chapter  Two
20 Pages

Ethic or Aesthetic?

WithSimon Henley

In writing the 1955 essay ‘The New Brutalism’, Banham seeks to establish and broadcast a new movement, which he states is uniquely both the construct of an historian and the collective manifesto of a group of architects and artists. The Smithsons were keen to see Brutalism as the natural development of the Modern Movement, and to make a strong association with the Japanese way of life and architecture that influenced that movement. Banham’s preoccupation with the Smithsons lacks criticality. Banham dismissed their entry as a ‘fairly routine exercise in Mainstream Modernism’. Banham traces the reconciliation in the early 1960s of the Picturesque movement and the New Brutalism – movements that in the previous decade had been arch-enemies. Finally, Banham marks the death of the New Brutalism with the Smithson’s Economist Building and Stirling and Gowan’s Leicester Engineering Building.