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Tuesday
Aug192008

Brutalism: inhumane design


Example of architectural brutalism at the offices of HUD in Washington, DCBruce Bawer, whose writings on theology I've recently enjoyed, recently discovered "brutalist" architecture.  In his blog, he writes,

" As soon as I saw the word I thought immediately of my alma mater, Stony Brook, where several structures, including dormitories I lived in, were ugly concrete monstrosities that seemed to scream out: "Life sucks!  Beauty is a lie!"  Living, eating, studying, and attending classes in these bunkers – which, it turns out, are indeed products of brutalism (the aptest name ever) – one felt one was being given a big, undeserved daily "fuck you" by some architect who'd designed these things, cashed the check, and then gone off to live in pleasanter surroundings." (emphasis added)

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Reader Comments (2)

Most every great architect of the 20th century has been labelled "brutalist" by lay bloggers, most of whom don't know shit from shinola. Just because a building uses concrete or has strong forms doesn't necessarily make it brutalist and even if it did, what's so bad about being part of a movement that produced most of the best architecture of the past fifty years? Don't forget, architecture is an art, not sentimental kitsch.
January 8, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterG. M. Gordon, architect
I, however, am not a lay blogger, but a practicing, licensed architect.

While Brutalist architecture has artistic quality and refinement, more often than not, it's usually a crappy place to be, as a human being.
May 24, 2010 | Registered CommenterJeremy Fretts

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