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See also: brutalism


Buffalo City Court Building, built 1971–1974 by Pfohl, Roberts, and Biggie, is a classic example of Brutalism's imposing aesthetic

Alternative forms[edit]


brutal +‎ -ism. Popularized in 1954 by the English architects Alison and Peter Smithson, from earlier Swedish nybrutalism (New Brutalism),[1] after French béton brut (raw concrete), the material favored by Le Corbusier.


Brutalism (uncountable)

  1. (architecture) A style of modernist architecture characterized by angular geometry and overt signs of the construction process.
    Synonym: New Brutalism
    • 2000, Katherine Shonfield, Walls Have Feelings: architecture, film and the city, Taylor & Francis (Routledge), page 20,
      In similar spirit, Nigel Henderson, a member of the Independent Group's Brutalist core, exhibited black and white photographs of the East End at the 1953 ICA show Parallel of Life and Art which stressed the unsanitised reality of everyday life: Peter Smithson's defence of Brutalism through the categorical rhetoric of objectivity and truth, quoted above, echoes Anderson.
    • 2004, B. M. Boyle, Brutalism, R. Stephen Sennott (editor), Encyclopedia of Twentieth Century Architecture, Volume 1: A-F, Taylor & Francis (Fitzroy Dearborn), page 181,
      Nonetheless, despite its radical appearance, Brutalism could claim, if not legitimacy, at least ancestry in pre-World War II modernism.
    • 2005, Rodney Bolt, Bavaria, Cadogan Guides, page 26,
      The trend towards Brutalism - an austere style that had its origins in the Bauhaus and is characterized by its emphasis on the building materials (especially bare concrete) and unconcealed service pipes - did little to improve the situation.

Derived terms[edit]


Further reading[edit]


  1. ^ Jonathan Meades (2014-02-13), “The incredible hulks: Jonathan Meades' A-Z of brutalism”, in The Guardian[1]: “The term nybrutalism, new brutalism, was the jocular coinage of architect Hans Asplund. He applied it to a small house in Uppsala, in his native Sweden, designed in 1949 by his contemporaries Bengt Edman and Lennart Holm and built of bricks.”