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  • Writer's picturechaithanya ganesh

Architectural movements: Brutalist Architecture


Brutalist architecture, or New Brutalism, is an architectural style that emerged during the 1950s in Great Britain and grew out of the early-20th century modernist movement, among the reconstruction projects of the post-war era.

“In order to be brutalist, a building has to meet three criteria, namely the clear exhibition of structure, the valuation of materials ‘as found’ and memorability as image.”

-Reyner Banham

Brutalism was generally characterized by its rough, unfinished surfaces, unusual shapes, heavy-looking materials, straight lines, and small windows.

This style of architecture for the use of functional reinforced concrete and steel, modular materials in its construction. Brutalist buildings tend to have a graphic quality which ultimately makes them very much appealing.

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The term Brutalism was originated from the verbal usage of "beton brut" which means raw concrete in French

Brutalist Architecture emerged after the second world war and ironically it was rooted in the ideas of functionalism and monumental simplicity that had defined architectural modernism earlier including the international style of architecture.

Prominent features of Brutalist Architecture are:

Visually heavy structures and geometric lines

Solid concrete frames

Double height ceilings

Massive forbidding walls

Exposed concrete

Mostly monochrome pallete

Minimalism over flashy design

Need over outlook

Holes in wall windows

Continous outer-skin texture

Popular examples of Brutalist Architecture are:

- Cité Radieuse, Marseille.


- The Breuer Building, New York City.


- Habitat 67, Montréal.


- Boston City Hall, Boston.


- Trellick Tower, London.