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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 "Brutalist Revival" has been well documented over the past several years, but the phrase usually refers to a positive shift in our perception of the style, rather than a return to the actual construction of Brutalist buildings. A central part of this movement is the presence of Brutalist buildings on internet sites like Instagram and Tumblr, where dedicated accounts with tens of thousands of followers post photos of both real 20th-century projects and entirely imagined designs. These photos can border on the sensationalist: they often cut off the edges of buildings in a way that makes them lose their scale, or view the buildings from angles that appear looming. Olivier's series departs from this visual vocabulary—in nearly every photo, the entire building is framed in the shot, often with surrounding buildings, cars, and passersby to establish the subject as a living part of an urban fabric. View more View full description
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