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If there was any abiding agnosticism that Brutalism — the architectural appearance derided for aggregate the name implies — was aback in fashion, the “Atlas of Brutalist Architecture” quashes it with a awe-inspiring thump. At 560 pages apery some 878 works of architectonics in over 100 countries, the outsize aggregate is allotment advertence tool, allotment coffee table book, and absolutely allotment of an advancing architectonics trend benign big, big books.
In the case of the “Atlas,” anatomy follows function. Awe-inspiring edifices of apparent accurate characterize Brutalist architecture. Darkened facades and sculptural forms arise beeline out of dystopian sci-fi, like the much-maligned FBI address in Washington, D.C.: the J. Edgar Hoover Office Architectonics (1974) by Charles F. Murphy & Associates. In fact, the broke cities of “Blade Agent 2049” pay admiration to the austere aesthetic, and Stanley Kubrick acclimated two British examples: the anxiety Thamesmead acreage and the ample Lecture Centre at Brunel University, as backdrops for his 1971 classic, “A Clockwork Orange.”
Today, the architectural animal duckling is a swan with an Instagram following. The caked and blocky architectonics of Kanye West’s Yeezy address in Calabasas was aggressive by Brutalism. And this fall, Archinect, a agenda belvedere for architectonics based in Los Angeles, launched a band of coffee alleged Barbarous in affiliation with Yeekai Lim, a above artisan and artisan of Culver City’s Cognoscenti Coffee.
But like Ryan Gosling’s brand agent replicant K, or any added absorption protagonist, Brutalism is misunderstood.
Brut is not brutal. Brutalism, then, is about stripping bottomward architectonics to aboveboard expression.
St. Joseph’s Hospital, Bertrand Goldberg Associates, Tacoma, Wash., 1974. Goldberg Family Archives
Any altercation of the appearance requires a de facto parsing of the appellation — and a catchy unwinding of actual providence. In Southern California, historian and analyzer Reyner Banham may be best accepted for the book “Los Angeles: The Architectonics of Four Ecologies,” but afore the sunshine came noir. In “The New Brutalism,” his December 1955 article for the British annual the Architectural Review, Banham credits Swedish artisan Hans Asplund with banknote of the appellation New Brutalism. But he additionally gives due to Swiss-French artisan Le Corbusier, who declared his own architectonics in Marseilles, which larboard apparent formwork impressions in the concrete, as béton brut (raw concrete) and to French artisan Jean Dubuffet, whose art brut acclaimed the acerbity and naiveté of art fabricated alfresco of boilerplate culture. Phaidon’s beat aggregation (there is no distinct columnist credited) quotes Banham’s three attempt of New Brutalism: “1. Academic accuracy of plan; 2. Clear exhibition of structure; 3. Valuation of abstracts of their inherent qualities ‘as found.’ ”
Brut is not brutal. Brutalism, then, is about stripping bottomward architectonics to aboveboard expression. Given that abundant of the aboriginal architectonics advised Brutalist was created to serve societies rebuilding in the after-effects of World War II, the appearance is afterpiece to the cultural accuracy of French New Wave blur than to a admiration to accomplish foolishly animal and atrocious architecture. For example, the precast-concrete-slab architectonics of Robin Hood Gardens (1972), the amusing apartment activity by Alison and Peter Smithson burst in 2017, were advised to actualize common “streets in the sky.”
MIA Emergency Control Centre, D. Gogiashvili, Tbilisi, Georgia, 2012. © 2018 Pedro E Guerrero Archive Water Tower, Jørn Utzon, Svaneke, Denmark, 1952. Aconcagua
For those who abstraction architectonics and architectural history, Brutalism is a postwar abnormality spanning almost from the mid-1950s to the backward 1970s. In the U.S. it is generally bookended at one ancillary by the acceleration of acutely accelerating agendas arch to burghal face-lifting and on the added end, an bread-and-butter reality: affection accurate architectonics became too expensive. It’s a history well-documented in the 2015 book “Heroic: Accurate Architectonics and the New Boston” (The Monacelli Press). Authors Mark Pasnik, Michael Kubo and Chris Grimley acting the appellation “heroic” for “brutalist” in their mission to animate the absent abstract sensibilities at the affection of this architectural style.
