Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Brutalism in Architecture

Brutalism in Architecture: Often characterized by sharp geometrical repetition in the form of raw concrete, brutalist architecture signified Western diplomatic stoicism in the Cold War. Having originated in Western Europe in the 1950s, brutalism's aesthetic appeal centered on creating an atmosphere of impersonality. At the time, Americans and Western Europeans maintained a dreadfully serious outlook toward the communist threat posed by the Soviet Union. One of brutalism's main purposes, therefore, was to prove that liberal democracies, which had failed during both World Wars, could be just as efficient and disciplined as totalitarian regimes (but without the blatant civil rights violations). Even though the basic philosophical tenets of brutalist architecture contain utopian underpinnings, its two major principles include repetition and rigidity. Brutalism's repetitive nature gives it a sense of consistency while its rigid (angular) geometric features engender an aura of permanence. In short, brutalist architecture represented a Western effort to demonstrate the socio-political stability of postwar democratic societies.

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