Architectural Studies

Brutalism: Reinforcing Concrete

The architectural movement called Brutalism, they say, is coming back into fashion. But what was Brutalism?

“The Beauty of Brutalism” (BBC News, 2016, 2 mins.):


“Brutalism” (30 mins.):

NB: The plan for the Barbican dated as 1955 should be dated as 1965!

Below are two fairly recent short documentaries about two of the best-known examples of Brutalist council estate housing in London. But while one, The Barbican, is generally viewed as a successful development, the other, Robin Hood Gardens, is widely seen as an abject failure (as a development–though opinions are highly polarized about its architectural significance).

“The Barbican: A Middle Class Housing Estate” (Architecture Foundation, 2015, 6 mins.):


“Robin Hood Gardens: Requiem for a Dream” (Architectural Review, 2014, 9 mins.):


Here is a short video released by English Heritage defending and explaining their decision not to recommend Robin Hood Gardens for historical listing.

“Robin Hood Gardens” (English Heritage, 2009, 5 mins.):


And, finally, in case you are interested, here is an announcement from the Victoria & Albert Museum that they will preserve a section of Robin Hood Gardens in their collection.

Brutal(ism) Quiz

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