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Brutalist buildings


ScotM
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Put me in the Hate It camp. What is with Universities and Brutalist architecture? 

 

My least favorite building on the University of Cincinnati campus. 

3546348607_d60d612554_b.jpg

 

As bad as they are on the outside working in a building with so few windows must be awful. 

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God, we really derailed this thread, didn't we? Sorry @ScotM...

 

5 hours ago, McCarthy said:

Put me in the Hate It camp. What is with Universities and Brutalist architecture? 

 

Universities started expanding (both in building stock and founding of new schools) at a rapid rate all over North America when Brutalism was at its peak. At least in Canada, a few universities were founded and master planned in the 60s (Trent, York, etc), the style was in, and it suits institutional use well (much of it is panelized, it is quick and low cost).

 

Trent U was master planned by renowned Canadian architect and drinker Ron Thom and is a very beautiful campus.

Trent-University-Water.jpg

U3iIUKI.jpg

 

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7 minutes ago, Mings said:

There is bad brutalist architecture, and there is freaking great brutalist architecture. I'll school you guys when I get home tonight.

 

I'll agree with that.  Just between the two pictures I posted, I can't stand the courthouse and I like the library (which, as noted, is much better looking with a fresh paint job than it was when it was all beige concrete).

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The former Calgary Board of Education building, here in... well, Calgary.
ZKHFcRl.jpg
cbe1.jpg
To reply to what someone else said, this place actually is abandoned now - the school board moved out 5 years ago, to my knowledge this place has sat empty ever since.

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42 minutes ago, lopernv said:

God, we really derailed this thread, didn't we? Sorry @ScotM...

 

 

Universities started expanding (both in building stock and founding of new schools) at a rapid rate all over North America when Brutalism was at its peak. At least in Canada, a few universities were founded and master planned in the 60s (Trent, York, etc), the style was in, and it suits institutional use well (much of it is panelized, it is quick and low cost).

 

Trent U was master planned by renowned Canadian architect and drinker Ron Thom and is a very beautiful campus.

Trent-University-Water.jpg

U3iIUKI.jpg

 

Thank you for answering my question. To my untrained eye that is good Brutalism. I like that. I just really hate the soulless, windowless, Mega City 1, alien powersource lookin' motherf******. 

 

Like the Ohio Historical Society museum Yuck.

64646127.jpg

 

The easy joke's always been that a museum of Ohio history should be boring and lifeless so the building design is actually perfect. 

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I actually just happened upon this article on Brutalism totally by chance (believe it or not), but it's a great read. It seems like it's adapted from 99% Invisible, I haven't listened to this particular episode but it is a great podcast.

 

Why Brutalist Architecture Is So Hard to Love (Bostonians Hate Their City Hall, But Architects Love It)

 

Quote

Back in the 1960s, Victorian-style buildings were considered hideous and impossible to repair. We were tearing batches of Victorians down to erect big concrete buildings. But some Victorians were saved—and today, some of them are considered treasures. Concrete architecture now finds itself at an inflection point: too outdated to be modern, too young to be classic. And a small but growing band of architects, architecture enthusiasts, and preservationists would like us to just wait a bit and see. Maybe, with a little time, we’ll come around to love these hulking concrete brutes.

 

This kind of brings me to another point: we are judging Brutalist structures using reasoning like "looking dilapidated" and "shows signs of time" when some of these buildings are over 60 years old. Your 60 year old aunt doesn't have perfect skin, either. Add to this poor maintenance and in some cases abandonment, and there you have it. Some of these buildings have been brought to such a state of neglect that it becomes almost contradictory to Brutalism's ideals and unfair to judge them this way, if we are being objective architectural critics.

 

I thought these two images from the article were really, really cool. A bunch of these have been posted here already: Trent U, Boston City Hall, Salk Institute. I love board form concrete.

150812_EYE_SaraBriggsRamsey1

150812_EYE_SaraBriggsRamsey2

 

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I don't have any great examples to share, but I'm a fan of the Brutalist style. Maybe it's because my elementary school was Brutalist:

 

28.jpg

 

(Sadly, that's the best picture I could find.)

 

I think I like the generally clean lines and the overall efficiency of the form. It's not friendly, for sure, but it's predictable and functional. I like that.

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I'm just not a fan of raw concrete. Some of the forms of the buildings are fine, but the feel of the concrete is not up to snuff IMO.

 

Take this from earlier:

U3iIUKI.jpg

 

To my untrained eye, at least, it looks pretty similar to my old college dorms, but the dorms use a more pleasing material.

 

Ellicott_Complex_in_winter.jpg

 

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Sorry I didn't post last night - I was working on a non-brutalist building until 10 last night (coincidentally one that is getting flak from the village Appearance Review Board where it's located because it isn't traditional enough - that's going to be a fun public meeting Tuesday).

 

I'll post more of my thoughts this weekend, but the buildings Matt posted in a list/pic are damn good examples if you Google them - especially Ezra Stiles College.

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looking forward to what you can share with us Mings. i've done some more Googln' this morning and i really like the ones where artist have painted on them. this example takes the cold, lifeless structure in the slums of Rio and transforms it into a place i would at least like to visit. i would love to see a before/after study on the crime rate and physiological effects in this area 

 

 

HT_favela_project_nt_131030_16x9_992.jpg

rio-de-janeiro-combo-tour-santa-teresa-corcovado-mountain-and-santa-in-rio-de-janeiro-152482.jpg

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