I hate brutalism because of... A really stupid reason


Well, I also love Brutalism. Thanks to all for sharing views.

Sep 12, 17 6:08 am

Even the Romans used travertine and marble veneer over their concrete buildings and bridges, which are still functional after 2,000 years. Apparently they couldn't stand the way bare concrete looks either.

Sep 12, 17 10:14 am

Yeah well there isn't a Holy Roman Empire anymore, so they were wrong. (yeah, that's reaching for straws there)


Romans (Roman Empire) and Holy Roman Empire are two totally different things...

I know. By time my brain fart ended, it was too late to edit.


As some of the people have replied to you and mentioned to you earlier, people can't judge the building or (even worse) a direction of architecture, based on trash in its surroundings. 

But, unfortunately, it is true that brutalist buildings which were built from the  50s or 60s onward, are very badly maintained if anything. This creates mold inside and around the object, dirt, sun and rain erosion on concrete and at the end people, who mostly don't have much knowledge in the history of architecture, judge based on their ''halo effect'' or first impression... And we should ask ourselves, if we can truly judge them for that. If a community or a society appreciates its' architectural inheritance, it should prove it with its' maintenance. Just like they maintain buildings from the 17th century. 

It is also true, that a lot of brutalist buildings, especially social housing blocks in the ex USSR countries and Yugoslavia, were mostly designed on cheap budget and thus cheap architecture, and societies, families that live in these conditions notice it, and loose respect for it and with that they loose interest in its maintainance. (if anything, they wanted to get out and get rid of it ) but these blocks have the lowest rents today, so it is a dillema. 

Here is a very good short documentary, showing how brutalist buildings (in this case a student dormitory) are maintained.
Location: Skopje, Macedonia.

Sep 12, 17 3:07 pm

It is not that the brutalist buildings are badly maintained; it's that they are shit to begin with.

Here is a photo of Boston College with it's collegiate gothic architecture and a photo of a brutalist college in London.

How batshit insane would you have to be to send your kid to the London school?

Sep 12, 17 4:46 pm

Some days I enjoy a sweet frothy vanilla cappuccino, some days I crave acid hot black espresso. Different moods.


How can you even compare these two? It's like comparing renaissance music, with techno from the 80s.

Sometimes I want to bang my head, sometimes I crave lute*.

*(I never, ever crave lute.)


Sounds batshit insane to send anyone to a private Jesuit Catholic research uni imo, I'd go with Brunel anytime (also or especially for the aesthetics or lack thereof)

What is that ugly building in the last photo? It looks like the headquarters of some evil space lord in a bad sci-fi movie.
Sep 12, 17 9:51 pm

Brunel Univ, London. Some of Clockwork Orange was filmed there.


Evil space lords somehow always manage to pick the more interesting architecture for their lairs and headquarters.

You speak truth, Evil One.



You need some lute, Donna.


Sep 12, 17 9:53 pm

I never, ever need lute.

OK, maybe Greensleeves.


Brutalism as an architectural design concept is interesting and noteworthy. But often it was applied to institutional clients - ask any government employees their thoughts on such buildings and you will quickly realize why it is so disliked. As architects we tend to fetishize things like brutalism -- this type of taste making is not for the average person for whom buildings have significance for their utility or historicism. 

Sep 13, 17 9:47 am

Billy is still a dick though even after 3 years.  That ungrateful twit had a lovely concrete trapezoid to play on.  

Sep 13, 17 10:51 am

LOL nice one mighty!


Billy and all the twits and assholes (when they grow up to be the Trumps of the world) --- oh that defines a huge percentage of humans on this planet should be relocated to Mars.


I disagree with many of he dislikes stated here. As a child I was in awe of Paul Rudolph's work and the sheer willingness to plan, design and build on a grande, complex and geometric scale. Remember, brutalism was modern and international style. All architects between 80 and 40 are supposed to love modern architecture because we were force fed it in architecture school. Brutalism at least attempted to stretch the box and the realm of reality when it was employed......given our bent for sustainability, perhaps brutalism will be revived someday.
Is not Louis Khans work brutalist.....was not some of Frank Lloyd Wrights work brutalist as well.....I don't know about you, but brutalist buildings such as Boston's City hall and many college campus buildings built during the 60s on Temple university's campus, and the One Merridian plaza tower, compelled me to become an architect. 

