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Leftist Nostalgia for Brutalist Architecture
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“Look on my Ministry of Love, ye bourgeoisie, and despair!”

From Mel Magazine:

HOW THE ALT-RIGHT INFILTRATED ARCHITECTURE TWITTER — AND TURNED NOTRE-DAME INTO A POLITICAL LIGHTNING ROD

Why are online white nationalists obsessed with modern architecture? It’s all a cover to push a racist and anti-Semitic agenda

… [Paul Joseph Watson is] also far from the only critic to complain about the legacy of brutalism, a style of modern architecture that emerged in the 1950s and 1960s in the U.K., but was developed largely by French architects like Le Corbusier.

Ironically, the Swissman Corbu was just about the whitest Western white man ever, the embodiment of a movement going back to Leon Battista Alberti in 15th Century Florence and Goethe in 18th Century Germany to convert the architect from the humble servant of human needs to a Promethean Bringer of Fire from Olympus.

A woman architect would have to spend an awful lot of time in architecture school being indoctrinated by male professors to think that designing towering hulks in unfinished concrete was fun.

Brutalist buildings were characterized by simple, block-like structures that often featured exposed concrete and were constructed in the belief that architects should design buildings with their function in mind first and foremost. As a result, brutalist architects would usually prioritize public space over monuments to gawk at. “Many Brutalist buildings expressed a progressive or even utopian vision of communal living and public ownership,” writes Felix Torkar in Jacobin magazine. (To that end, brutalist buildings were often favored by European governments as social housing for impoverished communities.) “The battle to protect them is also a fight to defend this social inheritance.”

What’s interesting is how much the supposedly progressive pro-Brutalist voices quoted in the article are driven by conservative emotions such as nostalgia and couch their defenses of Brutalism in the same language conservatives use to defend Robert E. Lee statues: sure, times have changed, but that was okay back then. For example, a pro-Brutalist says:

He tells me that he’s always been fascinated with architecture, both traditional and modern styles. Having grown up in South London, where many of the first modernist buildings were built, he saw modernist architecture as “a piece of the city’s history. It was a time when we had a socialist government who actually wanted to help the poor, and there was an idea about housing being a right.” …

It’s funny that I’m not hearing the most reasonable excuse for England’s post-War architecture: We were broke, we spent everything we had to win the war. Everybody tries to deny it, but the truth is that nice stuff is usually expensive and the more money you have, the nicer you can make it. Tom Wolfe explained: “… the existence of conspicuous consumption one has rightful access to … creates a sense of well-being.” Britain in c. 1946-1960 didn’t have much money, so it put up a lot of nasty buildings.

It would have been terrific if British architects had ingeniously figured out how to make beautiful buildings cheaply. But they didn’t. Now, if you look at postwar British buildings, which are even uglier on the whole than, say, American college architecture buildings, you might get the impression that they were perversely, intentionally ugly. Evelyn Waugh predicted it in his 1945 novel Brideshead Revisited.

Luckily, there’s a resistance building among left-wing architecture enthusiasts. On Instagram, the hashtag #brutalistarchitecture has received thousands of contributions. Meanwhile, Twitter accounts like Brutalism101, Concretism and This Brutal House frequently promote environmental campaigns like Extinction Rebellion, a direct-action protest group, to raise awareness of the dangers of climate change, particularly to poor communities who still live in brutalist buildings. …

It’s almost as if brutalist buildings tend not to actually be good for the poor bastards still stuck living in them …

“Brutalist architecture isn’t about how the building looks but about the function itself,” says Steve Keen, a photographer who runs the Instagram account Brutalistlondon. For the fortysomething Keen, the style was “never popular, but it’s important to the history of London and the U.K.” …

Keen, on the other hand, believes maintaining brutalist buildings is critical, especially at a time when income inequality and poverty in the U.K. is at a record high. “The buildings show what a government that cares about the poor could do.” …

Some people want to preserve Notre-Dame, while some other people want to preserve, say, the Boston City Hall, an upside-down Aztec human sacrifice platform, because they grew up around it and are fond of it. It also reminds them of a time when people they identify with held the whip hand and could impose their ideas, good or bad, upon society.

“Brutalism is bold and true to itself, because it’s an embodiment of postwar egalitarian optimism that many people probably look back fondly on,” adds Ido Vock …

Generally speaking, buildings have an inherent lifespan and eventually need to either be replaced or expensively restored. Brutalist buildings, despite or because of their Ozymandias/1984 aesthetics — “Look on my Ministry of Love, ye bourgeoisie, and despair!” — tend to have a shorter natural life than more traditional building whose designs embody the wisdom of the ages rather than spitting in its eye out of ideological conviction.

But, that’s mostly a good thing because it allows humans to decide which relics of the past to keep and which to replace. And that makes the legacy of the past better. My guess would be that if over time we replaced, say, the worst 90% of brutalist buildings and conserved the best 10%, people in a century might assume that, hey, Brutalism, you know, wasn’t really so bad after all.

 
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  1. OT: ‘Citizen science’ is a problematic term now, you should use the much less evocative ‘community science’ instead.

    I feel like the whole world is being dictated to suit the instincts of pre-school teachers.

    • Agree: Endgame Napoleon
    • LOL: YetAnotherAnon
    • Replies: @Endgame Napoleon
    You mean like the cheery example at the bottom of this page.

    http://www.indonesiadesign.com/architecture-interior/new-brutalism-and-why-it-matters/

    It looks like a good bulletin-board design for a kindergarten teacher—pre-approved by the Sesame Street Design team.

    The rest of the brutalist fare would scare the class, disrupting nap time.

    , @Nathan
    What the he'll happened to the word "folks?" It used to be a folksy word that reffered to people like your grandparents. Now it has a sinister Maoist ring to it.

    1999- I'm going back to Cali to visit my folks.

    2019- Your language doesn't include some folks, and that's problematic.

    2029- We had to send some folks out to the people's farm collective because they were bourgeois and needed re-education.
    , @Desiderius

    is being dictated
     
    The Passive constructions get awkwarder and awkwarder. Women mature at 13-14. Put them in charge what were you expecting?
    , @bomag

    ...makes more people feel comfortable?
     
    We need such people feeling uncomfortable, all the time.
    , @Cagey Beast
    I feel like the whole world is being dictated to suit the instincts of pre-school teachers.

    Is "pre-school teachers" just a code-word for "women"?
    , @Lockean Proviso
    "that incredibly minor working change"

    "Incredible" is another word that is used far too much as a substitute or distraction from more honest and descriptive language. Of course Trump uses it a lot. In this case it is literally, if unintentionally, true: it is not actually credible that eliminating the word "citizen" is minor, nor is the casual aside she makes about global citizens.
  2. Anonymous[337] • Disclaimer says:

    ….women love brutalism

    • Replies: @Alden
    You wish
    , @Jenner Ickham Errican
    Zizek on brutalism:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bwDrHqNZ9lo
    , @Anonymous
    Brutalism is a very masculine style. Part of the nostalgia for Brutalism on the Left is for the older more masculine Leftism and meat and potatoes socialism.
    , @Amanuensis
    We despise it. Let's not confuse the sociosexual hierarchy with bad architecture.
  3. J.Ross says: • Website

    How many ways can we vary “who are you gonna believe, me or your lyin’ eyes?”

    The notion that people do not love modern architecture (or were, get this, upset by the burning of Notre Dame de Paris) is just a pretext for re-activating Hitlerism.

    The idea that Hillary Clinton is widely hated is just a Kremlin plot.

    People who complain about the newly feminized franchise movie sequels or the effort to politicize video games are not displeased fans, but rather a conspiracy of horny virgins.

    Complaints about neocons, foreign adventurism, and an unaccountable deep state are an attack on our democracy.

    Only racists would object to allowing Muslims total freedom of expression, movement, political activity, and amateur chemistry education activities.

    The idea that unrestricted immigration is somehow bad for our country comes from working class whites, and since when was this their country?

    Enabling working and lower middle class people to build families, own homes, and start small businesses does not make any economic sense.

    Interfering with open borders means “refugees” may be exposed to people smugglers.

    The Constitution protects us from odious sovereignty and the backward Bill of Rights.

  4. They love Brutalism because it doesn’t require a sense of aesthetics to appreciate. It is outwardly indicative of their inner, soulless and ugly, imaginations. Brutalism is like a psychopath’s visual expression of what they think it’s like to have human emotions.

    • Replies: @Anonymous
    ... u drunk bro ?
    , @Alden
    Brutalist is popular because it’s cheap.
    , @Mr. Anon

    They love Brutalism because it doesn’t require a sense of aesthetics to appreciate. It is outwardly indicative of their inner, soulless and ugly, imaginations. Brutalism is like a psychopath’s visual expression of what they think it’s like to have human emotions.
     
    Well said.
    , @Bard of Bumperstickers
    "Theodore Dalrymple" has commented on this matter extensively:

    https://www.google.com/search?ei=fdzJXNi6EtK4ggfam6DQCA&q=theodore+dalrymple+architecture&oq=theodore+dalrymple+ar&gs_l=psy-ab.1.1.0l2j0i22i30l5.1411.2865..5210...0.0..0.74.217.3....2..0....1..gws-wiz.......0i67.XBLPFlS1nak

    . . . and on ugliness, generally:

    https://www.google.com/search?ei=g9zJXMHGG-m3ggeSnZWwDA&q=theodore+dalrymple+ugliness&oq=theodore+dalrymple+ugliness&gs_l=psy-ab.3...174043.176730..176876...0.0..0.122.824.5j4....2..0....1..gws-wiz.......0j0i67j0i22i30j33i160.QWuSeutbDTY
    , @Kyle
    It’s a lot like 80’s music.
  5. @Altai
    OT: 'Citizen science' is a problematic term now, you should use the much less evocative 'community science' instead.

    https://twitter.com/CormanCrosby/status/1123284375649640448

    I feel like the whole world is being dictated to suit the instincts of pre-school teachers.

    You mean like the cheery example at the bottom of this page.

    http://www.indonesiadesign.com/architecture-interior/new-brutalism-and-why-it-matters/

    It looks like a good bulletin-board design for a kindergarten teacher—pre-approved by the Sesame Street Design team.

    The rest of the brutalist fare would scare the class, disrupting nap time.

  6. I am no architecture critic, but I can tell an ugly building when I see one. It’s not always JUST the architecture, but sometimes the socialism itself that causes the buildings to look like shit. In China, I thought I was staying in a 25 y/o (at least) building, but it was only 6 y/o, it turned out. That’s because the common areas were not taken care of due to the incentives there. That may explain the general crappiness of East Bloc apartment and office buildings.

    I want to ask Dieter or another resident German commenter about this: Are the old E. German buildings still around? I was there 15 years ago or so, and there were plenty. If there are, then I think these Brutalist Schools should take some tours over there and enjoy those buildings along with the cheap hookers. It sound like a nice niche market!

    Lastly, that Boston City Hall picture reminded me somewhat of the Seattle, Washington Public Library. It is so damn dicked-up inside that it’s just confusing and annoying to be in there. I’m sure the old one was fine, but cities have just got to spend that bond money. See Peak Stupidity’s “More stupidity at the library – the big one”.

    • Replies: @Anonymous
    ...what about your wee hovel
    , @ThreeCranes
    They rebuilt the local library here. It looks just like the new one in the picture in your link. It only holds half the books the old one did. The books they got rid of were the old classics, the intellectual heritage of the West. What remains is new stuff, largely topical and derivative, written by nobodies.

    Lot's of romance type of paperbacks by women authors. Nothing but picture books in the Nature category. And don't think you're going to find the manual to fix your old car either. Or remodel your kitchen. All that stuff's gone.

    So, no sense of history. No orienting one's self in the Great Chain of Intellectual Being. Not to worry though. It's no big loss. What today's readers were never aware of they will never miss.

