THE NEW BRUTALISM ETHIC OR AESTHETIC PDF

In , bombers in the Bangladesh Liberation War are said to have mistaken it for a historic ruin, sparing it from destruction. We do want to shove your face in cement. For a world still climbing gingerly out of the ruins of World War II, in need of plain dealing and powerful messages, this brand of architectural honesty was refreshing. Planning budgets were slashed, and the Brutalists lost their backers. But now, like the chevron mustache, Brutalism is undergoing something of a revival. Despite two generations of abuse and perhaps a little because of it , an enthusiasm for Brutalist buildings beyond the febrile, narrow precincts of architecture criticism has begun to take hold.

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In , bombers in the Bangladesh Liberation War are said to have mistaken it for a historic ruin, sparing it from destruction. We do want to shove your face in cement. For a world still climbing gingerly out of the ruins of World War II, in need of plain dealing and powerful messages, this brand of architectural honesty was refreshing. Planning budgets were slashed, and the Brutalists lost their backers. But now, like the chevron mustache, Brutalism is undergoing something of a revival.

Despite two generations of abuse and perhaps a little because of it , an enthusiasm for Brutalist buildings beyond the febrile, narrow precincts of architecture criticism has begun to take hold. Preservationists clamor for their survival, historians laud their ethical origins and an independent public has found beauty in their rawness. For long-suffering admirers of Brutalism, the internet has proved an unexpected boon companion. Popular Tumblrs unleash endless streams of black-and-white images of gravity-defying cantilevers from the world over.

A hulking concrete school in downtown Miami swallowing students! A concrete ski resort in Chamonix, France, that appears poised to tumble off the edge of a mountain! The long overdue intellectual revival has also followed. In , the British critic Jonathan Meades produced a combative reconsideration of Brutalism in a two-part television documentary for the BBC, putting the style back into the mainstream of welfare-cutting Britain. Finally, last year, there was a consecration of Brutalism by art officialdom, when the Metropolitan Museum of Art moved some of its modern collection into the old Whitney, that smooth inverted ziggurat on Madison Avenue, with its signature angled windows.

Architectural fashions go in and out of style with disorienting alacrity. In that sense, the Brutalist revival is welcome. But there is a distinct possibility that, in the process of reconsideration, the Brutalism we retain will have lost much of what made it strange and appealing to begin with. But its deeper appeal is moral. In the words of Reyner Banham, it was an attempt to create an architectural ethic, rather than an aesthetic.

When the Smithsons called their work Brutalist or part of a New Brutalism, the brutality to which they referred had less to do with materials and more to do with honesty: an uncompromising desire to tell it like it is, architecturally speaking. The Modern movement in architecture had supposedly been predicated on truthfulness in materials and forms, as well. But as a dreary stroll down Park Avenue will remind you, Modernism swiftly became a gutless orthodoxy, its high ideals devolving into the rote features of the International Style, a repetitive and predictable series of gestures curtain walls or ribbon windows, recessed plinths, decorative piloti, windswept plazas, ornamental lawns and flat shimmering pools.

What was and still is appealing about Brutalism is that it had a kind of purity to it. For their first large project, a school in Hunstanton, and in subsequent projects, such as the Economist building in central London, the Smithsons went back to the lessons of the modern masters, to Mies van der Rohe and Le Corbusier: to build transparently, cleanly and truthfully. Brutalism is, as the critic Michael J. Lewis has pointed out, the vernacular expression of the welfare state.

Image With her SESC Pompeia leisure center from , the Italian-born architect Lina Bo Bardi showed that Brutalism could be extraordinarily playful, with zigzagging bridges that connect a former drum factory to three tall towers.

Once politics turned against the welfare state in the s, Brutalism was doomed. Budgets were gutted; public housing lost its funding; the market came to dictate development. The delirious, pink-granite fantasies of postmodernist office towers rose to loom over the gray Brutalist housing projects, left to molder and decay. All buildings require upkeep, and in a sense the deliberate neglect of Brutalism had the same effect that starving public bureaucracies did.

But the renewed interest in the movement has yet to produce any meaningful change in the culture of what gets built and how. This resurgence has not — not yet anyway — led to any revival of interest in public-minded development.

Politics has been divorced from architecture. In fact, love for Brutalism has often led to gentrification. Architecture bookstores sell postcard packs of the greatest hits of Brutalism; you can buy a Trellick Tower mug to sip expensive coffee in your pricey Trellick Tower flat.

The aesthetic of Brutalism may at last triumph over its ethic.

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Brutalism Is Back

After the Second World War, Great Britain launched its post-war social reconstruction as an extensive government programme whose construction included building new schools and new towns. The programme accommodated population ranging from 20,, Under the leadership of C. It was in the s that the construction of the Swedish Welfare State positively led to the social and cultural changes. The style also garnered wide acceptance through the influence of The Architectural Review editors, J. Richards and Nikolaus Pevsner, who opted for a less rigorous approach to the creation of the built form by the early s.

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But, more importantly, it is a platform for a large campaign to save our beloved concrete monsters. This is an unprecedented initiative: SOSBrutalism is open to everyone who wants to join the campaign to save Brutalist buildings! It is a powerful tool that allows fans of Brutalism to communicate with one another across Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr etc. You can follow our social media feeds below. With 47, visitors it was a great success, including a wide press coverage in print, radio and German prime time TV news. Stay tuned for future updates.

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