Brutalist Design: History And Contemporary Applications In Recent Design & Architecture

Brutalism architecture is a particular style of architecture that obviously produces a new architectural movement. The style appears in 1950s-1970s and this is firstly inspired by Le Corbusier, an architect from Swiss, and Ludwig Mies van der Rohe. Like other design styles in architecture, Brutalism brings a distinctive feature like the material choice with raw concrete and hard metal as the basic materials. Based on visual appearance, most of Brutalism designs deliver some particular patterns such as geometry, block, repetitive shape, and minimalist look (ornament-less).

Historical Background of Brutalism

Historically, Brutalism is well connected to an ideology of social delusion supported by Brutalism designers such as Peter Smithson and Alison. They often highlight the failure of designs and make this failure as the main inspiration. Brutalism had been developing well in the middle of 20st when England got the economic pressure after World War Second. People were looking for low-cost living space and many of them used the bare concrete and brick as the main material of home structure. Some added hard metal taken from ex-factories or ex-manufactures for a firm, durable, and sturdy home. In this era, the community saw the opportunity to get a proper live by owning a low-cost living space with a low-cost construction method. The style was then developed for public facilities such as commercial & business properties, government buildings, etc.

Few years ago, brutalism is regarded as the style destroyer, meaning that all brutalism constructions look like the junks due to its material, hard and heavy steels. Visually, such hard and heavy material can make the whole construction is quite far from value of aesthetic.

Combined with the social desire, brutalism was adopted as a positive choice for future of urban housing, but in practice, many of brutalism-style buildings were lacking of public service features. By contrast, brutalism grew well in narrow buildings and tenement houses for crime. It needs decades to transform them into a positive community. The rough and cold concrete is smoothly added with some softer materials for eliminating the sense of heavy and boring look of brutalism buildings. In modern era, many brutal buildings are later regarded as the landmarks by their community due to their striking appearance and uniqueness. Even today, the bad memory of brutal concept has triggered to make a comeback and gives a new and positive development in home design and architecture.

Brutalism concept also means a style of architecture with the dominance of hard materials and concrete as the basic structure and modern fabricated materials like steel and transparent glass as the supporting elements. Sometimes, the designers also add bricks and hard stones to interiors or exteriors of Brutalism homes for a rustic touch.

Actually, Brutalism doesn’t limit the designers to apply such things; you can modify it into a more interesting look based on your personal style. Maybe you want to insert another style for a personal touch like a vintage, Boho, traditional, etc, but it’s important to keep the main idea of brutalism existed in your home design.

Brutalism Features

According the physical form, brutalism generally has some characteristics. First, brutalism is closely related to a strange form, simply deviating from the common rules of forms. Second, the structures with brutalism mostly use the exposed cement/ concrete with hard texture. Third, heavy structure is the soul of brutalism and no need final finishing. Fourth, the form of architecture tends to be rigid and coarse; commonly contradicted each other. Fifth, brutalism uses the designs that visually combine the smoothness and hardness of concrete. Sixth, the architecture can consist of other materials like glass and brick that can support the block shape and formation.

Brutalism in Contemporary Applications

Interestingly, brutalism comeback now is inspiring many young home designers and architects. Many appreciations have been delivered to this unique style of design and architecture. Published on some popular books, magazines, and newspapers, brutalism lovers should celebrate their artsy architectural style. This is a proof of how this style amazingly becomes a new trend right now.

Talking more about brutalism, Brad Dunning from GQ states an interesting theory. He states that brutalism is like a techno music in architecture. It’s menace and stark. Brutalism buildings have some benefits; they are hard to destroy but they are not easy to maintain. They need more budget for maintaining. They’re also difficult to remodel or to change, meaning that they are what the designers intend to. Maybe today Brutalism is softer than the previous one; it can feature some other styles of design and architecture for a trendy and fresh look (called new brutalism).

New brutalism, most designers call it ‘brutalist’ or ‘raw,’ is a new trend of brutalism that principally leaves the old brutalism idea and prefers evoking a modern and minimalist design. It also brings the different color shades: more saturated, but black-white and other palettes tend to be incoherent each other.

In contemporary application, brutalist now emerges through the furniture pieces and they can blend with any design styles including the brutalist itself. Built from raw concrete, most brutalist furniture pieces visually display a special beauty behind the cold, hard, and rough raw concrete, delivering a sophisticated look to any spaces. They commonly collaborate with other most common manifested pieces of brutalist concept like wall sculptures and lighting to produce a characterful brutalist theme. There are so many ideas of brutalist in design & architecture and today this style is becoming a part of the hottest trend. It’s true not all people are interested in this style but this style has its own communities who always bring the brutalism idea as the main concept of their home design. More interestingly, they never leave all things that are on trend recently. This of course will be an inspiring idea how brutalism exactly brings a different look to any home design styles. If we want to make this style as the main theme, just let the raw concrete or heavy steel dominate the space and put the supporting interior pieces as the accents. Create the heavy structure as your direct statement.

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