    A selection committee composed of not particularly well-educated women, they pared our legacy right down to the bone. Now that's brutalism.
    , @1661er
    Looks like the typical ADA compliance remodeling/replacement

    The width between the stacks have to be widened so people on wheelchairs/obese people on mobility scooters can go through it. And the books have to be reachable by people on wheelchairs/mobility scooters. So no tall shelves/bottom shelves. You end up use lots more square footage for the same amount of books or weed out lots books.

    Blame it on George HW Bush who signed ADA into law. Wall-E is a documentary.

  7. I’ve always had an ambivalent attitude towards Brutalism. On one hand, about 95 percent of Brutalist buildings are crimes against humanity. On the other hand, the few that succeed are really spectacular; they seem to embody the optimistic 1950s sci-fi futurism of Robert Heinlein novels.

    I think a major weakness of Brutalism is its scale. Ironically, given its ideological foundations, it works best at a smaller, more humanistic scale. When expanded to elephantine proportions, as it normally is, it’s like H.P. Lovecraft’s Old Ones in concrete.

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    Right, like the Brutalist one story Third World kindergarten in a comment's link is kind of cheery: here are these poor people building a really cheap school building to educate their children. Hopefully, the grandchildren of the students in this building will be able to afford to replace it with something better, but it's encouraging that any school building exists here at all.
    , @Clifford Brown
    I am a fan of brutalism in doses. Ironically, brutalism which was supposed to be immune from the elements actually is an architectural style that suffers from the exposed elements more than most. Brutalism can often look crisp and refined in the Southern California sun (UC-Irvine Campus and the Salk Institute), but ages terribly in harsh northern winters. In cold and wet climates, the concrete of brutalist structures must be maintained and power washed or it will quickly show water stains and ugly discoloration.

    I have come to really appreciate the Boston City Hall. While I think the architectural style may send the wrong "message" to citizens, the building itself is fascinating. There are classical references in its facades and when viewed as an abstraction, it has an underlying beauty. Surprisingly, I have found the interior of the building to be best part. All sounds are hushed and the walls must have been recently cleaned when I visited because it looked impeccable. The interior is a truly unique space that in its own way was an attempt at constructing a futuristic and even utopian civic space. I highly recommend an in person visit. Most brutalist structure are ugly in person, but can be attractive with the right kind of high end photography. Still others become attractive as you encounter the building's presence in person.

    https://d279m997dpfwgl.cloudfront.net/wp/2017/05/0519_city-hall-art05-1000x666.jpg
  8. It was a time when we had a socialist government who actually wanted to help the poor,

    For Leftists, the most important thing is that your heart is in the right place. If you have good intentions, then it doesn’t matter that you totally botch the execution.

    The good news about Brutalist buildings is that they are basically normal poured concrete buildings but you stop construction when they are about 90% done, before the point where you would normally add an outer decorative veneer (stone, brick, metal or glass, etc.) and trim (cornices, lintels, etc.) to finish them off. So it’s easy to dress up these buildings by attaching the “missing” stuff in a contemporary style. This is what they did with the Grenfell tower. Unfortunately they used a flammable material (looked like aluminum but it was really a sandwich with a thin alu. skin and a flammable plastic core) and attached it in a way that created chimneys or chases for the flames to travel in.

    • Replies: @YetAnotherAnon
    "So it’s easy to dress up these buildings by attaching the “missing” stuff in a contemporary style. This is what they did with the Grenfell tower. "

    Tangentially related, a bunch of mates in the UK made their Guy Fawkes Night bonfire a cardboard box painted to look like a tower block, complete with little figures at the windows - an obvious and tasteless reference to Grenfell. What are called "sick jokes" have been part of UK culture all my life.

    Someone videoed it and sent it to a Whatsapp group.

    https://www.standard.co.uk/news/crime/property-millionaire-who-shared-video-of-grenfell-tower-effigy-on-bonfire-tells-court-it-was-a-joke-a4130131.html

    "A property millionaire who shared a video of a Grenfell Tower effigy being burned on a bonfire insisted today that the footage is not offensive as it was “a joke”, a court heard.

    Paul Bussetti, 46, is accused of filming and circulating the video in a WhatsApp group, showing a group of people laughing as a cardboard model of the tragic tower block caught fire.

    The clip was then posted on YouTube by another person, sparking widespread public outrage and leading to Bussetti’s arrest along with five others suspected of being at the Bonfire Night event last year.

    At Westminster Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday morning, Bussetti pleaded not guilty to two charges of sending an offensive communication and will stand trial in July. "
     
    We are back in the world of blasphemy and taboo.
  9. Anonymous[375] • Disclaimer says:

    Washington D.C.’s subway system is famously Brutalist. I think it may be the only Brutalist subway system in the world.

    One of its chief Brutalist features was its very dim lighting which gave it an interesting industrial, bunker, Ridley Scott sci-fi movie vibe. Recently they painted the walls and ceilings of the stations white to brighten up the stations, and there was some backlash because it impinged on its Brutalism :

    https://dc.curbed.com/2017/3/31/15122600/metro-wmata-union-station-paint-brutalism

    • Replies: @Clifford Brown
    The DC subway may technically be brutalist, but in its own way, it is an expression of a simple classic geometric form. There is something relaxing about the DC subway system that is woefully missing in most subways. The high vaulted ceilings reduce rider tension by creating a calming space. There is an almost church or crypt like quality to the DC Metro design.

    If it is brutalism, it is a humane form of it.
    , @Dan Hayes
    Anonymous[375]:

    My initial reaction in riding the DC subway was that its dim lighting would never do in NYC since it would be a mugger's paradise!
    , @Stan Adams
    The Metrorail/Metromover elevated-train system in Miami has Brutalist pretensions.

    https://i.ibb.co/bbYx6xq/2355197-uq-Kio-BC9t9h1-Lh-Pd-Zi-HPf-Jtjzk-SXn-PFS-s-M5-MV0y-GAA-2014-10-06.jpg

    https://i.ibb.co/ssYvqMd/2449240-J0-IF4s-LCJJ29z-G2ret-PNrqsz-ZUAW2og-WKx-JLOb-Zdh-Og-2013-05-01.jpg

    https://i.ibb.co/tc2X1W9/2791279-1o1-Ytu-JS5-Co-4m-MIi-FJp-PHGVKA5p-N-J2un-N7t-Qj86-Y-2013-02-18.jpg

    https://i.ibb.co/wrKGX7P/5645042-yam-dsq-B-t5-K1-U9-KGXr9-XAEp-Di-Svg-W8-LSB707-Oye-QI8-2013-01-25.jpg

    https://i.ibb.co/jZF3cQr/14014005-auu-Oj-Wbm-Lgy-Yix-O-gdkl-A4-Yyo-EKvo9p-Bmq-Aie0-GSSm0-2015-03-08-Copy.jpg

    https://i.ibb.co/vD9mzNX/40247396-F1-MWql4-A0i-Dq24vv-Py9-R-HMPffxa-Hi-Sm-Fs-L5vs2-Lvok-2014-06-09.jpg
  10. ‘…My guess would be that if over time we replaced, say, the worst 90% of brutalist buildings and conserved the best 10%, people in a century might assume that, hey, Brutalism wasn’t so bad after all…’

    That’s what tends to happen in general. Take forties movies, or nineteenth-century novels. We’ve held on to a few genuine gems — and forgotten the rest. Go back and take a look at the average puppy, and it can be pretty sad.

    • Replies: @Forbes

    …My guess would be that if over time we replaced, say, the worst 90% of brutalist buildings
     
    What would that be, 90% of everything built in DC after 1950...
  11. A black kid has shot two people at a rap concert in North Carolina, and this is why we must exterminate white supremacism.
    https://www.wcnc.com/article/news/who-is-trystan-terrell-the-uncc-shooting-suspect/275-21264198-c78c-4d47-a13d-f8a626c3b48c
    https://postimg.cc/0My2Mz7P

  12. Brutalist architecture surrounded by plop art.

  13. I dunno, I kinda like our local SoCal version of Brutalism Lite, e.g the Century City setting for 1972’s Conquest of the Planet of the apes. Or CSU Fullerton’s Pollak library (and a number of other UC/CSU buildings built in the heyday of those systems as affordable and kinda democratic places of higher ed.

    http://titancom.fullerton.edu/contactus.php

    There’s some quote from a movie or book that sez such buildings, esp. the admin buildings, were designed so that five administrators could hold off the entire smelly student body in case of campus ‘uprising’ — they tend to be surrounded by ‘dry moat’ like depressions, with access to main floor only across a bridge structure spanning the dry moat. Kinda ironic that Leftists should like such buildings.

  14. From what I am told by architects and structural engineers, concrete buildings are designed to only last 50 years.

    • Replies: @Jack D
    The dome of the Pantheon in Rome is concrete and it's 2,000 years old. If your concrete bldg only lasts 50 years you're doing it wrong.
  15. @Mr. Blank
    I’ve always had an ambivalent attitude towards Brutalism. On one hand, about 95 percent of Brutalist buildings are crimes against humanity. On the other hand, the few that succeed are really spectacular; they seem to embody the optimistic 1950s sci-fi futurism of Robert Heinlein novels.

    I think a major weakness of Brutalism is its scale. Ironically, given its ideological foundations, it works best at a smaller, more humanistic scale. When expanded to elephantine proportions, as it normally is, it’s like H.P. Lovecraft’s Old Ones in concrete.

    Right, like the Brutalist one story Third World kindergarten in a comment’s link is kind of cheery: here are these poor people building a really cheap school building to educate their children. Hopefully, the grandchildren of the students in this building will be able to afford to replace it with something better, but it’s encouraging that any school building exists here at all.

    • Replies: @Desiderius
    Why call it a fancy name when it's just affordable?

    Brutalist calls to mind spoiled Bill Ayersishness.
    , @Anonymous
    What cheery kindergarten do you mean?
    Napoleon described a building as cheery like a kindergarten, but it isn't actually a kindergarten and it isn't one story—look at the cars in the photo. It's a court and it intimidates with its scale.
  16. Anonymous[375] • Disclaimer says:

    Modernist and Brutalist architecture was not solely leftist. Right wing Futurists and fascists favored it as well. In fact, Corbu himself had fascist sympathies:

    https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/france/11543431/Le-Corbusier-was-militant-fascist-two-new-books-on-French-architect-claim.html

    The new books show Le Corbusier embraced fascism in Paris in the 1920s, and was close to Pierre Winter, a doctor who headed France’s Revolutionary Fascist Party.

    Together they created Plans, an urban planning journal, followed by another called Prelude.

    Mr Jarcy said that in “Plans” Le Corbusier wrote in support of Nazi anti-Semitism and in “Prelude” co-wrote “hateful editorials”.

    In August 1940, the architect wrote to his mother that “money, Jews (partly responsible), Freemasonry, all will feel just law”. In October that year, he added: “Hitler can crown his life with a great work: the planned layout of Europe.”

    Mr Chaslin said he had unearthed “anti-Semite sketches” by Le Corbusier, and ascertained that the French architect had spent 18 months in Vichy, where the Nazis ran a French puppet government, where he kept an office.

  17. Art and architecture inspire. They also instill confidence in one’s culture and their people

    Modern art and brutalist architecture leave one uninspired. They make one despair their people’s expression on the earth because the things they build make the world uglier. No wonder lefties love it.

  18. @Altai
    OT: 'Citizen science' is a problematic term now, you should use the much less evocative 'community science' instead.

    https://twitter.com/CormanCrosby/status/1123284375649640448

    I feel like the whole world is being dictated to suit the instincts of pre-school teachers.

    What the he’ll happened to the word “folks?” It used to be a folksy word that reffered to people like your grandparents. Now it has a sinister Maoist ring to it.

    1999- I’m going back to Cali to visit my folks.

    2019- Your language doesn’t include some folks, and that’s problematic.

    2029- We had to send some folks out to the people’s farm collective because they were bourgeois and needed re-education.

    • Replies: @Altai
    GWB seemed to hasten it's adoption as a form of mollifying jargon to be used by PR and corporate hacks to feign an emotional concern for people one is otherwise busy screwing over.

