To strip a city of its architecture is to erase its history altogether. Despite a widespread public distaste for Brutalism, the brutalist era in architecture often went hand in hand with political movements promising an egalitarian vision in post-Stalinist Poland. What may now be considered austere and overbearing was originally intended to be anything but; the buildings today carry both an appreciation for their legacy and the burden of unwanted memories.
In a recent article in the New York Times, writer Akash Kapur documents his visit to Poland, bringing readers into his experiences and observations of this complex response to Polish architecture. From sharing its history to short anecdotes from interviews, the piece postulates whether these relics can become alive again.
This article was originally published on September 28, 2013. To read the stories behind other celebrated architecture projects, visit our AD Classics section.
Hospital buildings, with their high standards of hygiene and efficiency, are a restrictive brief for architects, who all too often end up designing uninspiring corridors of patient rooms constructed from a limited palette of materials. However, this was not the case in Bertrand Goldberg's 1975 Prentice Women's Hospital. The hospital is the best example of a series of Goldberg-designed medical facilities, which all adhere to a similar form: a tower containing rooms for patient care, placed atop a rectilinear plinth containing the hospital's other functions.
This is the only book to thoroughly document the world's finest examples of Brutalist architecture. More than 850 buildings - existing and demolished, classic and contemporary - are organized geographically into nine continental regions.
878 Buildings, 798 Architects, 102 Countries, 9 World Regions, 1 Style BRUTALISM. Presented in an oversized format with a specially bound case with three-dimensional finishes, 1000 beautiful duotone photographs throughout bring the graphic strength, emotional power, and compelling architectural presence of Brutalism to life.
From Marcel Breuer to Oscar Neimeyer and David Chipperfield to Zaha Hadid, this volume includes works by both classic and contemporary architects.
The fall of the Iron Curtain in 1991 came not only with political, economic, and social implications but also left behind a distinctive style of architecture. This architecture, under the Soviet regime, was a system which relied on quantifiable targets, such as the Five Year Plan. These quotas forced architects to evaluate building projects in terms of material and labor costs, number of units, volume of skilled and unskilled labor, and so forth. As a result, architecture across these regions became an industrial commodity, an outward flex of power and technological innovation, and a collective of architects executing a Stalinist vision.
The House of Soviets is a Russian brutalist building designed by architect Yulian L. Shvartsbreim. Located in the center of Kaliningrad, the building has been abandoned since mid-construction. However, its inhabitants recognize it as the most important urban landmark in their city. They usually refer to the structure as "the face of the robot," since its strange shape conjures images of a robot buried up to its neck, only showing its face.
Toronto-based photographer Ruta Krau has captured stunning photographs of the Andrews Building, one of Canada’s most noted brutalist buildings, and a celebrated part of Toronto's concrete architecture. Designed by John Andrews, architect of Toronto’s iconic CN Tower, the Andrews Building embodies the Modernist ethos of connecting with the surrounding environment, balanced above a ravine and emerging as a stepped pyramid from a natural ridge.
If you think you’ve seen this handsome fella before, you have; except he was wearing a flashy red hat and an old blue robe, attempting to protect your house from thieves. Luckily, gnomes have gotten quite the modern makeover. Thanks to the collaboration between Plato Design and designer Pellegrino Cucciniello, you can finally get rid of the kitschy little guy, and replace him with NINO, the modern, brutalist gnome.
Appreciated within the industry but often maligned by the general public, brutalism came to define post-war architecture in the UK, as well as many countries around the world. In his 1955 article The New Brutalism, Reyner Banham states it must have “1, Formal legibility of plan; 2, clear exhibition of structure, and 3, valuation of materials for their inherent qualities as found.”
One Kemble Street, a 16-story cylindrical office block originally named "Space House" and designed by George Marsh and Richard Seifert, clearly exhibits all of these characteristics, creating a landmark in the heart of London that remains as striking today as it was upon its completion in 1968. Photographing the Grade-II listed building throughout the day, photographer Ste Murray manages to beautifully capture the building’s essence, celebrating its 50 year anniversary while also highlighting the intrigue of its form in a way that suggests parallels to contrasting ideologies.
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.
Modernity certainly does not have to be characterized by ugliness, but we may well have to make some revisions in our standards of beauty. — Edward J. Logue
pinkcomma gallery is proud to present Brutal Destruction, photographs of concrete architecture at the moment of its demise. The exhibit is curated by Chris Grimley of the architecture office over,under. The exhibit opens 12 April, 2018 from 6–9 p.m., and the will be on display through May 03, 2018.
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.
The Southbank Undercroft, which lies beneath the Queen Elizabeth Hall along the River Thames in London, has been the subjectof muchdebate in recent years following a proposed closure and redevelopment in 2013. Long Live Southbank, an organization born out of this threat of expulsion, gave the diverse community who call the space home a voice. After 17 months of campaigning, they were successful in ensuring the Undercroft was legally protected and fully recognized as an asset of community value. Since then, the group of activists has begun another groundbreaking journey.
In partnership with Southbank Centre, Long Live Southbank recently launched a new crowdfunding campaign to restore the legendary Undercroft. The restoration project will cost £790,000 and is set to open in 2018, improving Londoners’ access to free creative spaces in the heart of the City. These types of space are becoming increasingly rare and the restoration effort reflects a desire to celebrate the authentic cultural sites that make London the vibrant landscape it is.
Not often thought of as a brutalist capitol, the concrete jungle is filled with remarkable buildings by Breuer, Pei, Rudolph, Saarinen, Wright, alongside lesser-known works, mapped out, photographed, and paired with a description of the building. The map is edited by Allison Meier, and adorned with Jason Woods’ photography and is the perfect pocket guide for any architect or brutalism lover.
This article was originally published by KatariMag, a blog that explores the history of contemporary culture in its most sophisticated and fresh expression. Follow their Instagram and read more of their articles here.
Brutalist architecture responds to a specific moment in history. As WWII was coming to an end, a new form of State was rising from the ashes, along with a global order that would include and increase the relevance of peripheral nations. Brutalist architecture was born as a response to the ideas of the robust nations that would lead the masses. Critic Michael Lewis said, "brutalism is the vernacular expression of the welfare state."
Architects and coffee go hand in hand. The aesthetic of the espresso maker has become a mundane part of the morning ritual. The designers at Montaag are changing that with the release of AnZa a show-stopping espresso maker made of concrete. After four years of prototyping and testing, the espresso maker is equipped with high-tech functionality for important things, like remotely brewing your cup as an incentive to get out of bed.
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.