And in the fifth decade of Modernism Le Corbusier said “Let there be concrete”: and there was Brutalism.
Well, perhaps not quite. However the Swiss-French polymath certainly kick-started what became the most divisive school of architecture in the twentieth century. His buildings from the late 1940s onwards paved the way for a new brand of Modernism, employing “beton brut”, raw, unfinished concrete set in bold, geometric forms. Form followed function and the result was monolithic, imposing and disruptive.
Brutalism had its admirers, but there were detractors, a group whose voice swelled down the years as buildings fell into disrepair and the aesthetic became a byword for poverty, antisocial behavior and poor urban planning. Some buildings are now living on the brink; others are have already been demolished.
But whisper it quietly: Brutalism is having a moment. […]