    Additionally it and 'y'all' were adopted as woke twitter terms through their use in Ebonics by black SJWs with varying degrees of irony by young white women on twitter.
    , @Pericles

    What the he’ll happened to the word “folks?” It used to be a folksy word that reffered to people like your grandparents. Now it has a sinister Maoist ring to it.

     

    Maybe it was Obama: "We tortured some folks."

    https://www.politico.com/story/2014/08/john-brennan-torture-cia-109654
  19. Would you classify the Obama Presidential Center main tower as Brutalist? It looks pretty brutal to me…

    https://chicago.curbed.com/2017/8/23/16190550/obama-presidential-center-parking-garage-site-map

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    What's it supposed to look like? A giant Luo hut?
    , @Mike Zwick
    It is a shame that they are going to screw up Washington Park with that. Washington Park is part of a system of parks that are to landscape design what a Frank Lloyd Wright or Louis Sullivan designed buildings are to architecture.
    , @Lot
    Yes.

    Funny when the parking garage (on the right) looks more warm and inviting than the library it is attached to.
  20. @Altai
    OT: 'Citizen science' is a problematic term now, you should use the much less evocative 'community science' instead.

    https://twitter.com/CormanCrosby/status/1123284375649640448

    I feel like the whole world is being dictated to suit the instincts of pre-school teachers.

    is being dictated

    The Passive constructions get awkwarder and awkwarder. Women mature at 13-14. Put them in charge what were you expecting?

  21. @Colin Wright
    '...My guess would be that if over time we replaced, say, the worst 90% of brutalist buildings and conserved the best 10%, people in a century might assume that, hey, Brutalism wasn’t so bad after all...'

    That's what tends to happen in general. Take forties movies, or nineteenth-century novels. We've held on to a few genuine gems -- and forgotten the rest. Go back and take a look at the average puppy, and it can be pretty sad.

    …My guess would be that if over time we replaced, say, the worst 90% of brutalist buildings

    What would that be, 90% of everything built in DC after 1950…

  22. @Steve Sailer
    Right, like the Brutalist one story Third World kindergarten in a comment's link is kind of cheery: here are these poor people building a really cheap school building to educate their children. Hopefully, the grandchildren of the students in this building will be able to afford to replace it with something better, but it's encouraging that any school building exists here at all.

    Why call it a fancy name when it’s just affordable?

    Brutalist calls to mind spoiled Bill Ayersishness.

  23. Anonymous[337] • Disclaimer says:
    @Anon
    They love Brutalism because it doesn't require a sense of aesthetics to appreciate. It is outwardly indicative of their inner, soulless and ugly, imaginations. Brutalism is like a psychopath's visual expression of what they think it's like to have human emotions.

    … u drunk bro ?

  24. Anonymous[337] • Disclaimer says:
    @Achmed E. Newman
    I am no architecture critic, but I can tell an ugly building when I see one. It's not always JUST the architecture, but sometimes the socialism itself that causes the buildings to look like shit. In China, I thought I was staying in a 25 y/o (at least) building, but it was only 6 y/o, it turned out. That's because the common areas were not taken care of due to the incentives there. That may explain the general crappiness of East Bloc apartment and office buildings.

    I want to ask Dieter or another resident German commenter about this: Are the old E. German buildings still around? I was there 15 years ago or so, and there were plenty. If there are, then I think these Brutalist Schools should take some tours over there and enjoy those buildings along with the cheap hookers. It sound like a nice niche market!

    Lastly, that Boston City Hall picture reminded me somewhat of the Seattle, Washington Public Library. It is so damn dicked-up inside that it's just confusing and annoying to be in there. I'm sure the old one was fine, but cities have just got to spend that bond money. See Peak Stupidity's "More stupidity at the library - the big one".

    …what about your wee hovel

    • Replies: @Achmed E. Newman
    I don't know what the style of my house is called, but it's big enough to cause me to pay a few hundred dollars a year for the new county library and the unnecessary renovations there-to, as complained about in that post. Be it a wee hovel or McMansion, there's no place like home.
  25. The truth is that white “men” are clueless and intrusive

    In contrast Men of Colour are thoughtful and respectful

  26. Anonymous[760] • Disclaimer says:

    OT/ Anarcho-Communists doing the dirty work of punishing political dissidents on behalf of the banks and multinational corporations:

  27. Brutalist means Soviet means pour maximum yards of concrete and get paid! For all of it!. Concrete owners- bosses are getting smeared big time be this under commie or capitalist systems. Hopefully properly mixed, properly poured with proper reinforcing rods. Our reporter in Utica-Buffalo Joe knows how this works.

  28. @Achmed E. Newman
    I am no architecture critic, but I can tell an ugly building when I see one. It's not always JUST the architecture, but sometimes the socialism itself that causes the buildings to look like shit. In China, I thought I was staying in a 25 y/o (at least) building, but it was only 6 y/o, it turned out. That's because the common areas were not taken care of due to the incentives there. That may explain the general crappiness of East Bloc apartment and office buildings.

    I want to ask Dieter or another resident German commenter about this: Are the old E. German buildings still around? I was there 15 years ago or so, and there were plenty. If there are, then I think these Brutalist Schools should take some tours over there and enjoy those buildings along with the cheap hookers. It sound like a nice niche market!

    Lastly, that Boston City Hall picture reminded me somewhat of the Seattle, Washington Public Library. It is so damn dicked-up inside that it's just confusing and annoying to be in there. I'm sure the old one was fine, but cities have just got to spend that bond money. See Peak Stupidity's "More stupidity at the library - the big one".

    They rebuilt the local library here. It looks just like the new one in the picture in your link. It only holds half the books the old one did. The books they got rid of were the old classics, the intellectual heritage of the West. What remains is new stuff, largely topical and derivative, written by nobodies.

    Lot’s of romance type of paperbacks by women authors. Nothing but picture books in the Nature category. And don’t think you’re going to find the manual to fix your old car either. Or remodel your kitchen. All that stuff’s gone.

    So, no sense of history. No orienting one’s self in the Great Chain of Intellectual Being. Not to worry though. It’s no big loss. What today’s readers were never aware of they will never miss.

    A selection committee composed of not particularly well-educated women, they pared our legacy right down to the bone. Now that’s brutalism.

    • Agree: YetAnotherAnon
    • Replies: @Anonymous
    Anyone with a MLS degree is probably quite stupid. And that's who library systems hire.

    If your local library has some good old books, check them out and deposit them in the return immediately if you must once in a while. That way they can't say "they don't circulate".

    If you have time, run for the library board if that is an elected position in your area. One or two solid peckerwoods can cause the SJCs and incompetents no end of grief.

    Of course, public libraries that receive federal funds could be required to maintain a "core classics collection".
  29. @Thirdtwin
    Would you classify the Obama Presidential Center main tower as Brutalist? It looks pretty brutal to me...

    https://chicago.curbed.com/2017/8/23/16190550/obama-presidential-center-parking-garage-site-map

    What’s it supposed to look like? A giant Luo hut?

    • LOL: Achmed E. Newman
    • Replies: @Thirdtwin
    Maybe an AT-AT maintenance facility? A discarded concept from "Logan's Run"? It'll probably never get built anyway.
  30. @Anonymous
    Washington D.C.'s subway system is famously Brutalist. I think it may be the only Brutalist subway system in the world.

    One of its chief Brutalist features was its very dim lighting which gave it an interesting industrial, bunker, Ridley Scott sci-fi movie vibe. Recently they painted the walls and ceilings of the stations white to brighten up the stations, and there was some backlash because it impinged on its Brutalism :

    https://dc.curbed.com/2017/3/31/15122600/metro-wmata-union-station-paint-brutalism

    The DC subway may technically be brutalist, but in its own way, it is an expression of a simple classic geometric form. There is something relaxing about the DC subway system that is woefully missing in most subways. The high vaulted ceilings reduce rider tension by creating a calming space. There is an almost church or crypt like quality to the DC Metro design.

    If it is brutalism, it is a humane form of it.

    • Agree: Dan Hayes, Buzz Mohawk
    • Replies: @Desiderius
    I remember being a big fan when it was brand new. Went hand in hand with the Air and Space museum, which was the other highlight of that trip.
    , @Anonymous
    "Church or crypt like" is a good description. Until recently I don't believe there were any ads in the stations, and not much signage either.
    , @MBlanc46
    Definitely classical. Reminds me of the Metropolitan Line Platform at Baker Street Station in London.
    , @Anonymous
    There are similarities between Brutalism and Stripped Classicism, which preceded it. Stripped Classicism was the style favored by Big Government in the first half of the 20th century. The Fascists, Communists, and FDR era New Deal America all loved Stripped Classicism for government buildings. It has Classical shapes and forms but it's "stripped" of decoration and ornamentation and is more austere. The Pentagon is a good example of Stripped Classicism. Brutalism is similar in its shapes and forms and material, but it doesn't adhere to Classical proportions and it has more mass and heaviness in its effect.
    , @Jack D
    It's amazing what you can build if you have access to an unlimited government money printing press. The NYC subway stations have all the charm and spaciousness of rat's nests but they were built by private industry so that they could charge a nickel for a subway ride and still make a profit.
  31. My view is that brutalist and other related architectural styles are manifestations of the same (very general) pop culture movements that overran so much of the culture. Fully appreciating a Beethoven symphony requires time, thoughtfulness and understanding (beyond my capabilities, but I still enjoy them!). But a good jazz (e.g., Benny Goodman) tune or a pop song is done and done in a few minutes. Brutalism is pop music. Norte Dame is Mozart. (And things like 20 minute modern jazz “improvisations” are post-modernist feminist critical theory, or whatever…)

  32. @Anonymous
    ...what about your wee hovel

    I don’t know what the style of my house is called, but it’s big enough to cause me to pay a few hundred dollars a year for the new county library and the unnecessary renovations there-to, as complained about in that post. Be it a wee hovel or McMansion, there’s no place like home.

  33. Brutalist calls to mind spoiled Bill Ayersishness.

    Concrete brutalist structures would be rather impervious to Weathermen bombing campaigns. One reason why universities and government buildings were built in the brutalist style in the 1970’s was that leftist bombings were so prevalent. The brutalist One Police Plaza in New York was specifically designed with bomb attacks in mind.

    • Replies: @YetAnotherAnon
    "Concrete brutalist structures would be rather impervious to Weathermen bombing campaigns."

    Weathermen perhaps - not if they are full of glass and it's the IRA - although reading the Wiki it sounds like the guys should really have been stopped. Damage was £1 billion, nearly £2 billion today. Cost to the bombers - £4,000.

    Wiki is unusually reticent about the exact physical damage caused to the concrete office blocks, although a medieval church was destroyed.


    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1993_Bishopsgate_bombing
  34. @Clifford Brown
    The DC subway may technically be brutalist, but in its own way, it is an expression of a simple classic geometric form. There is something relaxing about the DC subway system that is woefully missing in most subways. The high vaulted ceilings reduce rider tension by creating a calming space. There is an almost church or crypt like quality to the DC Metro design.

    If it is brutalism, it is a humane form of it.

    I remember being a big fan when it was brand new. Went hand in hand with the Air and Space museum, which was the other highlight of that trip.

  35. Anonymous[375] • Disclaimer says:
    @Clifford Brown
    The DC subway may technically be brutalist, but in its own way, it is an expression of a simple classic geometric form. There is something relaxing about the DC subway system that is woefully missing in most subways. The high vaulted ceilings reduce rider tension by creating a calming space. There is an almost church or crypt like quality to the DC Metro design.

    If it is brutalism, it is a humane form of it.

    “Church or crypt like” is a good description. Until recently I don’t believe there were any ads in the stations, and not much signage either.

  36. Beauty terrifies progressives, so they hate it.

    If you open your eyes to beauty, you are in grave danger of seeing something greater than yourself and your sordid little vision for human life.

    From this perspective, brutalist structures are safe and comforting.

