UK Government declares war on Brutalist architecture

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UK Government declares war on Brutalist architecture
The Balfron Tower in east London is an icon of brutalism / © Justin Tallis

A Government minister has declared war on “brutalist” architecture, arguing that it is “aesthetically worthless” and embodies a “cult of ugliness”.

John Hayes, a transport minister, said in a speech that the Government would be the “vanguard of a renaissance” in architecture by rebuilding a Doric arch that stood outside London’s Euston station before it was demolished in 1962.

The minister said the public “crave harmony” in architecture and that when it came to modernist architecture, “people don’t like it”.

Brutalist architecture, which was popular from the 1950s until the 1970s, emphasises exposed concrete and brickwork and functional, modern designs.

Though the style had fallen out of favour with architects by the 1980s, it has recently seen signs of a revival in interest – with a push to list famous buildings built in the style.

Examples include Preston Bus Station, which was granted Grade II listed status in 2013 after attempts to demolish it by the local council.

Prince Charles famously slammed brutalist and other modernist buildings in a 1984 speech to the Royal Institute of British Architects, describing one proposal as a “monstrous carbuncle” […]