy of GoCompare

The Torres Blancas (White Towers) are located in Madrid, Spain, designed by architect Francisco Javier Saenz de Oiza in 1964. Consisting of a single 71-metre tower with surrounding cylindrical components, the architect’s vision was for a tower which appeared to grow organically like a tree. Although dubbed the White Towers during the design stage, white concrete proved too expensive during construction, resulting in the tower’s pure grey tone.

Torre Velasca, Milan, Italy. Image Courtesy of GoCompare

Milan’s Torre Velasca skyscraper was designed by BBPR and built in 1958. The mixed-use scheme contains shops and offices on the lower 18 floors, with the upper seven comprising of residential apartments. The widened residential component gives the scheme a ‘mushroom’ shape, with slanted supporting beams resulting in the descriptive nickname “skyscraper with suspenders”.

Habitat 67, Montreal, Canada. Image Courtesy of GoCompare

Habitat 67, located in Montreal, Canada, was originally built as a pavilion for Expo 67. The brutalist building contains 364 identical concrete units reaching up to 12 storeys. At Expo 67, the scheme enjoyed an audience of 50 million people, and is now a major tourist attraction and icon of Canadian architecture.

Kurpaty Health Resort, Yalta, Ukraine. Image Courtesy of GoCompare

The Kurpaty Health Resort in Yalta, Ukraine was built in 1984. The six-storey building offers panoramic views across the Crimean Peninsula from its ground floor swimming pool and upper floor retreat rooms. Despite waning popularity, the resort is still in operation today, complete with original Soviet interiors.

De Rotterdam, Netherlands. Image Courtesy of GoCompare

Designed by Rem Koolhaas in 1998, and officially completed in 2013, De Rotterdam is the largest building in the Netherlands. The mixed-use scheme consists of three interconnecting 150-metre-high towers, designed to separate and merge depending on one’s viewpoint. Despite its recent construction, the unique design and mixed-use characteristics of this ‘vertical city’ undoubtedly pay homage to the Brutalist movement.

Le Grand Hotel du Lac, Tunis, Tunisia. Image Courtesy of GoCompare

Designed by Italian architect Raffaele Contigiani in 1973, the Hotel du Lac became a symbol of Tunisia’s modern, progressive outlook. Earmarked for demolition in 2013, the inverted pyramid form of the Hotel du Lac remains standing as an abandoned monument to Brutalism.

You can view the full gallery of international Brutalist icons here.

News via: GoCompare.

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Cite: Niall Patrick Walsh. "Unique Brutalism - Celebrating 35 Years of the Barbican" 19 Mar 2017. ArchDaily. Accessed . <https://www.archdaily.com/867243/unique-brutalism-celebrating-35-years-of-the-barbican> ISSN 0719-8884

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