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Brutalist Architecture: All You Need To Know About It

I still remember how my grandfather emphasised the incidents of World War 2, which affected every single country. He used to tell me about the armies and old techniques to win the war, people's life which was greatly affected, the way they used to live, and several other stories. But what profoundly intrigued me and inspired me was the post-war stories and rapid developments. Now, it is also worth remembering that the predominance of war crimes bought stress and frustration altogether. Hence, there was the use of several techniques to overcome it. However, you must know that the most fascinating was the revolution from changing surroundings through architecture.

Could you recall any architectural style which essentially focussed on this particular problem? Mate, not on your nelly I am telling you about the answer. You have to find it by yourself and tell me in the comments. Meanwhile, I am introducing one of many architectural styles that coincides with the minimalist interior decor trending today, the Brutalist architecture.

So without further ado, let's proceed learning about the same.

What Is Brutalist Architecture?

First things first, understanding the term is the crucial part before we start to evaluate the style. To commence with: it is necessary to remember that the originator of the word Brutalist seems fair to have a connection with Hans Asplund, son of Gunnar Asplund. He gave the invention the term through a letter to Eric de Mare, further reprinted in 1956 in Architectural Review. However, you can neglect the controversy leading the way. Let me help you to understand it. He wrote, “Judging from their drawings, I called them in a mildly sarcastic way 'Neo-Brutalists.”

Now the version of understanding the term Neo-Brutalists, which spread in England was misleading as Neo-Brutalist never meant Neo Gothic or Neo Classic, but instead New Brutalism. It described a programme or an attitude to architecture. In this way, the term Brutalist reached England back by three architects (one of which is Asplund). What's more about it? I will let you know in the below sections.

Coming towards the word Brutalist, let us understand the meaning.

The term originates from the French word 'Beton-brut,' which means raw concrete. So, in a way, you can starkly put brutalist style in brief descriptive terms of rough and naked appearances. Furthermore, it bought innovative structures by using raw concrete for decor and forbidding any ornamentation or decoration. Brutalist buildings were also easily recognised by their monochromatic-pattern of building through brick or concrete. Now that you understand the elementary meaning, you must also know its first execution. To add on, the term Brutalism first appeared when Alison Smithson used it for an unexecuted project for a house in Colville Place. However, the finest example of Brutalism in architecture is The Unité d’Habitation in Marseille, designed by Swiss-French architect Le Corbusier, also considered the birth of Brutalism.

Well, that is a lot of information. Moving forward, let me take you to the pages of History to help you understand the origin of Brutalist architecture.

History Of Brutalism In Architecture.

Before we proceed to the section, let me raise a question. Until you learned about Brutalist Architecture, what was your impression of its true meaning? As soon as I heard about it, I thought of something wilder or more brutal. However, after learning it unreservedly, I laughed at my foolishness and comprehended how stupid I had been. Never mind, Better late than ever! So finally, I came across the actual core of the term, which I explained in the meaning section. As you know briefly, the term brutalism articulates itself with the aesthetics of the Le Corbusier residential unit in Marseille in 1952 and the context of the french term meaning concrete. Concrete, in its raw state, was an entirely original and new solid structure.

Sketch of the brutalist building Unité d’Habitation, Firminy, by Swiss French architect Le Corbusier