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.
CLOG is also introducing Michael Abrahamson as guest editor for CLOG : BRUTALISM. Michael is a designer and critic currently based in Ann Arbor, Michigan. A Pre- Candidate in the History and Theory of Architecture at the University of Michigan, he also operates a Tumblr photo blog called Fuck Yeah Brutalism.
Michael Abrahamson, Architecture Research Office (ARO), Iwan Baan, Emilie Baltz, Reyner Banham (1922-1988), Charlotte Malterre Barthes, Rachel Berger, Fred Bernstein, Aleksandr Bierig, Dana Buntrock, Dr. Barnabas Calder, Evan Chakroff, Salvatore Dellaria, Alpa Depani, Sean Gaffney, Fabrizio Gallanti, Addison Godel, Reinier de Graaf and Laura Baird, Owen Hatherley, Erik William Herrmann, Andrew Heumann, Dirk van den Heuvel, Stewart Hicks and Allison Newmeyer, Ben Highmore, Julia van den Hout, Christen Johansen, Andrew Kenney, Sean Khorsandi, Norbert Koehn, Diederik de Koning, Adam Koogler, Andrew Kovacs, Keith Krumwiede, Michael Kubo, Chris Grimley, Mark Pasnik, Stephanie Lee, Sally Levine, Thomas Lozada, Ben Lueck, Kevin Malcolm, Cyril Marsollier and Wallo Villacorta, Kyle May, Alexander Maymind, Samuel Medina, Shane Neufeld, The Office Of Playlab, Inc., Roberto Otero, Steve Parnell, Andrew Pulliam, Nina Rappaport, Reality Cues, Jacob Reidel, Susannah Ribstein, Timothy M. Rohan, Erin M. Routson, Moshe Safdie, Laura van Santen, Jack Self, Gideon Fink Shapiro, Ben Strak, Jeffrey Strean, Alastair Townsend, Karla Sierralta and Brian Strawn, Laurent Stalder, Anthony Vidler, Daniel I. Vieyra, Paul Walker, Alfred Willis