One of the more polarising architectural eras, the Brutalist architecture period derives it’s name from the French word béton brut, that translates to raw concrete. It’s coarse finishes, straight lines, concrete block structures and harsh visuals have always featured at the top of the ‘world’s ugliest’ lists, but in recent times, an appreciation has come about for the architectural period.
As a timely tribute to the stylings of Brutalism, we present to you seven Brutalist structures from across the globe, created by the period’s foremost creators.
The Barbican Estate
The Barbican Centre and Estate shot up amongst the debris of World War II in London. Evoking plenty of thought from onlookers, often one of confusion, the building features a multitude of sky bridges, walkways and tunnels. The precinct’s towers and housing estates opened before the arts centre, which was completed in 1982. Named “London’s Ugliest Building” in the early 2000s, it has evolved to become a crown jewel of the city’s rich architectural history.
Boston City Hall
Like many Brutalist buildings, Boston City Hall has been knocked about from pillar to post from critics for decades. Jointly designed by Gerhard Kallmann, Noel McKinnell and Edward Knowles, the hall marked 50 years since it’s construction in 2018, with its harsh interior home to rigid lines and forms.
The Cathedral of Saint Mary of the Assumption
The majority of Pier Luigi Nervi’s body of work sits outside of the United States, but his crowning jewel lies within its borders, after its construction in 1971. A manipulator of concrete, the Italian architect’s design features impressive cantilevers, a saddle roof segmented into hyperbolic paraboloids, and dramatic interiors.
Devised by Willaim L. Pereira, this extraterrestrial design is home to a vast collection of Dr Seuss drawings, books, audio recordings and memorabilia. Built in 1970, the library derives its name from benefactor Theodor Seuss Geisel.
The subject of heated debate in the last couple of years, the Sirius Building was designed by Tao Gofers in 1979. Sirius’ location is first rate, sitting in the Rocks Area, overlooking Sydney Harbour. Plans to demolish the public housing building failed following outrage from the local community with the court judgement agreeing with popular opinion.
The memorials were erected in honour of the Yugoslavian people’s victory against Axis occupation in World War II. Representing unity and honour, the structures are viewed in a modern context as being transcendental. Created by a range of different architects, the memorials vary in shape, size and structure.
A post-war London building offering affordable housing to those who had lost their homes in the second world war, Trellick Tower is a 32-storey Brutalist-styled apartment complex. Ernő Goldfinger is credited as the building’s designer. Appreciation for the building has grown over time, once described as one of the ugliest buildings in the world, to receiving Grade II heritage status in 1998.