Eschewing refinement, Brutalist architecture was both a reaction to the style that came before it and a necessity of the times. The movement, characterized by ruggedness and bulk and which saw its glory from the 1950s through the 1970s, rejected the flair and finesse of 1930s and 1940s architecture and, at the same time, answered the need for inexpensive structures which resulted from the economic depression that followed the Second World War.
Because of its disregard for comfort, at least in a visual sense, Brutalism — whose name is derived from the French word “brut,” which means raw — has often been overlooked, notwithstanding the appreciation it got for its straightforwardness and utilitarian quality. In recent years, however, Brutalism has experienced a resurgence in popularity. The Brutalist idiom is once again being showcased, discussed and analyzed, on the Internet, in books, and even in film, such as the 2015 dystopian feature “High Rise.”
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Brutalism is also the subject of a new series of illustrations commissioned by British financial comparison website Gocompare as a tribute to the oft-excluded but nevertheless remarkable style. The series features illustrations of nine of the most recognizable and best known Brutalist buildings around the world, including the seminal Unité d’Habitation by Swiss architect Le Corbusier which is located in Marseille, France. The other colorful but fittingly rendered illustrations are of the following structures:
- Balfron Tower by Ernő Goldfinger – London, England
- Le Grand Hotel du Lac by Raffaele Contigiani – Tunis, Tunisia
- The Barbican Estate by Chamberlin, Powell and Bon – London, England
- De Rotterdam by Rem Koolhaas – Rotterdam, The Netherlands
- Kurpaty Health Resort by Igor Vasilevsky – Yalta, Ukraine
- Habitat 67 by Moshe Safdie – Montreal, Canada
- Torre Velasca by BBPR – Milan, Italy
- Torres Blancas by Francisco Javier Sáenz de Oiza – Madrid, Spain
Some of the illustrations can be found below. View the whole series and read about the buildings here.