chapter  7
21 Pages

On brutalism

Crisis postponed
WithGevork Hartoonian

In this chapter, the author briefs the rapport between architecture and sculpture. He put forward his criticism of parametric architecture, looking back to brutalism, and contrasting design with the perception of the sculptural in the architecture of Brutalism. The image of heaviness permeating most Brutalist architecture relates to the raw quality of materiality, concrete in particular. It also relates to the configuration of architectonic elements such as staircases, openings, and brise-soleil, all detailed to convey the overall sculptural quality of the building. The aesthetic of spectacle permeating parametric architecture, by contrast, presents an image that is detached from the materiality of its surface articulations and from its canonic massing. Accordingly, the Hegelian distinction between architecture and sculpture evaporates and architecture turns into ornament par excellence. The dialogical rapport between image and materiality pursued throughout this chapter recalls Reyner Banham's juxtaposition of aesthetics with ethics and their allusion to the idea of work.