In the anterior essay, Phaidon’s beat aggregation bound dispatches the accepted compassionate of Brutalism as movement with a alpha and an end. Citing amusing media and the ambit afforded by time, they altercate for the embrace of Brutalism as a broader artful temporally untethered — they accommodate works dating to the 1920s and barrio from 2017, writing, “There’s an ever-growing accord that Brutalism is beneath of an celebrated movement confided to the after decades of the twentieth century, and added of a always evolving attitude that draws on a aggregation of influences.”
Synagogue, Officers Training School, Zvi Hecker; Alfred Neumann, Mitzpe Ramon, Israel, 1968. Henry Hutter/Zvi Hecker Architects Synagogue, Officers Training School, Zvi Hecker; Alfred Neumann, Mitzpe Ramon, Israel, 1968. Henry Hutter / Zvi Hecker Architects
The Atlas is at its best at its best global. In general, architectural canons awning Western European and U.S. examples, but the editors bless Brutalism as a assorted abnormality in Asia, Eastern Europe and Latin America. Le Corbusier’s authoritative barrio in Chandigarh, India, generally boss conversations about accurate architectonics on the continent, so it’s auspicious to acquisition barrio by assorted Indian architects, like the Shri Ram Centre for Art and Ability (1969) by Shivnath Prasad in New Delhi. The editors additionally affection several works by Brazilian artisan Lina Bo Bardi, such as her asperous accurate masterpiece SESC Pompéia (1977) in São Paulo. Identifying her assignment as “arquitectura povera” in admiration to the abolitionist art movement Arte Povera, she reconstructed the automated carapace of a above animate boom branch into a cultural arts and sports center.
Grand Central Water Tower, GAPP Architects & Burghal Designers, Midrand, South Africa, 1996 Phaidon
But while the “Atlas” is brimming of all-embracing architectonics illustrated with affected atramentous and white photography, it’s not for purists. For every architectonics that acutely avalanche aural approved parameters, there’s addition that affronted me to bawl a beck of “-isms” at the page: “That’s not Brutalism; it’s Constructivism, Backward Modernism, Metabolism …”
The editors’ bashful advantage of Southern California illustrates this exasperation. Of the eight barrio represented, two are acknowledged icons — Louis Kahn’s Salk Institute and William L. Pereira’s Central Library for UC San Diego; a third gem is the generally disregarded St. Basil’s Catholic Church (1969) on Wilshire Boulevard by AC Martin & Associates. But again things get debatable. Is John Lautner’s alive Sheats-Goldstein House (1963) with its coffered accurate cantilevered roof and absolute appearance absolutely Brutalist? Ditto for Samitaur in Culver City. Congenital in 1996 by L.A’s Eric Owen Moss, the architectonics is beginning and sculptural. The continued architectonics rests on apparent animate girders and owes added to Decon and Postmodernism — bookish discourses accepted in Los Angeles in the ’80s and ’90s — than to Banham’s principles.
Noisy-le-Grand Car Park, Noisy-le-Grand, France. Ludovic Maillard “Atlas of Brutalist Architecture” Phaidon
But rather than quibble, it ability be added advantageous to about-face to the afresh appear “Concrete Los Angeles Map: Guide to Accurate and Brutalist Architectonics in LA.” The map lists some 50 projects, counting two of my claimed favorites: the Glendale Municipal Services Architectonics (1965, additionally by AC Martin & Associates), which bears academic affinity to a window air conditioning assemblage congenital out of concrete, and the abundantly textured Braille Institute (1974, additionally by Pereira). A distinct bankrupt area against an bulky tome, the map reminds us to abstract from the online culture, which Atlas editors affirmation additional a activation in Brutalist appreciation, and go bout accurate architectonics in our own backyard.
Atlas of Brutalist Architecture
Phaidon; 560 pp., $150
Mimi Zeiger is a Los Angeles-based analyzer and curator. She was co-curator of the U.S. Pavilion at the 2018 Venice Architectonics Biennale.
Vulcania, Hans Hollein Architekt, Saint-Ours-les-Roches, France, 2002. Christian Richters