HomeLifestyletwo hundred and fifty shades of brutalism – Liberation

    two hundred and fifty shades of brutalism – Liberation

    A new illustrated book, published by Phaidon, highlights the figures of this emblematic international architectural movement of the post-war period, from Ricardo Bofill to Oscar Niemeyer, passing more recently by Zaha Hadid.

    “Even Gwyneth Paltrow is a fan.” The sentence, a tad ironic, can sound like a provocation. However, according to its progenitor, Owen Hopkins, it perfectly translates a very contemporary reality, namely the trendy fascination for brutalist architecture, erected in raw concrete, “in celebrity fashion”. Books, exhibitions (in particular, SOS Brutalism – save the concrete monstersitinerant since 2017), by-products (the tourist card Brutalist Paris for example)… This post-war architectural movement, which gives pride of place to a material today contested for its environmental footprint, has aroused both passion and admiration for the past fifteen years. Last part in the machine: The Brutalistsa sum devoted to the contributors – they were rarely women -, of this movement, published at the beginning of March by Phaidon, a century-old house dedicated to architecture and design and signed by the architectural curator and British art historian Owen Hopkins SO.

    Beautiful object, illustrated by black and white photos, the work thus gives to see through some of their achievements all in nuances 250 architects of this current of the reconstruction and “of the oil age”, pioneers or heirs, stars or anonymous, tutelary figures or contemporaries, throughout the world. Let us cite, by way of example: the Frenchman Emile Aillaud behind the Aillaud towers or “Cloud towers”, residential buildings erected in Nanterre in 1977, all in height which contrasts with the standardization of the large ensembles of the post-war boom period; the Brazilian Oscar Niemeyer who also delivered clearly brutalist civil buildings like the courthouse in Brasilia in 1972; or the Serb Bogdan Bogdanović, representative of the movement in Yugoslavia with memorials such as the Stone Flower, erected in Jasenovac in Croatia in 1966 for the victims of the concentration camps.

    It is that, still according to the author, the brutalist project, far from being limited to raw concrete, is (say, was, if we consider that it belongs to a bygone past, that of before the oil shock of 1973, which led to a “aesthetic impasse”) at once social, political and philosophical – even a way of life –, with the aim of transforming the world for greater equality. But this project already carried in its beginnings all its contradictions and its duality: it was an international movement, with a paragon style of modernity, which always knew how to adapt to the local with regional variations – Japanese, South American or Yugoslav . “They not only sought to create the future, they showed that it was already there”, summarizes the author about these architects who, for many, have signed public buildings (churches, libraries, stadiums, town halls, museums, universities) or emblematic and daring manifestos. We obviously think of the residential unit, the Cité radieuse du Corbusier in Marseille, erected in 1952 which served as a model and sign the brutalist turn of the most famous modernist architects or the most recent buildings of the Italian star-architects Massimiliano Fuksas such as the parish complex of San Paolo, in Foligno erected in 2009.

    the brutalists, Owen Hopkins, ed. Phaidon, pp. 368, 59.95 euros.

    Source link