    • Agree: Clyde
  37. @Mr. Blank
    I’ve always had an ambivalent attitude towards Brutalism. On one hand, about 95 percent of Brutalist buildings are crimes against humanity. On the other hand, the few that succeed are really spectacular; they seem to embody the optimistic 1950s sci-fi futurism of Robert Heinlein novels.

    I think a major weakness of Brutalism is its scale. Ironically, given its ideological foundations, it works best at a smaller, more humanistic scale. When expanded to elephantine proportions, as it normally is, it’s like H.P. Lovecraft’s Old Ones in concrete.

    I am a fan of brutalism in doses. Ironically, brutalism which was supposed to be immune from the elements actually is an architectural style that suffers from the exposed elements more than most. Brutalism can often look crisp and refined in the Southern California sun (UC-Irvine Campus and the Salk Institute), but ages terribly in harsh northern winters. In cold and wet climates, the concrete of brutalist structures must be maintained and power washed or it will quickly show water stains and ugly discoloration.

    I have come to really appreciate the Boston City Hall. While I think the architectural style may send the wrong “message” to citizens, the building itself is fascinating. There are classical references in its facades and when viewed as an abstraction, it has an underlying beauty. Surprisingly, I have found the interior of the building to be best part. All sounds are hushed and the walls must have been recently cleaned when I visited because it looked impeccable. The interior is a truly unique space that in its own way was an attempt at constructing a futuristic and even utopian civic space. I highly recommend an in person visit. Most brutalist structure are ugly in person, but can be attractive with the right kind of high end photography. Still others become attractive as you encounter the building’s presence in person.

    • Replies: @MBlanc46
    Thoughtful response. Brutalism can be imposing on the right site. I agree on Boston city hall, although I prefer the modernist submission by Y. C. Wong, a student of Mies. The main tower of the University of Illinois at Chicago by Walter Netsch is really elegant, although a veritable rabbit warren inside.
    , @Philip Neal
    Sound point about the effects of climate. I have often thought that buildings of this type do not look quite so hideous in Mediterranean countries. Though most of the British examples, and the worst, arose from the need to restore the housing destroyed in WWII quickly and cheaply, some were prestige buildings and much admired when they were new. The reason, in part, is that buildings such as the Birmingham Central Library replaced Victorian gothic structures which mid-century taste regarded as fussy and inauthentic and which had been blackened by decades of air pollution. In my boyhood, the Houses of Parliament (mainly 1850s) were widely considered a gloomy fake antique, but attitudes have reversed since cleaning in the 1980s revealed the true colour of the stone and now that the Victorian age is a period of history like any other.
  38. Anon[412] • Disclaimer says:

    One more remark on architecture:

    It should be different in different countries. Chinese palaces look different than Versallis. Red Square looks different than Mecca. This is a good thing. Im 100% opposed to this “one world” stuff. Same architecture and art all over the planet leads people towards an attitude that “its the same everywhere, so lets just have one global government”. That would be a momentous mistake for human freedom.

    • Replies: @The Wild Geese Howard

    Im 100% opposed to this “one world” stuff. Same architecture and art all over the planet leads people towards an attitude that “its the same everywhere, so lets just have one global government”. That would be a momentous mistake for human freedom.
     
    Agreed.

    This is why I tend to avoid the major metropoli in most countries. Same stores, same hotels, same restaurants, same deracinated, decultured globalist progtard populations.

    The Dutch starchitect Rem Koolhaas actually did a study about this and came to my campus to lecture about it in the late 90s. His talk was sadly prophetic.
    , @JMcG
    Its my feeling that this is the only successful argument. Let everyone be themselves. No sense in McDonald’s being the place to eat.
  39. Altai says:
    @Nathan
    What the he'll happened to the word "folks?" It used to be a folksy word that reffered to people like your grandparents. Now it has a sinister Maoist ring to it.

    1999- I'm going back to Cali to visit my folks.

    2019- Your language doesn't include some folks, and that's problematic.

    2029- We had to send some folks out to the people's farm collective because they were bourgeois and needed re-education.

    GWB seemed to hasten it’s adoption as a form of mollifying jargon to be used by PR and corporate hacks to feign an emotional concern for people one is otherwise busy screwing over.

    Additionally it and ‘y’all’ were adopted as woke twitter terms through their use in Ebonics by black SJWs with varying degrees of irony by young white women on twitter.

    • Replies: @Mr. Anon

    GWB seemed to hasten it’s adoption as a form of mollifying jargon to be used by PR and corporate hacks to feign an emotional concern for people one is otherwise busy screwing over.
     
    Rush Limbaugh was using "folks" long before Bush the Younger rose to national prominence.

    I've always hated "folks" when used to address large groups of people. It has a fake, well, folksiness to it that is cloying and manipulative.
  40. @Altai
    OT: 'Citizen science' is a problematic term now, you should use the much less evocative 'community science' instead.

    https://twitter.com/CormanCrosby/status/1123284375649640448

    I feel like the whole world is being dictated to suit the instincts of pre-school teachers.

    …makes more people feel comfortable?

    We need such people feeling uncomfortable, all the time.

  41. @Altai
    OT: 'Citizen science' is a problematic term now, you should use the much less evocative 'community science' instead.

    https://twitter.com/CormanCrosby/status/1123284375649640448

    I feel like the whole world is being dictated to suit the instincts of pre-school teachers.

    I feel like the whole world is being dictated to suit the instincts of pre-school teachers.

    Is “pre-school teachers” just a code-word for “women”?

    • Replies: @SFG
    Yeah, but it's the particular subset of women who work with lots of kids and feel the need to impose a safe, calming order on everything. (Quite laudable if you actually are a preschool teacher of course!)
  42. Le Corbusier also created a plan for Paris where much of the city would be leveled and replaced with rows of high rise buildings separated by open spaces. This was never adopted by the French but it was adopted by Americans in the 50’s and 60’s in urban renewal projects such as Cabrini Green and the Robert Taylor Homes in Chicago and Pruitt Igoe in St. Louis.

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    Corbu is, I believe, more or less a character in Waugh's 1928 novel "Decline and Fall." Corbu was like the least culturally sensitive person imaginable.
    , @Anonymous
    There were right-wing Italian Fascists who wanted to level Venice and fill in the canals with cement and build a new city with Futurist architecture.
  43. @Anonymous
    ....women love brutalism

    You wish

  44. Brutalism is akin to those ugly cookie cutter athletic stadiums built in the late 1960s and early 70s. Stadiums like Busch in St. Louis, Three Rivers in Pittsburgh and Riverfront in Cincinnati were neither good for baseball nor football. Thankfully most of them have been replaced.

    • Replies: @J.Ross
    In Detroit we just got rid of Joe Louis Arena, a hockey venue named after a boxer, one of the few buildings to be built directly on a waterfront to make absolutely no use of the view at all except a smattering of tiny pseudo-nautical portholes.
    https://www.gannett-cdn.com/-mm-/7ef6e4d9eed056cbd890804f9e52a3b6becc568d/c=0-292-5616-3451&r=x1683&c=3200x1680/local/-/media/DetroitNews/2014/10/16/-joelouisarena-aerial-t.jpg20141016.jpg
    Our earlier hockey venue was like a red-brick Romanesque church.
    http://www.sportsecyclopedia.com/nhl/det/Olympia4.jpg
    New one:
    https://media.clickondetroit.com/photo/2015/12/01/new-Red-Wings-stadium-jpg_877695_ver1.0_1280_720.jpg
  45. @Anon
    They love Brutalism because it doesn't require a sense of aesthetics to appreciate. It is outwardly indicative of their inner, soulless and ugly, imaginations. Brutalism is like a psychopath's visual expression of what they think it's like to have human emotions.

    Brutalist is popular because it’s cheap.

    • Replies: @Lot
    Brutalist Boston City Hall may finally get torn down because it is so expensive to maintain. I’m not sure about building costs, but full lifecycle costs brutalism isn’t cheap at all.

    I’d expect it to be expensive to build though because huge masses of “ornamental” concrete is really heavy and requires more foundation design and preparation.
  46. On my first visit to Long Beach, Calif I was amazed that there is a prison on the main drag in the middle of town. Turns out that it’s City Hall!

    https://www.emporis.com/images/details/301710/fullheightview-southwest-view

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    That is almost identical to the jail in downtown L.A.
  47. @Thirdtwin
    Would you classify the Obama Presidential Center main tower as Brutalist? It looks pretty brutal to me...

    https://chicago.curbed.com/2017/8/23/16190550/obama-presidential-center-parking-garage-site-map

    It is a shame that they are going to screw up Washington Park with that. Washington Park is part of a system of parks that are to landscape design what a Frank Lloyd Wright or Louis Sullivan designed buildings are to architecture.

    • Replies: @MBlanc46
    They’re putting it in Jackson Park.
  48. @Mike Zwick
    Le Corbusier also created a plan for Paris where much of the city would be leveled and replaced with rows of high rise buildings separated by open spaces. This was never adopted by the French but it was adopted by Americans in the 50's and 60's in urban renewal projects such as Cabrini Green and the Robert Taylor Homes in Chicago and Pruitt Igoe in St. Louis.

    Corbu is, I believe, more or less a character in Waugh’s 1928 novel “Decline and Fall.” Corbu was like the least culturally sensitive person imaginable.

    • Replies: @slumber_j
    Yes, it's in Decline and Fall rather than Brideshead Revisited that I remember Waugh's most savage critique of Modernist architecture generally. This is from an interesting piece on a woman who may well have been the model for Lady Metroland:

    So, if I’m right, in March or April, 1928, Evelyn began to write about King’s Thursday, a house in Wiltshire. When Margot bought the original Tudor building she had it demolished and replaced with something ‘clean and square’ by a young architect, Professor Otto Silenus. One of the features of this glass and concrete monstrosity is a tank of octopuses installed in one of the rooms. Naomi Milthorpe wrote a PhD thesis on Waugh’s novels in 2009, and its first chapter is ‘Quite right to suppress them: Decline and Fall and England and the Octopus’. The latter is a book by Clough Williams-Ellis that was published the same year as Decline and Fall. Williams-Ellis was an architect, famous for designing the Italianate Portmeirion on the Welsh coast, the intriguing setting for the TV series The Prisoner, and his book is a polemic against what he sees as the despoliation of the English countryside via the tentacle growth of urban development. Naomi Milthorpe argues that Waugh’s novel has the same target, though using satirical means to hit it.

     

    https://www.evelynwaugh.org.uk/styled-32/index.html

    Brutalist progenitor Louis Kahn's thoughts on leaving beautiful ruins prefigure this point of yours:


    Brutalist buildings, despite or because of their Ozymandias/1984 aesthetics — “Look on my Ministry of Love, ye bourgeoisie, and despair!” — tend to have a shorter natural life than more traditional building whose designs embody the wisdom of the ages rather than spitting in its eye out of ideological conviction.
     
    The better (or I guess less bad) examples of Brutalism would include a lot of Kahn's stuff--the Salk Institute is an obvious example--and also Erno Goldfinger's[!] Trellick Tower, featured in Martin Amis's novel London Fields and the music video for the Oasis song "Morning Glory":

    https://youtu.be/Wm54XyLwBAk

    I guess I understand the weird affection for Trellick Tower, which is a Listed (which is to say protected) building. As you say, people grew up around it. I spent a lot of time in its shadow decades ago and developed what you might call a grudging respect for it--something I never developed for Boston's City Hall, which is atrocious.

    I have a hard time disliking most of the Salk Institute. Maybe it's just the setting, but I think it may actually be beautiful--minus its Cor-Ten steel gates that bleed rust all over the travertine at the entrance and a few other problems, some of them major.

    Finally, circling back to the question of Brutalism vs. Portmerion: an old friend of mine is a Güell, for whose ancestors Gaudí built Parc Güell in Barcelona. (In a travel piece of his, Waugh memorably refers to Gaudí's signature style with all its broken crockery as "Catalan Bathroom.") Many years ago, our Güell friend invited my then-wife and me to stay with him in Comillas, a seaside resort town in Cantabria on Spain's northern coast.

