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Related to brutalism: Bauhaus, Le Corbusier


brutalism or 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 style; 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 Corbusier 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 Rudolph's Yale Art and Architecture Building (1963), Marcel Breuer's Whitney Museum (1966, now Met Breuer), Boston's City Hall (1968), London's Trellick Tower (1966–72, designed by Erno Goldfinger), and Louis Kahn'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).

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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.
Illustrated Dictionary of Architecture Copyright © 2012, 2002, 1998 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



(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.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.

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.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Architecture and Construction. Copyright © 2003 by McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.


an austere style of architecture characterized by emphasis on such structural materials as undressed concrete and unconcealed service pipes
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005
References in periodicals archive ?
Heading into the 1980s, brutalism fell out of favor.
Brutalism fell out of favour worldwide around the 1980s, but that has recently been changing in the West -- for example, in London, where Brutalist behemoths like the Barbican Center are winning new fans.
Brutalism or Brutalist architecture was a trend that peaked in the 50s and 60s and is characterised by massive, block-like forms and large raw concrete constructions.
IDLES JOY AS AN ACT OF RESISTANCE (released August 31) HHHH H BRISTOL punk rock outfit Idles follow up their acclaimed debut Brutalism with a ferocious attack on toxic masculinity, racism and television's enforcement of a negative body image.
IDLES JOY AS AN ACT OF RESISTANCE (released August 31) HHHH H BRISTOL punk rock outfit Idles follow up their acclaimed debut, Brutalism, with a ferocious attack on toxic masculinity, racism and television's enforcement of a negative body image.
The time came when I realised we had to start afresh and we started working on the songs which would make up our first album, Brutalism. "I was still really struggling at this point but writing the songs was a catharsis for me.
"It was the century of modernism, of international architecture, of functionalism, of brutalism, of trying to design for modern use.
The Bristolians' second album builds on the acclaim afforded last year's Brutalism. Never Fight A Man With A Perm is a sarcastic and dizzying divebomb into the depths of warped masculinity.
Using stark materials, they create pieces with rounded, flowing forms--"soft Brutalism," they call it.
It was one-in-on-out at Constellations for Bristol punks Idles, who mixed tunes from their acclaimed debut record Brutalism with several numbers from their forthcoming follow up.
[Quotation]"This novel addresses the idea of transformed society and reality in a manner that incites wonder and imagination, and associates with the science fiction novel, focusing on the distortions of society and the emergence of brutalism, where the lives of people are traded off for the decline of moral and human values."[Quotation]
Out of misfortune, state of Jammu and Kashmir has also experienced brutalism in this form.