Belgian architect Juliaan Lampens has passed away at the age of 93, in Ghent, Belgium. Known for his brutalist houses and his skillful use of concrete, wood and glass structures, the architect has created some of the most famous works from the last decade, including House Juliaan Lampens – Van Hove, House Vandenhaute – Kiebooms, and Kerselare Chapel.
Brutalist Architecture: The Latest Architecture and News
Blue Crow Media has released its latest map exploring brutalist concrete architecture in Seoul, South Korea. The map is edited by Korea University-based architectural historian Professor Hyon-sob Kim, with original photography by Yongjoon Choi. The guide offers a unique look at Seoul’s unsurpassed history of concrete architecture from the 1960s to today.
Brutalism is merely a basic equation of reinforced concrete + geometry, but while the result of this equation is rather minimal, the architecture movement remains as one of the most debatable styles, ranging between “fascinating structures” and “is it even worth preserving”.
While many perceive Brutalism as “ugly” or “incomplete”, 17 year-old Arhan Vohra found glory in these modernist structures and launched Brutal Delhi, a photography website of New Delhi’s Brutalist buildings, shot through his camera lens.
Sculptor and jewelry designer, Cydney Ross explores the architectural passage of time through unconventional ceramics and mixed media. By over-firing, freezing, and thawing her materials, she simulates the swaying, slumping, and even collapsing of structure.
To celebrate the 50th anniversary of the opening of Boston City Hall in 1969, the brutalist icon is set to receive a major renovation by Utile Architecture + Planning and Reed Hilderbrand Landscape Architects. The Mayor’s Office of Arts and Culture has already begun a series of small changes and updates to the building with the hope of bringing new life to the commanding structure.
Skopje, the capital city of the Republic of Macedonia, is home to many of the best international examples of Brutalist architecture. Once a part of the former Yugoslavia, the city features the work of architectural visionaries such as Kenzo Tange, Janko Konstantinov, and Marko Mušič. The “Modernist Skopje Map” is Blue Crow Media’s most recent map in a series of publications covering architectural history in former Yugoslavia.
Mercer, the multinational consultancy recently announced that Vienna, Austria has been ranked as the city with the best quality of life in the world, for the ninth year in a row. In a ranking that is dominated by European cities in the highest positions, this year Vancouver (5th), Singapore (25th) and Port Louis (83rd) are the highest-ranking cities in North America, Asia, and Africa, respectively.
So, what is happening in Latin America? Montevideo, the capital of Uruguay, once again occupies the top position. "Although they are challenged by economic and political turmoil," experts at the consultancy explain, "cities in emerging markets are catching up with major cities, after decades of investment in infrastructure, recreational facilities, and housing for the purpose of attracting talent and multinational businesses," they add.
In its twentieth edition, the consultancy, which specializes in advising multinational companies in employee transfers, evaluates more than 450 cities around the world, analyzing 39 factors divided into 10 categories, including political and economic environment, socio-cultural status, hygiene, educational institutions, leisure, housing, the market, and natural disasters.
Musicians of all ages and genres feature the Barbican in their music videos. Youtuber Phil Gyford’s playlist “The Barbican in Music Videos” compiles songs from artists including British rapper Skepta, UK rock band Coldplay, the infamous electronic musician Moby, and guitarist James Morrison. Even modern pop artist Dua Lipa strut her stuff through the Barbican while singing her song, “Blow Your Mind (Mwah).”
But what makes the Barbican the perfect set for a professional music video? Perhaps artists were attracted to its remarkable Brutalist style. Maybe the architecture was used for it’s historical or political significance.
At the end of September, we invited our Spanish-speaking readers to send us their social housing proposals completed at a university level. Social housing is still a challenge for much of Latin America and although every year hundreds of architecture students work on projects that reflect their concerns in the social housing field, its visibility is very low and its materialization is null. At a time when the Global South has pursued its own responses to its own problems, the university response on social housing should be taken into account by the State, both of whom are interested in the common good.
Out of 116 proposals received from Spain and 11 Latin American countries, this selection of 20 ideas represents the different challenges and state of the problems in social housing. While some approach Colombia's post-conflict scenario for rural inhabitants, some propose answers to the insertion of social housing in already densified areas, to which the beneficiaries tend to be relegated by the value of land and housing. Other ideas point to the reconversion of infrastructure, modulation, the integration of indigenous peoples and natural disasters.
We believe that the selection not only highlights the efforts of students and academics to address contingent problems but will also open up the discussion about social housing, often relegated only as a one-dimensional problem when in reality, poverty is multidimensional.
Jaime Lerner defines urban acupuncture as a series of small-scale, highly focused interventions that have the capacity to regenerate or to begin a regeneration process in dead or damaged spaces and their surroundings.
Rather than urban acupuncture, the intervention that took place in the rugged geography of Medellin’s Comuna 13 was like an open-heart surgery, a large-scale action aimed at bringing about physical and social change of what was once one of the most dangerous neighbourhoods in the world’s most dangerous city.
The bilingual guides take us through the neighbourhood, showing us the escalators that gave the intervention worldwide fame. At the same time, in one of the many refurbished squares, a CNN team records interviews with locals and foreigners who visit by the hundreds what was, until recently, an unlikely tourist destination. A drone flies over the scene, we do not know if it is operated by the omnipresent police, CNN or tourists.
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."