    Gaudí and the Güells spent a lot of time in Comillas around a century ago, along with the Royal Family and everyone else who was fancy, and they all left a lot of cool architecture around, including a very famous Gaudí building called El Capricho. The whole thing is obliquely reminiscent of Portmerion.

    One cold night in Comillas when we were there we all trudged over to a bar where by chance we ran into a cousin of our friend's who was I guess the grandson or whatever of ur-Brutalist Josep Lluís Sert. So we talked about Brutalism and stuff. Turns out Sert the architect, when he wasn't designing hideously oppressive buildings finished in board-formed concrete at Harvard or wherever, really enjoyed spending time in Comillas.

  49. anon. says:

    It’s almost hard to imagine anyone actually defending brutalist architecture, but this is like the 2019 version of Who? Whom? – instead of who does it benefit, we just have to ask who it irritates, and if it irritates the wrong people then we’re supposed to be in favor of it.

  50. Anonymous[427] • Disclaimer says:
    @ThreeCranes
    They rebuilt the local library here. It looks just like the new one in the picture in your link. It only holds half the books the old one did. The books they got rid of were the old classics, the intellectual heritage of the West. What remains is new stuff, largely topical and derivative, written by nobodies.

    Lot's of romance type of paperbacks by women authors. Nothing but picture books in the Nature category. And don't think you're going to find the manual to fix your old car either. Or remodel your kitchen. All that stuff's gone.

    So, no sense of history. No orienting one's self in the Great Chain of Intellectual Being. Not to worry though. It's no big loss. What today's readers were never aware of they will never miss.

    A selection committee composed of not particularly well-educated women, they pared our legacy right down to the bone. Now that's brutalism.

    Anyone with a MLS degree is probably quite stupid. And that’s who library systems hire.

    If your local library has some good old books, check them out and deposit them in the return immediately if you must once in a while. That way they can’t say “they don’t circulate”.

    If you have time, run for the library board if that is an elected position in your area. One or two solid peckerwoods can cause the SJCs and incompetents no end of grief.

    Of course, public libraries that receive federal funds could be required to maintain a “core classics collection”.

    • Replies: @ThreeCranes
    Great suggestions. Alas, the "core classic collection" seems to be gone. I looked for some Twain, Waugh, Plato, Kant, Conrad etc. Sadly, just a book here and there. What a disaster. If this is what's in store for America's community libraries, then it's the burning of the library of Alexandria all over again.

    But it is an airy building and there are computers. Seats at desks but no overstuffed chairs to seriously settle in with a good book. A Library Lite.
  51. It was a time when we had a socialist government who actually wanted to help the poor, and there was an idea about housing being a right.” …

    I think it’s about time that we can call bull sh*t on this notion that the socialists just wanted to help the poor. Socialists used the poor to win elections. Period. They used them like one would use a ladder to climb an obstacle. And when the poor didn’t sign on to all parts of the agenda, they were dumped for greener, or should I say browner, pastures.

    • Replies: @dfordoom


    It was a time when we had a socialist government who actually wanted to help the poor, and there was an idea about housing being a right.” …
     
    I think it’s about time that we can call bull sh*t on this notion that the socialists just wanted to help the poor. Socialists used the poor to win elections. Period. They used them like one would use a ladder to climb an obstacle.
     
    I don't think that's true. There was a time when socialists, or at least a proportion of them, were genuine idealists.

    And when the poor didn’t sign on to all parts of the agenda, they were dumped for greener, or should I say browner, pastures.
     
    It was more a case of the Left being bought off. Corporate money was used to corrupt the Left.
  52. @Anon
    One more remark on architecture:

    It should be different in different countries. Chinese palaces look different than Versallis. Red Square looks different than Mecca. This is a good thing. Im 100% opposed to this "one world" stuff. Same architecture and art all over the planet leads people towards an attitude that "its the same everywhere, so lets just have one global government". That would be a momentous mistake for human freedom.

    Im 100% opposed to this “one world” stuff. Same architecture and art all over the planet leads people towards an attitude that “its the same everywhere, so lets just have one global government”. That would be a momentous mistake for human freedom.

    Agreed.

    This is why I tend to avoid the major metropoli in most countries. Same stores, same hotels, same restaurants, same deracinated, decultured globalist progtard populations.

    The Dutch starchitect Rem Koolhaas actually did a study about this and came to my campus to lecture about it in the late 90s. His talk was sadly prophetic.

  53. @Sbalfa
    On my first visit to Long Beach, Calif I was amazed that there is a prison on the main drag in the middle of town. Turns out that it's City Hall!

    https://www.emporis.com/images/details/301710/fullheightview-southwest-view

    That is almost identical to the jail in downtown L.A.

  54. @Anonymous
    ....women love brutalism

    Zizek on brutalism:

    • LOL: Desiderius
    • Replies: @Clifford Brown
    Zizek could have likely developed a comedy career as a Yakov Smirnoff type character. Zizek is interesting because many Leftists appreciate his politically incorrect honesty because in their hearts they know they proclaim disingenuous beliefs.

    "I will tell you a wonderful story..."

    https://youtu.be/5dNbWGaaxWM?t=419
    , @Anonymous
    Incidentally, Yugoslavia had some cool Brutalist architecture. They were much more ambitious and experimental with their designs, whereas Brutalism in the US generally stuck to conservative forms and designs.
  55. This fellow: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christopher_Alexander

    is one of the most prominent anti-brutalist modern architecture professors. His books are not bad. This one is the first:

    https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/106728.The_Timeless_Way_of_Building

    It is very popular with one sect of computer programmers for reasons which are clear only to them. I forget the programmer buzzword that they promote for their clan. It is not a small clan.

    The best part of his books to me are his complaints about the architecture building at UC Berkeley and what a monstrous piece of garbage it is. I had to study the google image search page for a minute from a couple different angles to see that Wurster Hall was not the first building in this post.

    https://www.google.com/search?q=wurster+hall&rls=en&source=lnms&tbm=isch

  56. J.Ross says: • Website
    @istevefan
    Brutalism is akin to those ugly cookie cutter athletic stadiums built in the late 1960s and early 70s. Stadiums like Busch in St. Louis, Three Rivers in Pittsburgh and Riverfront in Cincinnati were neither good for baseball nor football. Thankfully most of them have been replaced.

    In Detroit we just got rid of Joe Louis Arena, a hockey venue named after a boxer, one of the few buildings to be built directly on a waterfront to make absolutely no use of the view at all except a smattering of tiny pseudo-nautical portholes.

    Our earlier hockey venue was like a red-brick Romanesque church.

    New one:

    • Replies: @The Last Real Calvinist
    You think messing up a view of Detroit is bad?

    Take a look at Hong Kong's infamous Cultural Centre, a civic building with several performance halls. In the photo below, the end of the building on the right, which is a blank wall, directly faces the absolute heart of Hong Kong's famous harbor.

    https://www.scmp.com/sites/default/files/2014/05/22/archive_scmp_a94139.jpg

    This is the million-dollar view that's being flipped the architectural middle finger:

    https://spengineeringhk.com/images/hongkong-skyline-nighttime.jpg
  57. @Clifford Brown
    The DC subway may technically be brutalist, but in its own way, it is an expression of a simple classic geometric form. There is something relaxing about the DC subway system that is woefully missing in most subways. The high vaulted ceilings reduce rider tension by creating a calming space. There is an almost church or crypt like quality to the DC Metro design.

    If it is brutalism, it is a humane form of it.

    Definitely classical. Reminds me of the Metropolitan Line Platform at Baker Street Station in London.

  58. I went to law school at the notoriously Brutalist Mudd Hall at Washington University in St. Louis, now thankfully torn down and replaced. Mudd Hall was a constant source of complaints and embarssment, universally loathed by students and faculty. Acoustics where terrible, ceilings leaked, and tha bare concrete was just depressing. Needless to say, it won architecture awards when it was first built.

  59. Anonymous[219] • Disclaimer says:
    @Steve Sailer
    Right, like the Brutalist one story Third World kindergarten in a comment's link is kind of cheery: here are these poor people building a really cheap school building to educate their children. Hopefully, the grandchildren of the students in this building will be able to afford to replace it with something better, but it's encouraging that any school building exists here at all.

    What cheery kindergarten do you mean?
    Napoleon described a building as cheery like a kindergarten, but it isn’t actually a kindergarten and it isn’t one story—look at the cars in the photo. It’s a court and it intimidates with its scale.

  60. @Anonymous
    Washington D.C.'s subway system is famously Brutalist. I think it may be the only Brutalist subway system in the world.

    One of its chief Brutalist features was its very dim lighting which gave it an interesting industrial, bunker, Ridley Scott sci-fi movie vibe. Recently they painted the walls and ceilings of the stations white to brighten up the stations, and there was some backlash because it impinged on its Brutalism :

    https://dc.curbed.com/2017/3/31/15122600/metro-wmata-union-station-paint-brutalism

    Anonymous[375]:

    My initial reaction in riding the DC subway was that its dim lighting would never do in NYC since it would be a mugger’s paradise!

  61. @Clifford Brown
    I am a fan of brutalism in doses. Ironically, brutalism which was supposed to be immune from the elements actually is an architectural style that suffers from the exposed elements more than most. Brutalism can often look crisp and refined in the Southern California sun (UC-Irvine Campus and the Salk Institute), but ages terribly in harsh northern winters. In cold and wet climates, the concrete of brutalist structures must be maintained and power washed or it will quickly show water stains and ugly discoloration.

    I have come to really appreciate the Boston City Hall. While I think the architectural style may send the wrong "message" to citizens, the building itself is fascinating. There are classical references in its facades and when viewed as an abstraction, it has an underlying beauty. Surprisingly, I have found the interior of the building to be best part. All sounds are hushed and the walls must have been recently cleaned when I visited because it looked impeccable. The interior is a truly unique space that in its own way was an attempt at constructing a futuristic and even utopian civic space. I highly recommend an in person visit. Most brutalist structure are ugly in person, but can be attractive with the right kind of high end photography. Still others become attractive as you encounter the building's presence in person.

    https://d279m997dpfwgl.cloudfront.net/wp/2017/05/0519_city-hall-art05-1000x666.jpg

    Thoughtful response. Brutalism can be imposing on the right site. I agree on Boston city hall, although I prefer the modernist submission by Y. C. Wong, a student of Mies. The main tower of the University of Illinois at Chicago by Walter Netsch is really elegant, although a veritable rabbit warren inside.

  62. @Mike Zwick
    It is a shame that they are going to screw up Washington Park with that. Washington Park is part of a system of parks that are to landscape design what a Frank Lloyd Wright or Louis Sullivan designed buildings are to architecture.

    They’re putting it in Jackson Park.

  63. @Steve Sailer
    What's it supposed to look like? A giant Luo hut?

    Maybe an AT-AT maintenance facility? A discarded concept from “Logan’s Run”? It’ll probably never get built anyway.

  64. @Jenner Ickham Errican
    Zizek on brutalism:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bwDrHqNZ9lo

    Zizek could have likely developed a comedy career as a Yakov Smirnoff type character. Zizek is interesting because many Leftists appreciate his politically incorrect honesty because in their hearts they know they proclaim disingenuous beliefs.

    “I will tell you a wonderful story…”

  65. Anon[727] • Disclaimer says:

    “Brutalist is popular because it’s cheap.”

    Brick is cheap. IMHO, Brutalism is popular because modern architects are untalented and lack culture and imagination. The Upper Class likes Brutalism because they are similarly devoid of a sense of aesthetics because they, being rootless citizens of the world, are not grounded in tradition and culture; they are also materialistic and short-sighted, so they do not have the requisite imagination to build great things anymore. You cannot build something on a foundation that does not exist, so they build ugly concrete boxes, instead. That’s all they know. Imagine a psychopath trying to describe an emotion that he’s never truly felt to a bystander – Shallow Affect. That’s Brutalism in a nutshell. Or maybe aphantasia is a better description of Brutalism.

