Stark and unadorned, Brutalist architecture is a touchstone of postmodernism. And although the style has detractors, it’s getting a lot of attention from modern audiences.
Social-media apps like Instagram have united Brutalism fans, and accounts posting photos of landmarks in the style have tens of thousands of followers. Books on the subject abound as well, from the exhaustive Atlas of Brutalist Architecture, which made The New York Times list of best art books in 2018, to art historian Chris van Uffelen’s Massive, Expressive, Sculptural: Brutalism Now and Then.
The word “brut,” meaning raw or rough in French, defines the style itself, according to van Uffelen. “The buildings aren’t made from refined materials,” he says. “They are used as they are found, without paint or other adornment. The wall speaks for itself.”