chapter  One
12 Pages

Brutalism is not a Corpse

WithSimon Henley

Monolithic, heavy and inscrutable, unfamiliar and incomprehensibly unfriendly, it seemed at a certain point in history to invade our cities. In the 1960s, in the UK, governments marshalled house builders to deliver hundreds of thousands of homes per year. This led to factories manufacturing precast concrete elements on an industrial scale. Very different from a South American architect seeking a language, and way of building, that might begin to represent an emerging nation on the world stage. Much that has been written about Brutalism is written from an English perspective. The essence of Brutalism comes from looking at it in its many historical, geographical, cultural and material guises. Brutalism was given a voice, a position, by Alison and Peter Smithson’s polemic and subsequently by their friend, Reyner Banham.