    • Agree: Desiderius
    • Replies: @Desiderius
    The hidden cost of Brutalism is the opportunity cost of beauty foregone without even being attempted. It's at heart the architecture of cowards.
    , @Anon
    No, brick is expensive compared to concrete. Concrete is cheaper than brick, and brick is cheaper than stone, and human nature being what it is, people who live in concrete will pine for brick, and people in brick will pine for stone. This sneering at concrete buildings by people who live in more expensive buildings is pure class snobbery.

    Even the Romans tried to disguise their brick and concrete buildings to look like they were made of stone.

  66. @Anonymous
    Washington D.C.'s subway system is famously Brutalist. I think it may be the only Brutalist subway system in the world.

    One of its chief Brutalist features was its very dim lighting which gave it an interesting industrial, bunker, Ridley Scott sci-fi movie vibe. Recently they painted the walls and ceilings of the stations white to brighten up the stations, and there was some backlash because it impinged on its Brutalism :

    https://dc.curbed.com/2017/3/31/15122600/metro-wmata-union-station-paint-brutalism

    The Metrorail/Metromover elevated-train system in Miami has Brutalist pretensions.

  67. …a style of modern architecture that emerged in the 1950s and 1960s in the U.K., but was developed largely by French architects like Le Corbusier.

    Corbu talked the Indians into appointing him as chief architect of an entire new city to be built from the ground up, the capital of the Indian state of Punjab.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Le_Corbusier#Chandigarh_(1951%E2%80%931956)

    Googling the subject, there have been a number of pleas in the Indian press to preserve India’s brutalist architecture from the mid to late 20th century.

    Delhi’s Brutalism: Here are 11 historical structures we’ll regret losing. Because, memories.

    Over here, the New York Times voted the Atlas of Brutalist Architecture as The Best Art Book of 2018.

    In general, there seems to be a sudden worry among left aesthetes around the world that these ghastly buildings will be knocked down in our lifetimes. SOS Brutalism is another such compendium.

  68. “Socialists used the poor to win elections. Period.”

    Unfortunately, so do the capitalist republicans in the US. They pander to their base each election with things they aren’t willing to ever give them: a humble foreign policy, a border wall, deporting illegals to sanctuary cities, infrastructure programs …

    • Replies: @dfordoom


    “Socialists used the poor to win elections. Period.”
     
    Unfortunately, so do the capitalist republicans in the US.
     
    It's almost as if democracy was an inherently corrupt system that turns both politicians and voters into whores.
  69. @Anon
    One more remark on architecture:

    It should be different in different countries. Chinese palaces look different than Versallis. Red Square looks different than Mecca. This is a good thing. Im 100% opposed to this "one world" stuff. Same architecture and art all over the planet leads people towards an attitude that "its the same everywhere, so lets just have one global government". That would be a momentous mistake for human freedom.

    Its my feeling that this is the only successful argument. Let everyone be themselves. No sense in McDonald’s being the place to eat.

  70. Why are online white nationalists obsessed with modern architecture? It’s all a cover to push a racist and anti-Semitic agenda.

    The most prominent, most consistent critic of modern architecture I can think of on the Web is James Howard Kunstler. One might even say he is obsessed with the topic. Is he pushing a racist, anti-semitic agenda?

  71. adds Ido Vock

    Screenwriters all over Hollywood are kicking themselves for not having come up with this, the perfect villian’s name.

  72. @Altai
    GWB seemed to hasten it's adoption as a form of mollifying jargon to be used by PR and corporate hacks to feign an emotional concern for people one is otherwise busy screwing over.

    Additionally it and 'y'all' were adopted as woke twitter terms through their use in Ebonics by black SJWs with varying degrees of irony by young white women on twitter.

    GWB seemed to hasten it’s adoption as a form of mollifying jargon to be used by PR and corporate hacks to feign an emotional concern for people one is otherwise busy screwing over.

    Rush Limbaugh was using “folks” long before Bush the Younger rose to national prominence.

    I’ve always hated “folks” when used to address large groups of people. It has a fake, well, folksiness to it that is cloying and manipulative.

  73. @Anon
    They love Brutalism because it doesn't require a sense of aesthetics to appreciate. It is outwardly indicative of their inner, soulless and ugly, imaginations. Brutalism is like a psychopath's visual expression of what they think it's like to have human emotions.

    They love Brutalism because it doesn’t require a sense of aesthetics to appreciate. It is outwardly indicative of their inner, soulless and ugly, imaginations. Brutalism is like a psychopath’s visual expression of what they think it’s like to have human emotions.

    Well said.

  74. That first picture makes me want to reconsider whether the McKnight Towers in Minneapolis (aka the Crack Stacks) are the ugliest, scariest structures in the world. The upper stories may be valued for their views (which don’t include the McKnight!; architect Ralph Rapson suspiciously had his office inside). But the lower floors got so bad they may be the only place in the world improved by an influx of Somalis.

    William McKnight was one of the builders of 3M. Doesn’t that company have some product that can be wrapped around this eyesore? Billy Martin complained that the atrocious Metrodome was named after a “great guy”, but this is a far less deserved insult.

    By the way, is there anyone in French Swiss history to balance the horrors that were John Calvin and Le Corbusier?

  75. I recall liking Howard Roark, before they added the trim.

    • Replies: @Dube
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vDI-afx6ejk
  76. the Boston City Hall, an upside-down Aztec human sacrifice platform

    Just what was wrong with Scollay Square?

    It even made an appearance in a bit song! Here, from the pride of Punahou School:

  77. Antidote: a moving Roger Scruton documentary in praise of traditional beauty.

    Scruton is a great thinker and writer on architecture, btw. He’s been an inspiration to both the New Classicists and the New Urbanists.

  78. @Thirdtwin
    Would you classify the Obama Presidential Center main tower as Brutalist? It looks pretty brutal to me...

    https://chicago.curbed.com/2017/8/23/16190550/obama-presidential-center-parking-garage-site-map

    Yes.

    Funny when the parking garage (on the right) looks more warm and inviting than the library it is attached to.

  79. It’s almost as if brutalist buildings tend not to actually be good for the poor bastards still stuck living in them …

    About 50 years ago, Clarkson College of Technology built a concrete science hall which was immediately plagued with extensive leaks. Usually in the rain. Imagine the embarrassment at an engineering school. They didn’t offer architecture, but their civil engineers should have clued them in.

    Frank Lloyd Wright brushed off the structural engineer’s warning on one of his cantilevered houses, in Illinois I think, and the damned thing has to be propped up today.

    Anybody know if that building stands at Clarkson “University” today?

    Rock’s noisiest band ironically made in silence the best commentary ever on Brutalist aesthetics:

    • Replies: @Anonymous
    'Won't Get Fooled Again'.

    The greatest political sentiment ever.
  80. Lot says:
    @Alden
    Brutalist is popular because it’s cheap.

    Brutalist Boston City Hall may finally get torn down because it is so expensive to maintain. I’m not sure about building costs, but full lifecycle costs brutalism isn’t cheap at all.

    I’d expect it to be expensive to build though because huge masses of “ornamental” concrete is really heavy and requires more foundation design and preparation.

  81. The PanAm Building (now MetLife) brutalized Park Avenue, the Helmsley Building, and Grand Central Terminal.

    • Replies: @Clifford Brown
    Even better...

    https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/f/f5/Grand_Central_Terminal_MetLife_Building_Park_Ave_viaduct_Summer_Streets.jpg/800px-Grand_Central_Terminal_MetLife_Building_Park_Ave_viaduct_Summer_Streets.jpg
    , @Pericles
    There is also the AT&T Long Lines Building, though it's perhaps more of a vertical bunker. Note the lack of windows.

    https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/a/a5/AT%26T_Long_Lines_building.jpg

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/33_Thomas_Street
    , @Jenner Ickham Errican
    Some views were killer. Too bad they changed the name. (#44)

    https://pccdn.perfectchannel.com/christies/live/images/item/TimelessNationalGeographic24701/5755639/original/NYR_3453_0097.jpg
  82. Anonymous[375] • Disclaimer says:
    @Mike Zwick
    Le Corbusier also created a plan for Paris where much of the city would be leveled and replaced with rows of high rise buildings separated by open spaces. This was never adopted by the French but it was adopted by Americans in the 50's and 60's in urban renewal projects such as Cabrini Green and the Robert Taylor Homes in Chicago and Pruitt Igoe in St. Louis.

    There were right-wing Italian Fascists who wanted to level Venice and fill in the canals with cement and build a new city with Futurist architecture.

  83. @istevefan

    It was a time when we had a socialist government who actually wanted to help the poor, and there was an idea about housing being a right.” …
     
    I think it's about time that we can call bull sh*t on this notion that the socialists just wanted to help the poor. Socialists used the poor to win elections. Period. They used them like one would use a ladder to climb an obstacle. And when the poor didn't sign on to all parts of the agenda, they were dumped for greener, or should I say browner, pastures.

    It was a time when we had a socialist government who actually wanted to help the poor, and there was an idea about housing being a right.” …

    I think it’s about time that we can call bull sh*t on this notion that the socialists just wanted to help the poor. Socialists used the poor to win elections. Period. They used them like one would use a ladder to climb an obstacle.

    I don’t think that’s true. There was a time when socialists, or at least a proportion of them, were genuine idealists.

    And when the poor didn’t sign on to all parts of the agenda, they were dumped for greener, or should I say browner, pastures.

    It was more a case of the Left being bought off. Corporate money was used to corrupt the Left.

  84. @Buzz Mohawk
    The PanAm Building (now MetLife) brutalized Park Avenue, the Helmsley Building, and Grand Central Terminal.

    https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/5/5a/Park_Avenue_directly_heading_for_Helmsley_Building_and_Met_Life_Building.jpg

    Even better…

    • Replies: @J.Ross
    That's like the proposal Gary Cooper rejects in The Fountainhead, skyscraper above, civilized architecture on the first few floors.
  85. Anonymous[375] • Disclaimer says:
    @Jenner Ickham Errican
    Zizek on brutalism:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bwDrHqNZ9lo

    Incidentally, Yugoslavia had some cool Brutalist architecture. They were much more ambitious and experimental with their designs, whereas Brutalism in the US generally stuck to conservative forms and designs.

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    My favorite online comment:

    "My parents bought me a Yugoslavian Brutalist war memorial"

  86. @Nathan
    What the he'll happened to the word "folks?" It used to be a folksy word that reffered to people like your grandparents. Now it has a sinister Maoist ring to it.

    1999- I'm going back to Cali to visit my folks.

    2019- Your language doesn't include some folks, and that's problematic.

    2029- We had to send some folks out to the people's farm collective because they were bourgeois and needed re-education.

    What the he’ll happened to the word “folks?” It used to be a folksy word that reffered to people like your grandparents. Now it has a sinister Maoist ring to it.

    Maybe it was Obama: “We tortured some folks.”

    https://www.politico.com/story/2014/08/john-brennan-torture-cia-109654

    • Replies: @Nathan
    I always assumed that that was one of Obama's weird verbal tics that nobody seemed to notice for 8 years. For someone that was supposed to be a great orator, he relied on so many cliches and affectations.
  87. @Clifford Brown
    Even better...

    https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/f/f5/Grand_Central_Terminal_MetLife_Building_Park_Ave_viaduct_Summer_Streets.jpg/800px-Grand_Central_Terminal_MetLife_Building_Park_Ave_viaduct_Summer_Streets.jpg

    That’s like the proposal Gary Cooper rejects in The Fountainhead, skyscraper above, civilized architecture on the first few floors.

  88. Anonymous[375] • Disclaimer says:
    @Anonymous
    ....women love brutalism

    Brutalism is a very masculine style. Part of the nostalgia for Brutalism on the Left is for the older more masculine Leftism and meat and potatoes socialism.

