Brutalism—the architectural style everyone loves to hate


Metro subway station, Washington DC

Brutalism was popular as an architectural style primarily in the 1950s and 1960s. Based primarily on the form of raw concrete, Brutalist buildings were identified in large part by their massing and de-emphasis on windows. In the United States, many Brutalist buildings were commissioned by the federal and city governments as a new form for civic buildings, and many of those same buildings have come to be derided by residents and visitors alike. One of the more popular examples of Brutalism is Washington, DC's subway system, known as the Metro. While many riders duly respect the signature soaring coffered ceilings of many of Metro's subway stations concrete, the low level of lighting causes others to decry the Brutalist subway as rat tunnels. Yet Metro's recent attempt to "improve" the situation by painting the raw concrete white at one subway station caused an extensive outcry against it. This architectural writer explains how, in her view, Brutalist architecture can be made more palatable to the masses.

Read

The case for preserving—and improving—brutalist architecture

By Amanda Kolson Hurley

The Washington Post

May 25, 2017

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