19 Examples of the Divisive Style of Brutalist Architecture

19 Examples of the Divisive Style of Brutalist Architecture

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Brutalist architecture was born out of necessity. The style, which emerged during Great Britain's Post-War reconstruction project and is famous for its stark, exposed concrete facades, divides opinion with some calling it cold and soulless and others praising its iconic timeless feel.

Some associate the style with urban decay and totalitarianism, while others argue it's representative of nature's stark beauty. Here are 19 examples of Brutalist architecture worldwide — what do you think?


1. The Monument to the Revolution, Croatia

The Monument to the Revolution of the people of Moslavina is a World War II memorial by Dušan Džamonja. Located in Podgarić, Berek, Croatia, which is dedicated to the people of Moslavina who lost their lives during WWII.

It is one of many examples — including the Holocaust memorial in Berlin — of the Brutalist architectural style used to memorialize a stark past.

2. Geisel Library, U.S.

Geisel Library is the main library building of the University of California San Diego. It was designed by William Pereira, opened in 1970, and is named in honor of Theodor Seuss Geisel, better known as Dr.Seuss. It has received iconic status with the building even being featured on the UC San Diego logo.

3. Habitat 67, Canada

Habitat 67, also simply known as Habitat, is a housing complex and model community in Montreal, Quebec, Canada that was originally designed by Israeli-Canadian architect Moshe Safdie as part of his master's thesis.

4. Barbican Centre, U.K.

The Barbican Centre in London is famous for the wealth of cultural arts performances — the center hosts classical and contemporary music concerts, theatre performances, film screenings, and art exhibitions — that take place in its interior and its contrasting Brutalist exterior.

5. The Cathedral of Saint Mary of the Assumption, U.S.

The Cathedral of Saint Mary of the Assumption, known locally as Saint Mary's Cathedral, is the principal church of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of San Francisco in San Francisco, California. It is known for its unusual Brutalist sloping spire.

6. The Hill of the Buddha, Japan

This structure's starkly beautiful Brutalist style makes it slightly resemble an encasing for a nuclear site.

The Hill of the Buddha is, in fact, a Buddhist shrine at Makomanai Takino Cemetery in Sapporo, Japan that was designed by modernist architect Tadao Ando. The artificial hill rotunda surrounding the Buddha is home to 150,000 lavender plants.

7. Boston City Hall, U.S.

An icon of Brutalist Boston, Boston City Hall, which was built at the height of Brutalist architecture's popularity in the 60s, certainly has its critics.

“There is somewhat of a curious alignment of the left and the right against brutalism, because the left sees it as like oppressive government and the right sees it as big government,” Mark Pasnik, an architecture professor at Wentworth Institute of Technology, told

8. The Arts Tower, U.K.

The Arts Tower in Sheffield, United Kingdom, houses lecture theatres for students of the University of Sheffield and is also known for its paternoster elevator, which is constantly moving and you have to hop on and off to get where you want to go.

9. Middle East Technical University, Lecture Hall, Turkey

Commonly referred to as METU, the Middle East Technical University in Ankara is an example of Brutalist architecture designed by Behruz Çinici. The lecture halls in particular serve as a tribute to the style.

10. The High Court of Australia

Located in Canberra, the High Court of Australia building utilizes the Brutalist style to emphasize the authority of the law.

11. National Theatre, London, U.K.

Alongside the Barbican Centre, the National Theatre in London is one of Great Britain's best known Brutalist architecture structures. It is one of the U.K.'s most prominent publicly funded performing arts venues.

12. Robin Hood Gardens, U.K.

Built as a council estate in Poplar, London, Robin Hood Gardens was designed in the late 1960s by architects Alison and Peter Smithson and completed in 1972.

13. The Economist building, U.K.

The Economist building in London is the central office for the Economist Magazine. Plans to remodel the Grade II listed building in 2017 were met with widespread criticism.

14. Bank of Georgia HQ

This 18-story building that looks like a set of Jenga blocks was acquired by the Bank of Georgia in 2007. It was designed by architects George Chakhava and Zurab Jalaghania and the engineer was Temur Tkhilava.

15. Longarone memorial church, Italy

This church was designed by Italian architect Giovanni Michelucci as a memorial to the people who died during the Vajont Dam disaster that saw part of a mountain fall in the water being held by the dam, causing a tsunami of water to come crashing into the villages below.

The church's interior slightly resembles the dam itself, with its Brutalist style and its slanted concrete walls.

16. Alexandra Road Estate, U.K.

The Alexandra Road Estate, London, was designed in a brutalist style by Neave Browne in 1968. Constructed from site-cast, board-marked white, unpainted reinforced concrete, the site includes 520 apartments, a school, community center, youth club, and parkland.

17. Druzhba Holiday Center, Ukraine

Druzhba Holiday Center, Black Sea Resort in Ukraine from r/bizarrebuildings

The Druzhba Holiday Center, Black Sea Resort in Ukraine is a massive cylindrical UFO-shaped building that serves as a holiday resort and is located in the touristic town of Yalta, on the Black Sea.

18. The Russian State Scientific Center for Robotics and Technical Cybernetics

While many argue that the Brutalist architecture style is outdated, it is seeing somewhat of a resurgence, with many also arguing that its utilitarian nature makes it timeless and modern.

The laboratory tower of the Central Research Institute of the RTC has a suitably futuristic purpose — it is home to robot, software, and computer designers.

19. The Angel of the North, U.K.

The Angel of the North was designed by sculptor Anthony Gormley and is located in Gateshead, Tyne and Wear, England.

According to Gormley, the Brutalist angel sculpture, which was designed using a cast of his own body, was built to symbolize three different things: the significance of its location, where coal miners worked for two centuries; the transition from an industrial to an information age; and our evolving hopes and fears.

Watch the video: Living in a soviet era flat (November 2022).