    • Agree: PiltdownMan
    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    Good point.
    , @YetAnotherAnon
    "Part of the nostalgia for Brutalism on the Left is for the older more masculine Leftism and meat and potatoes socialism."

    Yes - donkey jacket and beret socialism rather than hand made (artisan!) shoes, tieless white shirt and
    dark jacket socialism.
  89. @Buzz Mohawk
    The PanAm Building (now MetLife) brutalized Park Avenue, the Helmsley Building, and Grand Central Terminal.

    https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/5/5a/Park_Avenue_directly_heading_for_Helmsley_Building_and_Met_Life_Building.jpg

    There is also the AT&T Long Lines Building, though it’s perhaps more of a vertical bunker. Note the lack of windows.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/33_Thomas_Street

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    Some of these spooky telecom skyscrapers have no windows because they are are ... what, all electronics on the inside?
    , @Clifford Brown
    One of my faves. I have had several entertaining conversations with the security people at this building. Basically, NSA North.

    Architecturally, it has real Egyptian sensibilities.
    , @Anonymous
    Grain silo.
  90. @Anonymous
    Brutalism is a very masculine style. Part of the nostalgia for Brutalism on the Left is for the older more masculine Leftism and meat and potatoes socialism.

    Good point.

  91. Anonymous[375] • Disclaimer says:
    @Clifford Brown
    The DC subway may technically be brutalist, but in its own way, it is an expression of a simple classic geometric form. There is something relaxing about the DC subway system that is woefully missing in most subways. The high vaulted ceilings reduce rider tension by creating a calming space. There is an almost church or crypt like quality to the DC Metro design.

    If it is brutalism, it is a humane form of it.

    There are similarities between Brutalism and Stripped Classicism, which preceded it. Stripped Classicism was the style favored by Big Government in the first half of the 20th century. The Fascists, Communists, and FDR era New Deal America all loved Stripped Classicism for government buildings. It has Classical shapes and forms but it’s “stripped” of decoration and ornamentation and is more austere. The Pentagon is a good example of Stripped Classicism. Brutalism is similar in its shapes and forms and material, but it doesn’t adhere to Classical proportions and it has more mass and heaviness in its effect.

  92. Anonymous[375] • Disclaimer says:

    The FBI HQ in DC is a Brutalist monster that takes up a whole block:

    https://media.istockphoto.com/photos/headquarters-washington-dc-usa-picture-id922447756

    • Replies: @Clifford Brown
    Trump blocked the FBI from leaving this pile.
  93. @Buzz Mohawk
    The PanAm Building (now MetLife) brutalized Park Avenue, the Helmsley Building, and Grand Central Terminal.

    https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/5/5a/Park_Avenue_directly_heading_for_Helmsley_Building_and_Met_Life_Building.jpg

    Some views were killer. Too bad they changed the name. (#44)

  94. Anonymous[229] • Disclaimer says:

    The trouble with brutalist architecture – using unsurfaced concrete – in the British climate is this:

    The UK is well known and notorious for its cold, dark, dank, cloudy, overcast and gloomy atmosphere, especially in the short dark days of winter. Brutalist concrete picks up dark damp stains from the UK’s incessant rain. The dark stains – which disfigure whole facades of buildings – in the damp wet climate persist for week after week giving the whole building, under the perma grey, monochrome UK sky, with its low obscured sun, a most depressing dispiriting aspect. The winter cold makes it even worse.

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    Right. The Sunkist office building in Sherman Oaks, CA in the SFV looks kind of like the Boston City Hall, but in the California sunshine, with pleasant landscaping architecture around it, it's not soul-crushing.

    Many of the UC campuses have bad building architecture, but nice landscape architecture (trees grow fast in California), so they are, on the whole, okay.

  95. @Pericles
    There is also the AT&T Long Lines Building, though it's perhaps more of a vertical bunker. Note the lack of windows.

    https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/a/a5/AT%26T_Long_Lines_building.jpg

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/33_Thomas_Street

    Some of these spooky telecom skyscrapers have no windows because they are are … what, all electronics on the inside?

    • Replies: @Not Raul
    That is correct. Electronics can’t appreciate the view, and AT&T doesn’t want us to watch them listen to our phone calls.
  96. Anonymous[229] • Disclaimer says:
    @Reg Cæsar

    It’s almost as if brutalist buildings tend not to actually be good for the poor bastards still stuck living in them …
     
    About 50 years ago, Clarkson College of Technology built a concrete science hall which was immediately plagued with extensive leaks. Usually in the rain. Imagine the embarrassment at an engineering school. They didn't offer architecture, but their civil engineers should have clued them in.

    Frank Lloyd Wright brushed off the structural engineer's warning on one of his cantilevered houses, in Illinois I think, and the damned thing has to be propped up today.

    Anybody know if that building stands at Clarkson "University" today?

    Rock's noisiest band ironically made in silence the best commentary ever on Brutalist aesthetics:

    http://ultimateclassicrock.com/files/2016/08/The-Who-Whos-Next-Cover-Photo.jpg?w=630&h=420&zc=1&s=0&a=t&q=89

    ‘Won’t Get Fooled Again’.

    The greatest political sentiment ever.

  97. @Anonymous
    The trouble with brutalist architecture - using unsurfaced concrete - in the British climate is this:

    The UK is well known and notorious for its cold, dark, dank, cloudy, overcast and gloomy atmosphere, especially in the short dark days of winter. Brutalist concrete picks up dark damp stains from the UK's incessant rain. The dark stains - which disfigure whole facades of buildings - in the damp wet climate persist for week after week giving the whole building, under the perma grey, monochrome UK sky, with its low obscured sun, a most depressing dispiriting aspect. The winter cold makes it even worse.

    Right. The Sunkist office building in Sherman Oaks, CA in the SFV looks kind of like the Boston City Hall, but in the California sunshine, with pleasant landscaping architecture around it, it’s not soul-crushing.

    Many of the UC campuses have bad building architecture, but nice landscape architecture (trees grow fast in California), so they are, on the whole, okay.

  98. Anonymous[229] • Disclaimer says:

    The *real* brake on brutalist architecture, in the UK at least, were fire regulations which forbade any habitable structures greater than six stories or so, due to the impossibility of fire ladders reaching that height.

    These regulations were relaxed post 1945, hence the UK got its batch of ‘skyscrapers’ just like the USA.

    Grenfell Tower ultimately showed the wisdom of the original regulations.

  99. Every 30 years like clockwork a new generation of architects emerges from the colleges and universities and declares that all existing public buildings are “eyesores” which must be pulled down and rebuilt…

    Of course only philistines would wonder if they have motivations that aren’t entirely aesthetic

  100. @Anonymous
    The FBI HQ in DC is a Brutalist monster that takes up a whole block:

    https://media.istockphoto.com/photos/headquarters-washington-dc-usa-picture-id922447756

    Trump blocked the FBI from leaving this pile.

  101. As they say socialist city planners in fifties and sixties did more damage to Britain’s architectural heritage than the Luftwaffe did. There is a book documenting all the beautiful historic, often Georgian, town centres that no longer exist. Thankfully when Richmond rebuilt their town centre they just knocked up a Georgian copy in fitting with the town’s history.

    https://images.app.goo.gl/4VySsigcy8vB4XLCA

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    It's not actually impossible just to copy old buildings. They did it in Dresden and, more recently, points east.

    When I was at Rice U., the best building, Sewall Hall, was a new one built in the early 1970s. But the donor had specified that it be identical to the old building across the hall from it. So they made it 1920ish on the outside and very comfortable on the inside and all the professors wanted an office in it.

    , @Anonymous
    For a moment I thought you meant Richmond, Yorkshire.

    The Yorkshire Richmond is the original Richmond after which the 'London' Richmond and the Virginian Richmond were named. Apparently one English king named that Thameside piece of land after his favourite Yorkshire palace. Originally, the place was simply known as 'Ham'.
    , @Dmitry
    London has some very ugly housing architecture of the 1950s-1970s.

    On the other hand, on the South Bank of London, more successful and higher quality brutalist architecture projects, of reinforced concrete, which are some of the most successful pedestrian areas of London:

    1. National Theatre

    2. Royal Festival Hall

    3. National Film Theatre

    4. Haywood Gallery

    -

    South Bank of London, is one of most successful after Second World War areas, in terms of its atmosphere and urban planning, despite being formed from brutalist concrete.

    But these brutalist concrete projects of South Bank of London, are atypical, because example of prestige projects, where there was an unlimited budget.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IiY7a8L3Y0c

  102. @Pericles
    There is also the AT&T Long Lines Building, though it's perhaps more of a vertical bunker. Note the lack of windows.

    https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/a/a5/AT%26T_Long_Lines_building.jpg

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/33_Thomas_Street

    One of my faves. I have had several entertaining conversations with the security people at this building. Basically, NSA North.

    Architecturally, it has real Egyptian sensibilities.

    • Replies: @Not Raul
    I agree. It looks pretty neat. It looks kinda like it could be a temple at Karnak in Egypt.
  103. @Steve Sailer
    Some of these spooky telecom skyscrapers have no windows because they are are ... what, all electronics on the inside?

    That is correct. Electronics can’t appreciate the view, and AT&T doesn’t want us to watch them listen to our phone calls.

  104. @Clifford Brown
    One of my faves. I have had several entertaining conversations with the security people at this building. Basically, NSA North.

    Architecturally, it has real Egyptian sensibilities.

    I agree. It looks pretty neat. It looks kinda like it could be a temple at Karnak in Egypt.

  105. @LondonBob
    As they say socialist city planners in fifties and sixties did more damage to Britain's architectural heritage than the Luftwaffe did. There is a book documenting all the beautiful historic, often Georgian, town centres that no longer exist. Thankfully when Richmond rebuilt their town centre they just knocked up a Georgian copy in fitting with the town's history.

    https://images.app.goo.gl/4VySsigcy8vB4XLCA

    It’s not actually impossible just to copy old buildings. They did it in Dresden and, more recently, points east.

    When I was at Rice U., the best building, Sewall Hall, was a new one built in the early 1970s. But the donor had specified that it be identical to the old building across the hall from it. So they made it 1920ish on the outside and very comfortable on the inside and all the professors wanted an office in it.

    • Replies: @The Last Real Calvinist
    In Hong Kong's Wan Chai district, there's a whole street, Lee Tung Avenue, that was recently redeveloped in a faux-colonial style.

    Before the redevelopment, it was pretty run-down, but it had a lot of printing shops that sold wedding invitation cards, which are a big deal here. It looked like this:

    https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/a/ad/Leetungst.jpg/330px-Leetungst.jpg

    After the redevelopment, it looks like this:

    http://www.constructionplusasia.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/06/P1.6-1.jpg

    https://sintatantra.com/custom_images/2400x2400/usr/library/images/main/9423/13.jpg

    This past Christmas, it was decorated with the same kind of angels that were used in Regent Street in London:

    https://yp.scmp.com/sites/default/files/styles/615x400/public/images/f29gsxrr_0.jpg?itok=W6gw6TWe

    There was endless bitching about this project here. All the tiresome proggie types who wouldn't have set foot in Lee Tung Avenue in its slummy ickiness for love or money were suddenly ardent advocates for 'maintaining traditional Hong Kong culture', and for banning 'Disney style' 'fake' traditional architecture.

    Well, they were ultimately overruled, and the redeveloped street is a huge hit. It's full of people, locals and tourists alike, and is a genuine pleasure to walk through and linger in.

    It raises the question: is there anyone other than architects and their prog groupies who really believe there's something wrong with putting up new buildings in older styles? It seems to be an unwritten rule that's just begging to 'transgressed' in ways that would benefit many cities.
    , @LondonBob
    They did that very impressively with Warsaw Old Town after Warsaw was flattened in WWII.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Warsaw_Old_Town
  106. “Fort Apache” the award-winning RC church near the high school I attended. The architects should’ve been pegged out naked to suffer not just the brutality of the whole exterior but to appreciate just how cold * the interior is in, say, mid August:

    St Brides Church, East Kilbride

    * Ideal for funerals, I suppose, since the folks huddled together for warmth can be interpreted by the generous of spirit as displaying great family solidarity.

