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What is brutalism?

I was discussing with my client what style does he wanted for his home, “Architect, can you design me a minimalist and a practical one?” he asked. I answered with enthusiasm “brutalism would suit you best.” My client was confused with the word brutalist and had second thoughts about it.

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nothing brutal with brutalism

This is not the first time that saying the word brutalism scares off a client. The ‘Brut’ in Brutalism is not, in the misguided belief of many, a reference to the genre’s seeming ‘brutality’. People outside the design circle would think brutalism is not a good word – negative, punishingly hard, or uncomfortable.

Brutalist architecture is an architectural style that emerged during the 1950s in the United Kingdom, among the reconstruction projects of the post-war era. The term originates from the use, by the pioneer modern architect and painter Le Corbusier. Brutalism referred specifically to the use of untreated and exposed concrete — béton brut in French. Brutalist buildings are characterized by minimalist constructions that showcase the bare building materials and structural elements over decorative design. Since then, English-speaking architects transformed the term into the style Brutalism, which signified their embrace of natural and untreated materials as both the ethic and aesthetic of the design. These architects claimed that exposed concrete, iron, and wood communicated values of honesty and transparency — ironic, considering the later interpretations of the style.

Brutalism is simply like a naked cake for pastries and a no-makeup look for the make-up industry. It is exhilarating and raw, with rough textures emphasizing heavy materials and construction. To its endearing credit, Brutalism is honest and undisguised, naked and apparent, in truth a prepossessing manifestation of modernism. 

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