What about you?

Sep 13, 17 7:58 pm

Well, some parents take their kids to an outing at the Boston City Hall

And some parents take their kids to the Paris City Hall.

Sep 14, 17 2:38 pm

Those are both beautiful buildings! But see my post below:

Try harder, Volunteer. 

Sep 14, 17 2:45 pm
Non Sequitur

Love it!


There is no one in Paris, other than the Islamic terrorists, who would like top blow up their city hall, whereas half the population of Boston would love to see the Boston City Hall blown up. Just look at the building in the background. When did architects stop designing for people?

Non Sequitur

I like both equally.

Brutalism - buildings only an architect could love.


this is an irrelevant discussion, why don't y'all answer the question on this thread instead? I think that answer could shed light on some of the non conducive arguments here.

Sep 14, 17 4:21 pm

I've liked Sternburg here in Colorado...

Sep 14, 17 6:36 pm

Yet, humans spent a long period of their existence living in caves. Artificial buildings were only a short period of the existence of humans. So what's wrong with the artificial cave of rock and dirt.

I think that Brutalist buildings individuate at the wrong scale for human pattern recognition to function properly.

Sep 15, 17 12:29 pm

That's where the pattern of the wooden planks of the formwork comes in handy :)

It helps, but...


You can't cover all concrete with elaborate (computer cut!) styrofoam moldings, plaster and strips of brick so why not celebrate your building materials and show the craftsmanship that goes into a pour... I think it is nice to show how a building is made, be that of glass, wood, stone or concrete etc. I think some of the surface textures often found on the concrete of Brutalist buildings even have a direct relation to oldskool stone masonry techniques, passing on that torch in a (for that time) contemporary manner.

they are meant to be seen from reviewing stands, or during fly overs...


It's funny you mentioned trash when all I can think of is the Dada art movement. And people seem to love it!

Sep 16, 17 3:53 am

So not to dwell on the merits of the architectural style.

Why do common people, those not trained in art or architecture, hate brutalism.

1. they don't like the institutions housed in the buildings, Public housing city hall, public institutions of learning (desegregated schools and universities). These institutions are politically abhorrent to a lot of people and the architectural style most associated with providing housing for the poor and desegregated education is brutalism, and thus they hate the style of architecture.

2. They don't get the concept, it is too abstract or not clear and the meaning of the spaces and materials is lost.

3. the space, the materials, the physical conditions of wind temperature, glare or noise make them uncomfortable.

4. they lack a historic or human scale reference and can be from and located anywhere, there is no cultural or social attachment to the style or location of their sites.

5. They are not often looked at as light optimistic daring or futuristic,but more protected, anonymous and standoffish. These traits are not what the populace looks for or seeks as a form for housing, civic space or other architectural typologies. The architecture misses the mark as to what is expected and misses it by too much to be understood or valued.

I like brutalist buildings in the right setting and especially in the correct moment. Southern Illinois Carbondale has a fantastic brutalist building Faner Hall but they also have several high rise towers that have or are coming down. some are winners some are losers, the style brutalisum is often hard for people to understand, and in our ever changing and more frightening world people are looking for something that is easy to understand and sends the signal they want it to send. People don't have the time to think what a building is and they are more afraid now than ever to take risk and explore in an urban setting.

Over and OUT

Peter N

Sep 17, 17 10:36 pm

Brutalism evokes the warmth of North Korea, the joy of standing in line at the department of motor vehicles, the beauty of your average parking ramp. It is the architecture of socialism, communism, the gulag, the low-income housing development, the detention center.

Dec 6, 17 10:31 am
Non Sequitur

I love parking ramps. I drive down those spirals at full speed without looking forwards. Good times.

now I want soup


one time commenter trying to lit this dumpster, we have our own arsonists , thank you very much; and your evocation is quite limited, you need to walk around more.


"It is the architecture of socialism, communism, the gulag, the low-income housing development, the detention center." So you're saying it's the architecture of and for the people? Don't see anything wrong with that.

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