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The Brutalist Comeback

May 06 2016

As one of the most controversial architectural movements of the 20th century, the Brutalism Period has been believed by many to express an architectural reaction to the atmosphere, rather than an adopted and preferred style of the time.

 Brutalism placed emphasis on texture; materials and construction were seen as a highly expressive insight into the mindset of many across the country, at the time. Post-war Britain saw a surge in these stark and brash buildings being erected in cities across the country, rebuilding life and business along the way.

 Dubbed brutalism after the French word ‘béton brut’ meaning raw concrete, the architectural styling saw rough, unfinished concrete formed into unusual shapes, typically with small windows, and paired with materials like wood, glass and stone to achieve the rugged and harsh exteriors that have long since been synonymous with the movement.

Brutalism in the Past

Many buildings that conformed to the brutalism architectural stylings were built like fortresses – exposed concrete construction and rugged brickwork; imposing and strong against the world that was out to get them. The function of the buildings was apparent in their design, with visible air conditioning and repeated modular designs across the board.

 The style was particularly popular with educational establishments and universities, high-rise housing projects and shopping centres.

 Some of the biggest names in UK brutalism include Erno Goldfinger, Alison and Peter Smithson and Sir Basil Spence.

Brutalism Today

Today, the brutalism movement as it traditionally existed, was a thing of the past by the mid-1980s. However, similar stylings and buildings can be seen but with softer exteriors, that are often sandblasted with a stucco render.

 Many of the original brutalist movement buildings are still seen in towns and cities across the UK, in the form of office buildings, tower blocks and even car parks. Much of the movement has been deemed demolished or rebuilt and adapted to look more modern, but a lot of brutalism remains thanks to listed building status, like Preston Bus Station.

 These days, styles and designs are resurfacing that are reminiscent of brutalism but are much more simple and minimalist, with well-planned and polished finishing touches, such as exposed brickwork and function; as opposed to raw building materials en masse.

 Here at Concrete Renovations, we specialise in concrete repairs for buildings old and new that are in need of some superficial and in-depth care, to restore them to their rightful state.

 If you’re in need of concrete repair work or any of our other services, please contact us on 01733 560362 today. 

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