Brutalist Architecture: History and Applications

Design Of Architecture

Brutalist Architecture: History and Applications

After World War II, Brutalist architecture arose in the 1950s as a forceful statement on the built environment. Assertive and angular, Brutalist buildings emphasize functionality above beauty and use raw, bare concrete.

A Post-War Response

The need for fast reconstruction drove Brutalist architects like Le Corbusier and Alison and Peter Smithson to favor concrete. It was cheap, accessible, and could be sculpted. These architects felt Brutalist buildings could promote community and social equality, symbolizing post-war ideal.

Beyond Monolith: Brutalism Applications

Many applications favored brutalist design. Universities like Sussex in England adopted the style for its durability and timeless appeal.

The Boston Public Library’s McKim

Building was Brutalist, creating mammoth learning rooms. Even London’s Robin Hood Gardens sought to provide respectable and useful housing.

We Love/Hate Brutalist Architecture

Today Brutalist architecture legacy is complicated. Some like its honesty and monumentality, but others find it frigid, monolithic, and suffocating. Its association with dictatorial regimes has ruined its image. However, Brutalist buildings are being valued as historic pieces. Many are being restored and reinterpreted to stay in the city.


Brutalist architecture remains controversial. Its raw beauty and powerful forms give a new viewpoint on architecture. Whether admired or loathed, Brutalist constructions recall a time of social and architectural upheaval, making us question how design shapes our society.