Brutalism at the Barbican


Brutalist architecture is a movement in architecture that flourished in popularity from the 1950s to the mid-1970s. The term originates from the French word for “raw” as béton brut (raw concrete) is primarily used in the construction. One of the finest examples of brutalist architecture can be found by visiting the Barbican Estate in central London. Designed in the 1950s by three young architects Chamberlin, Powell and Bon, the complex houses over 4,000 residents and is Grade II listed as a whole.

Brutalist buildings don’t lend themselves at all well to the grey British weather which dampens their appearance. Le Corbusier who is considered the Godfather of Brutalism constructed a lot of his buildings in the south of France for this exact reason. In the UK however brutalism started to become synonymous with urban decay because maintenance of housing estates was way down everyones list of priorities.

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