CLOG : Brutalism
A defining architectural style of the postwar era— characterized by severe, abstract geometries and the use of cast concrete, block and brick—Brutalism arguably produced some of the world’s least popular public buildings. The style’s international propagation brought modern architecture to ever-larger constituencies, and some argue that the perceived shortcomings of these Brutalist structures led to the demise of the Modernist project.
While today often admired (and even loved) by architects, many Brutalist projects—Bertrand Goldberg’s Prentice Women’s Hospital, Marcel Breuer’s Ameritrust Tower, Paul Rudolph’s Orange County Government Center, Alison and Peter Smithson’s Robin Hood Gardens, and Gillespie Kidd and Coia’s St. Peter’s Seminary, to name a few—are now threatened with demolition. Judging by the work of many contemporary practitioners, however, the influence of Brutalism only seems to grow. Before the wrecking balls swing, it is time to look back on, debate, understand, and learn from Brutalism.