Brutalist Architecture: The Beauty in Rawness

Posted on Oct 18 2016 - 1:00am

A work-in-progress Brutalism buildingLe Corbusier had pioneered Brutalist architecture back in the 1940s. This is the use and design of concrete in all its rawness. Famous as the most discordant school of architecture during the twentieth century, brutalism is an exhibition of unfinished concrete shaping the facade of geometric buildings. The movement focuses on form and how it subscribes to function, resulting in an architectural style imposing itself onto people.

The Popularity of Brutalist Architecture

Brutalism both had its fans and critics. The latter voiced out their disdain for the movement, specifying how its poor aesthetics is a representation of poverty, anti-socialist behavior, and haphazard urban planning. These detractors claim that the brutalist buildings of today are now decrepit, pitilessly asking to be demolished.

Brutalism does away with the subjectivity of beauty and its subsequent trends. It takes an eye for art to recognize how visually stunning these hulking concrete structures are, especially at present. Today, wherein precision and color can be thematic of a home or building, it comes as no surprise that there are vibrant and colored front doors for sale, among other impactful trends in architecture and design.

The Beauty in Brutalism

Peter Chadwick, the author of This Brutal World, says that older Brutalist buildings have inspired contemporary architects. Zaha Hadid’s designs, as an example, showcases raw concrete features underneath the entirety of a structure. He says that the style is a canon that is still evolving.

Photographer and author Nicolas Grospierre went abroad to search for modern architecture in 20 countries and photographed them for his book, Modern Forms: A Subjective Atlas of 20th-Century Architecture. Grospierre uses photography to create an “aesthetic continuum,” wherein he creates a mix-and-match of building shapes and styles. He relishes the sense of discovery in obscure architecture, finding them by accident. Brutalism, to him, has a visual impact – that it is an aesthetic choice.

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Both Chadwick and Grospierre agree that Brutalism has had its fair share of both bad and great buildings. They also understand why and where the movement gets its bad reputation. The criticism it has received for its craftsmanship, as they affirm, is valid as well.

The beauty in Brutalism, though, lies in its functionality and the way it turns rebuilding into an art form.