SOS Brutalism

There’s nothing like a bit of Brutalism to get us excited and for the first time, the brutalist architecture of the 1950s to 1970s is shown in a worldwide overview in ‘SOS Brutalism’ published by Park Books. And this book (and its  is beautiful. Satisfyingly thick, printed on gorgeous slick paper and just holding it makes the reader look more intelligent.

Fritz Wotruba: Holy Trinity Church, Wien-Mauer, 1971–1976. Photo: Wolfgang Leeb 2011

Fritz Wotruba: Holy Trinity Church, Wien-Mauer, 1971–1976. Photo: Wolfgang Leeb 2011

Brutalist architecture celebrates the raw, the bare construction – the simple, blocky, at times seemingly ugly in their severity buildings, that became popular across the world from the mid-1950’s into the ’70’s. The publishers have presented the title across two books. The whopping Global Survey hardback covers every country globally with notable brutalist structures, with the paperback edition outlining the history of the discipline.

O. Gurevich / V. Zhukov: Hotel Rus, Saint Petersburg, Russia, 1980–1988. Photo: Konstantin Antipin 2016

O. Gurevich / V. Zhukov: Hotel Rus, Saint Petersburg, Russia, 1980–1988. Photo: Konstantin Antipin 2016

The expressive buildings were created in an experimental time, full of social upheaval. But many see these buildings as concrete monsters. Today, many of these always-controversial buildings are in danger of demolition or, at least, of reconstruction that often may change their appearance beyond recognition.

London Borough of Camden Architect’s Department (Neave Brown): Alexandra and Ainsworth Estate, London, Great Britain, 1967–1979. Photo: Gili Merin 2017

London Borough of Camden Architect’s Department (Neave Brown): Alexandra and Ainsworth Estate, London, Great Britain, 1967–1979. Photo: Gili Merin 2017

In recent years, an initiative to protect and preserve this significant global heritage of 20th-century architecture has gained momentum. The rescue campaign, #SOSBrutalism is being used by the Deutsches Architekturmuseum in Frankfrt on the Main and the Wüstenrot Foundation, and they have developed a vast collaborative research project. This is the accompanying book. Sit back and enjoy.

 

 

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