Abirpothi

India’s only daily art newspaper

A Comeback of the Architectural Style known as Brutalist Architecture

“Brutalist architecture was Modernism\’s angry underside, and was never, much as some would rather it were, a mere aesthetic style. It was a political aesthetic, an attitude, a weapon, dedicated to the precept that nothing was too good for ordinary people. Now, after decades of neglect, it is divided between \’eyesores\’ and \’icons\’; fine for the Barbican\’s stockbrokers but unacceptable for the ordinary people who were always its intended clients.”

Owen Hatherley

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Among the post-war reconstruction initiatives in the United Kingdom in the 1950s, the architectural style that first appeared was the brutalist architecture. The concentration on materials, textures, and construction in the brutalist style results in extremely expressive forms. Rough, unpolished surfaces, strange shapes, materials that look heavy, straight lines, and small windows are common indicators of brutalism. In 1949, Swedish architect Hans Asplund used the term \”brutalism\” to describe a square brick house he called the Villa Göth. Around this time, brutalism began formally and spread swiftly.

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Jessica Stewart has written about brutalism and its comeback in an article “Brutalism: What Is It and Why Is It Making a Comeback?”, where she said that trends, are circular and what\’s old becomes new again. This is true for fashion, music, and art. In the case of architecture, there\’s no architectural style that exemplifies this principle better than Brutalism. From the mid-20th century, this style rose in popularity before reaching its peak in the mid-1970s, when it came crashing down as a model of bad taste. But that\’s all changing now, with a renewed interest and appreciation for this once-derided architectural style. Over the past 5 years, a new appreciation for Brutalism has emerged. Books like SOS Brutalism: A Global SurveyHow to Love BrutalismSoviet Bus Stops, and This Brutal World all celebrate the artistry of the architectural style. New Brutalist projects are even being built with distinct monumental concrete volumes, though the revival is often branded as “Neo Brutalism.” No one knows exactly why Brutalism has become fashionable once again, but Brad Dunning of GQ has an interesting theory: “Brutalism is the techno music of architecture, stark and menacing. Brutalist buildings are expensive to maintain and difficult to destroy. They can\’t be easily remodeled or changed, so they tend to stay the way the architect intended. Maybe the movement has come roaring back into style because permanence is particularly attractive in our chaotic and crumbling world.”

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Brutalist and modernist architecture has been an integral part of independent India’s architectural evolution and most campuses in the country are bound to have elements inspired by it. Having fallen out of favor post the 80s, brutalism is witnessing a revival in public opinion globally.

Let’s have a look at some most beautiful brutalist buildings in India

    1. Hall of Nations at Pragati Maidan, New Delhi; Architect: Raj Rewal

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    2. IIT DELHI: Architect: JK Chowdhury

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    3. AKBAR HOTEL, New Delhi; Architect: Shiv Nath Prasad

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    4. Shri Ram Centre for Art and Culture, New Delhi; Architect: Shivnath Prasad

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    5. New Delhi Municipal Council Building; Architect: Kuldip Singh

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    6. NCDC-Building, New Delhi; Architect: Kuldip Singh

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