Brutalism

Brutalist architecture is a fragmented movement in architecture that flourished from the 1950's to the mid-1970's, descended from the modernist architectural movement of the 1930's. Brutalism became popular with government and institutional clients, with numerous examples in Britain, France, Germany, Japan, United States, Canada, Brazil, and Australia. Examples are typically massive in character (even when not large), fortresslike, with a predominance of exposed concrete construction, or in the case of the "brick brutalists" ruggedly detailed brickwork and concrete together. There is often an emphasis on graphically expressing in the external elevations and in the whole-site plan the main functions and people-flows of the buildings. Brutalism became popular for educational buildings, but was relatively rare for corporate projects. Brutalism became favoured for many government projects, high-rise housing, and shopping centres to create an architectural image that communicated strength, functionality, and frank expression of materiality.

In its ruggedness and lack of concern to look comfortable or easy, Brutalism can be seen as a reaction by a younger generation to the lightness, optimism and frivolity of some 1930s and 40s architecture. In its most coherent critical appraisal (that of Reyner Banham) Brutalism was posited not as a style at all but as the expression of an atmosphere among architects of moral seriousness. "Brutalism" as an architectural critical term was not always consistently used by critics; whilst architects themselves usually avoided using it altogether. More recently, brutalism has become used in popular discourse to refer to buildings of the late twentieth century that are large or unpopular - as a synonym for "brutal" - making its effective use in architectural historical discourse problematic.

Don College is an example of brutalist architecture. Other examples of this type of architecture include the dome of the state library of Victoria and Burley-Griffins' capital building.

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