(redirected from Brutalist architecture)
Also found in: Dictionary, Wikipedia.



new brutalism,

architectural style of the late 1950s and 60s that arose in reaction to the lightness, polish, and use of glass and steel that had come to characterize the orthodox International styleInternational style,
in architecture, the phase of the modern movement that emerged in Europe and the United States during the 1920s. The term was first used by Philip Johnson in connection with a 1932 architectural exhibition held at the Museum of Modern Art, New York City.
..... Click the link for more information.
; the term is derived from the French béton brut [raw concrete]. Brutalism aimed at honesty in the use of materials, e.g., unfinished concrete and brick, and a certain moral seriousness, and arose in part out of the monumental structures designed by Le CorbusierLe Corbusier
, pseud. of Charles Édouard Jeanneret
, 1887–1965, French architect, b. La Chaux-de-Fonds, Switzerland. Often known simply as "Corbu," he was one of the most influential architects of the 20th cent.
..... Click the link for more information.
 late in his career. Often employed in government, university, and other institutional buildings, it is noted for having produced such monolithic, imposing, and fortresslike structures as Paul RudolphRudolph, Paul Marvin,
1918–97, American modernist architect, b. Elkton, Ky. Rudolph taught at several universities and served as chair of the Yale architecture department from 1958–65. He was one of the most influential American architects of the mid-20th cent.
..... Click the link for more information.
's Yale Art and Architecture Building (1963), Marcel BreuerBreuer, Marcel Lajos
, 1902–81, American architect and furniture designer, b. Hungary. During the 1920s he was associated, both as student and as teacher, with the Bauhaus in Germany.
..... Click the link for more information.
's Whitney MuseumWhitney Museum of American Art,
in New York City, founded in 1930 by Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney with a core group of 700 artworks, many from her own collection. The museum was an outgrowth of the Whitney Studio (1914–18), the Whitney Studio Club (1918–28), and the
..... Click the link for more information.
 (1966, now Met Breuer), Boston's City Hall (1968), London's Trellick Tower (1966–72, designed by Erno Goldfinger), and Louis KahnKahn, Louis Isadore
, 1901–74, American architect, b. Estonia. He and his family moved to Philadelphia in 1905, and he later studied at the Univ. of Pennsylvania. From the 1920s through World War II, Kahn worked on numerous housing projects including Carver Court (1944),
..... Click the link for more information.
's government complex (1962–83) in Dhaka, Bangladesh. Brutalism fell from favor in the 1970s but has experienced some renewed interest in the 21st cent.


See V. McLeod, ed., Atlas of Brutalist Architecture (2018); studies by A. Clement (2011), K. May and J. van den Hout (2013), D. Bradley (2014), E. Harwood (2015), M. Pasnik and C. Grimley (2015), C. Beanland (2016), B. Calder (2016), P. Chadwick (2016), S. Henley (2017), and B. Highmore (2017).


An uncompromisingly modern style which was expressed in large scale using raw and exposed materials emphasizing stark forms. It was distinguished by its weighty, textured surfaces and massiveness; created mainly by large areas of patterned concrete. Windows consist of tiny openings, and the combination of voids and solids gave walls an egg-crate appearance. Mechanical systems are left exposed on the interior of the bare structure.



(also new brutalism), a trend in modern architecture. It originated with the architects Alison and Peter Smithson (husband and wife) in the middle of the 1950’s in Great Britain and spread to the countries of Western Europe, the USA, and Japan. It has no clearly defined theory. The brutalists strive to create architecture in which aesthetic qualities are determined by crude, obviously heavy forms and exposed structures and engineering systems of buildings. Examples include the school at Hunstanton, 1949-54, and the building housing the editorial offices of the London Economist, 1964; both by A. and P. Smithson; the Marchiondi Institute in Milan, 1959, by V. Vigano; and the Halen Siedlung near Bern, 1961.


Tasalov, V. Prometei ili Orfei. Moscow, 1967. Pages 227-30.


Brutalism, New Brutalism

A style of modern architecture, primarily in the 1960s, emphasizing heavy, monumental, stark concrete forms and raw surfaces; may show patterns of the rough wood formwork used in casting the concrete (béton brut). Buildings in this style are often suggestive of massive sculptures.


an austere style of architecture characterized by emphasis on such structural materials as undressed concrete and unconcealed service pipes
References in periodicals archive ?
Published by Phaidon, This Brutal World is a compelling collection of images that document brutalist architecture from around the globe.
Brutalist architecture and raw industrial design featuring bespoke lighting, exposed metal screens, bare brickwork and reprocessed Tube station tiles are brought to the fore in Hilton''s new upmarket London Bankside property.
Former United Willie McFaul this day See They show a gritty, urban landscape that was a familiar product of brutalist architecture across the UK at the time.
Jeffrey Thorsteinson, Brutalist Architecture in Winnipeg, 2012, 53 pages.
An exhibition of tableware inspired by concrete brutalist architecture and documentary photographs.
Johnson commented In the case of Fidelio, I looked for inspiration in Brutalist Architecture.
IYet the Hockley Flyover - considered one of the city's finest examples of brutalist architecture - may not actually be made wholly out of concrete
The author states that brutalist architecture which emerged in postwar Britain had important repercussions in many countries without any relationships between them, but merely as a sharing of a teaching provided by Le Corbusier's work.
The main exception to this sense of decay was Alexanderplatz, a large sweep of concrete bound by brutalist architecture through which a cold, gritty wind blew.
The Samokov hotel gives a glimpse of the communist era with its huge, 11-storey building, within which you can find a full-size swimming pool, bowling alley, conference centre and shooting range a entertainment and brutalist architecture for the masses.
He also believed the 1960s left a tarnished legacy in the drug culture, brutalist architecture and political correctness.