Brutalism, 20 iconic buildings around the world

The Brutalist movement tells at different latitudes of the spirit of rebirth of the post-war period, of the desire to refound a functional and unashamedly antigraceful architecture in defiance of fashion, imbued with social responsibility. 

Ray Eames used to say that things that work are better than things that are beautiful because things that work remain beautiful.

And it seems that, albeit in a different cultural context, it is this conviction that has given rise to Brutalism, an architectural movement that spread through Europe and then around the world since the 1950s onwards, at a time of disorientation and transition when Mankind, wounded by war, was rising up to refound the culture of building: no longer the pure lines of the Modern Movement but an approach that privileges ethics over aesthetics, that embraces spontaneity and intentional roughness as a manifesto of a blunt and anti-rhetorical functionalism.

It is an architecture alien to any intellectualism, which speaks to the masses whose needs it interprets, especially in the conception of civic and community architecture. The common denominator in the composition is beton brut: exposed reinforced concrete which, starting with Le Corbusier's first Unité d'Habitation in Marseilles, became the expressive code of the movement at all latitudes.

Despite the assumptions, after its initial glories, Brutalism has been branded as an emblem of the dysfunctions of the modern city, also because of the material degradation that has often prevented its durability, to the good peace of Eames. However, the need for socially responsible, concrete architecture that is not in the limelight of fashion and is laconically authentic is a legacy of "grey architecture" - if not on a formal level, then certainly on a conceptual one - that must be confronted, especially today.  Brutalism is dead, long live brutalism.

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