After the Second World war most of Europe’s cities were in pieces. City centres and housing had been smashed by 6 years of conflict and what was needed was a plan to rebuild and rebuild quickly so that the continent could get back on it’s feet in terms of commerce, governmental and educational buildings, employment for men and women retuning from the war, and affordable housing for everyone. The answer to this was seen to be concrete and the fact that with a steel structure to pour it on building could have new design and more importantly be built quickly and cheaply. It was a truly Modernist answer to an age-old problem.
The first use was for high rise accommodation that required, once it was finished it required Block Management Services of the type that can be provided by companies such as http://www.completepropertygroup.co.uk/property-block-and-estate-management/ although the original services were not as good by any means. Influenced by the artist Le Corbusier designs set out to create a the most function looking building they could imagine with the emphasis being how the building worked. Any sense of the ornamental was superfluous and not needed. After the war there was a push to disregard the past as it had lead to the conflict and new ideas needed to be encouraged.
The most important element of the Brutalist building is not that it looks pretty. The true joy of the Brutalist building is that if its doing its job then that is its real beauty, form and function precede over all considerations. They are “unpretentiously honest” what you see if very much what you get. The style has had many critics even some suggesting that it would have been better to leave the original rubble in the first place. The problem is that initially the building looks amazing but over time as the concrete weathers it, it becomes stained making it look very shabby and worn. This is very true in temperate areas like Britain, Scandinavian countries and the Coast of Europe. The Soviet Union embraced the concept whole heartedly and this soon began a stereotype of the gloomy politburo/KGB dungeon so favoured by its western critics. One famous British example was the reviled Tricorn centre in Portsmouth now demolished. Others, still standing include.
- Trellick Tower Flats – London
- Boston City Hall
- Unite d’habitation – Marsellie
- Balfron Tower Flats – London
- Habitiat 67- Montreal
- Western City Gate – Belgrade
- Indian Universtity Art Museum – Bloomgington
- Torre Velasca – Milan
- Sainte Marie de La Tourette – Eveux
- AfE – Turm – Frankfurt.
Although now out of favour Brutalism remains a diverse and engaging form of architectural design that has and will continue to cause controversy.