Brutalist Style

Brutalist Style
chicago interior design

Image by kern.justin
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Brutalism is a term used to describe a specific architectural style popular from the ’50s to the ’70s – you’ve probably seen many examples without knowing they constitute an an architectural movement. Brutalist buildings are typically made of poured concrete and are marked by their blocky, strong, rough appearance. Famous Chicago examples include the University of Chicago’s Regenstein Library and the inner campus of the University of Illinois at Chicago (the building that gets wider as it gets taller is called University Hall – see photo below). Both were designed by Walter Netsch (of Air Force Academy Cadet Chapel fame).

According to Wikipedia, Brutalist style emerged from post-war reconstruction efforts as countries looked for inexpensive ways of rebuilding. Hindsight is always 20-20, though, and many have come to criticize most of the Brutalist movement. These buildings do have a certain presence that many others lack, however, as they seem to convey a sense of sheer weight and stability. They also provide a counterpoint to modern pillars of glass that seem to defy gravity by relying exclusively on interior steel frames for construction. Overall, they always remind me of structures rendered in video games (simple blocks and regular angles are easiest to draw).

This photograph was taken from the roof of the Roosevelt Street parking garage during some rather dramatic lighting conditions. The Will Ferrel film Stranger than Fiction used part of University Hall in the end of the film – it looked as though there were some interesting views – anybody know if it possible to walk in and take photos?

Tags:Brutalist, style


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