In the last few years, the interest towards brutalism increased a lot, and the overall attitude about this architectural style became less prejudicial.
This interest has been nourished and supported by several information and cultural initiatives focused on brutalism, as different exhibitions or the publication of a number of books and in-depths articles on magazines as well as on daily newspapers. The pictures in this gallery are part of a much wider and long term photo project on Brutalist architecture all over the world, aiming to rediscover these structures and their influence even in most recent projects and to represent them highlighting their peculiar and silent solemnity.
Also because of the “ideal” origins of the housing complexes and the distance between intentions and reality, Brutalist buildings were often targeted by several critics. That said, and avoiding to enter one more time in this debate, when the Brutalist language has been used for buildings of public utility, as museums, schools or even car parkings, they do not appear outdated and controversial to our contemporary vision. Quite the opposite.
Cement and its properties are really important for this style, whose very first and recognisable feature is usually exposed concrete with no plaster. It is somehow a display of pure forms, sometimes impudently and provocatively exhibited. These architectures are usually massive, no matter their dimensions, and their surface as well as their overall appearance is rough and harsh. From a photographic and aesthetic point of view a peculiar and interesting feature of Brutalist-looking buildings, even with some stretches also including several examples of Socialist architectures, is the persistent repetition of patterns. Most of these buildings, in fact, are obsessively featuring geometrical schemes, no matter if there are pure structural forms as bearing walls or precast concrete modules. A kind of architectural mantra.
Roberto Conte (1980), based in Monza (Milan) started to take pictures in 2006, exploring abandoned places in Italy and abroad. During the years he increasingly focused on architecture photography, in particular on buildings inspired by Brutalism and Socialist modernism. He collaborates with architecture studios and his pictures have been published on several publications and books. In 2015, he won the II Eurostars Berlin Photography Competition.