    • Replies: @Anonymous
    It just looks like a brick wall. Any brick wall.
  107. @J.Ross
    In Detroit we just got rid of Joe Louis Arena, a hockey venue named after a boxer, one of the few buildings to be built directly on a waterfront to make absolutely no use of the view at all except a smattering of tiny pseudo-nautical portholes.
    https://www.gannett-cdn.com/-mm-/7ef6e4d9eed056cbd890804f9e52a3b6becc568d/c=0-292-5616-3451&r=x1683&c=3200x1680/local/-/media/DetroitNews/2014/10/16/-joelouisarena-aerial-t.jpg20141016.jpg
    Our earlier hockey venue was like a red-brick Romanesque church.
    http://www.sportsecyclopedia.com/nhl/det/Olympia4.jpg
    New one:
    https://media.clickondetroit.com/photo/2015/12/01/new-Red-Wings-stadium-jpg_877695_ver1.0_1280_720.jpg

    You think messing up a view of Detroit is bad?

    Take a look at Hong Kong’s infamous Cultural Centre, a civic building with several performance halls. In the photo below, the end of the building on the right, which is a blank wall, directly faces the absolute heart of Hong Kong’s famous harbor.

    This is the million-dollar view that’s being flipped the architectural middle finger:

    • Replies: @Pericles
    Hong Kong also has the Connaught Center, more popularly known as ...

    http://www.susanbkason.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/04/Connaught-Centre.jpg

    ... the House of a Thousand Arseholes.

    (I was told it's mainly lawyers in there.)

    http://www.susanbkason.com/2010/04/14/the-house-of-a-thousand-arseholes-2/#.XMmGQJMzbLF
  108. @Steve Sailer
    It's not actually impossible just to copy old buildings. They did it in Dresden and, more recently, points east.

    When I was at Rice U., the best building, Sewall Hall, was a new one built in the early 1970s. But the donor had specified that it be identical to the old building across the hall from it. So they made it 1920ish on the outside and very comfortable on the inside and all the professors wanted an office in it.

    In Hong Kong’s Wan Chai district, there’s a whole street, Lee Tung Avenue, that was recently redeveloped in a faux-colonial style.

    Before the redevelopment, it was pretty run-down, but it had a lot of printing shops that sold wedding invitation cards, which are a big deal here. It looked like this:

    After the redevelopment, it looks like this:

    This past Christmas, it was decorated with the same kind of angels that were used in Regent Street in London:

    There was endless bitching about this project here. All the tiresome proggie types who wouldn’t have set foot in Lee Tung Avenue in its slummy ickiness for love or money were suddenly ardent advocates for ‘maintaining traditional Hong Kong culture’, and for banning ‘Disney style’ ‘fake’ traditional architecture.

    Well, they were ultimately overruled, and the redeveloped street is a huge hit. It’s full of people, locals and tourists alike, and is a genuine pleasure to walk through and linger in.

    It raises the question: is there anyone other than architects and their prog groupies who really believe there’s something wrong with putting up new buildings in older styles? It seems to be an unwritten rule that’s just begging to ‘transgressed’ in ways that would benefit many cities.

    • Replies: @slumber_j

    It raises the question: is there anyone other than architects and their prog groupies who really believe there’s something wrong with putting up new buildings in older styles?
     
    I mostly do, yeah. Generally speaking, new buildings done in old styles aren't detailed at all correctly, which makes them look bad.

    That's a function of the decline in traditional craftsmanship, the will to cheapness, and actual statutory restrictions. In any major project in any developed country on earth, you now have to use insulated windows with multi-pane glass and argon and fake mullions and so on, and they clash badly with any attempt at recapitulating traditional design. Check out the fenestration on that Hong Kong project you cite for example.
  109. @Steve Sailer
    It's not actually impossible just to copy old buildings. They did it in Dresden and, more recently, points east.

    When I was at Rice U., the best building, Sewall Hall, was a new one built in the early 1970s. But the donor had specified that it be identical to the old building across the hall from it. So they made it 1920ish on the outside and very comfortable on the inside and all the professors wanted an office in it.

    They did that very impressively with Warsaw Old Town after Warsaw was flattened in WWII.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Warsaw_Old_Town

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    It's wonderful that Eastern Europe's best architecture is being rebuilt.
  110. @LondonBob
    They did that very impressively with Warsaw Old Town after Warsaw was flattened in WWII.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Warsaw_Old_Town

    It’s wonderful that Eastern Europe’s best architecture is being rebuilt.

    • Replies: @jim jones
    Albania is famous for the millions of concrete pillboxes that litter the countryside.
  111. Reminds me of the “love story” of Howard Roark and Dominique Falcone in Ayn Rand’s The Fountainhead.

    • Replies: @Alden
    Fountain head, a book glorifying an architect who invented the housing project for the prosperous middle class.

    Rand is supposed to be anti communist. But the thesis of Fountainhead is that the owners of the building, who buy the land, get the permits and hire the architect and builders should have no right of control over the design.

    It’s called arrogance.
  112. @Steve Sailer
    It's wonderful that Eastern Europe's best architecture is being rebuilt.

    Albania is famous for the millions of concrete pillboxes that litter the countryside.

    • Replies: @Anonymous
    ....and also for loving 1950s British comedian Norman Wisdom.
  113. @Anonymous
    Incidentally, Yugoslavia had some cool Brutalist architecture. They were much more ambitious and experimental with their designs, whereas Brutalism in the US generally stuck to conservative forms and designs.

    My favorite online comment:

    “My parents bought me a Yugoslavian Brutalist war memorial”

  114. So, Brutalism is doing Classical Greco-Roman building cheap and ugly? Not the Coliseum, but the apartment buildings that were always on fire or collapsing?

  115. I present the building formerly known as the headquarters of Sears Canada, now an Ontario government building, the hideous 222 Jarvis:

  116. Anonymous[169] • Disclaimer says:
    @Pericles
    There is also the AT&T Long Lines Building, though it's perhaps more of a vertical bunker. Note the lack of windows.

    https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/a/a5/AT%26T_Long_Lines_building.jpg

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/33_Thomas_Street

    Grain silo.

  117. Anonymous[169] • Disclaimer says:
    @jim jones
    Albania is famous for the millions of concrete pillboxes that litter the countryside.

    ….and also for loving 1950s British comedian Norman Wisdom.

  118. Anonymous[169] • Disclaimer says:
    @Cortes
    “Fort Apache” the award-winning RC church near the high school I attended. The architects should’ve been pegged out naked to suffer not just the brutality of the whole exterior but to appreciate just how cold * the interior is in, say, mid August:

    https://www.flickr.com/photos/ilike/64279412/in/set-123205/

    * Ideal for funerals, I suppose, since the folks huddled together for warmth can be interpreted by the generous of spirit as displaying great family solidarity.

    It just looks like a brick wall. Any brick wall.

  119. Anonymous[169] • Disclaimer says:
    @LondonBob
    As they say socialist city planners in fifties and sixties did more damage to Britain's architectural heritage than the Luftwaffe did. There is a book documenting all the beautiful historic, often Georgian, town centres that no longer exist. Thankfully when Richmond rebuilt their town centre they just knocked up a Georgian copy in fitting with the town's history.

    https://images.app.goo.gl/4VySsigcy8vB4XLCA

    For a moment I thought you meant Richmond, Yorkshire.

    The Yorkshire Richmond is the original Richmond after which the ‘London’ Richmond and the Virginian Richmond were named. Apparently one English king named that Thameside piece of land after his favourite Yorkshire palace. Originally, the place was simply known as ‘Ham’.

  120. @The Last Real Calvinist
    You think messing up a view of Detroit is bad?

    Take a look at Hong Kong's infamous Cultural Centre, a civic building with several performance halls. In the photo below, the end of the building on the right, which is a blank wall, directly faces the absolute heart of Hong Kong's famous harbor.

    https://www.scmp.com/sites/default/files/2014/05/22/archive_scmp_a94139.jpg

    This is the million-dollar view that's being flipped the architectural middle finger:

    https://spengineeringhk.com/images/hongkong-skyline-nighttime.jpg

    Hong Kong also has the Connaught Center, more popularly known as …

    … the House of a Thousand Arseholes.

    (I was told it’s mainly lawyers in there.)

    http://www.susanbkason.com/2010/04/14/the-house-of-a-thousand-arseholes-2/#.XMmGQJMzbLF

    • Replies: @The Last Real Calvinist
    It's called Jardine House now, if you're looking for current info/photos, and it's essentially just an office block. It's in one of HK's very best locations in Central.

    But its nickname endures.
  121. @Steve Sailer
    Corbu is, I believe, more or less a character in Waugh's 1928 novel "Decline and Fall." Corbu was like the least culturally sensitive person imaginable.

    Yes, it’s in Decline and Fall rather than Brideshead Revisited that I remember Waugh’s most savage critique of Modernist architecture generally. This is from an interesting piece on a woman who may well have been the model for Lady Metroland:

    So, if I’m right, in March or April, 1928, Evelyn began to write about King’s Thursday, a house in Wiltshire. When Margot bought the original Tudor building she had it demolished and replaced with something ‘clean and square’ by a young architect, Professor Otto Silenus. One of the features of this glass and concrete monstrosity is a tank of octopuses installed in one of the rooms. Naomi Milthorpe wrote a PhD thesis on Waugh’s novels in 2009, and its first chapter is ‘Quite right to suppress them: Decline and Fall and England and the Octopus’. The latter is a book by Clough Williams-Ellis that was published the same year as Decline and Fall. Williams-Ellis was an architect, famous for designing the Italianate Portmeirion on the Welsh coast, the intriguing setting for the TV series The Prisoner, and his book is a polemic against what he sees as the despoliation of the English countryside via the tentacle growth of urban development. Naomi Milthorpe argues that Waugh’s novel has the same target, though using satirical means to hit it.

    https://www.evelynwaugh.org.uk/styled-32/index.html

    Brutalist progenitor Louis Kahn’s thoughts on leaving beautiful ruins prefigure this point of yours:

    Brutalist buildings, despite or because of their Ozymandias/1984 aesthetics — “Look on my Ministry of Love, ye bourgeoisie, and despair!” — tend to have a shorter natural life than more traditional building whose designs embody the wisdom of the ages rather than spitting in its eye out of ideological conviction.

    The better (or I guess less bad) examples of Brutalism would include a lot of Kahn’s stuff–the Salk Institute is an obvious example–and also Erno Goldfinger’s[!] Trellick Tower, featured in Martin Amis’s novel London Fields and the music video for the Oasis song “Morning Glory”:

    I guess I understand the weird affection for Trellick Tower, which is a Listed (which is to say protected) building. As you say, people grew up around it. I spent a lot of time in its shadow decades ago and developed what you might call a grudging respect for it–something I never developed for Boston’s City Hall, which is atrocious.

    I have a hard time disliking most of the Salk Institute. Maybe it’s just the setting, but I think it may actually be beautiful–minus its Cor-Ten steel gates that bleed rust all over the travertine at the entrance and a few other problems, some of them major.

    Finally, circling back to the question of Brutalism vs. Portmerion: an old friend of mine is a Güell, for whose ancestors Gaudí built Parc Güell in Barcelona. (In a travel piece of his, Waugh memorably refers to Gaudí’s signature style with all its broken crockery as “Catalan Bathroom.”) Many years ago, our Güell friend invited my then-wife and me to stay with him in Comillas, a seaside resort town in Cantabria on Spain’s northern coast.

    Gaudí and the Güells spent a lot of time in Comillas around a century ago, along with the Royal Family and everyone else who was fancy, and they all left a lot of cool architecture around, including a very famous Gaudí building called El Capricho. The whole thing is obliquely reminiscent of Portmerion.

    One cold night in Comillas when we were there we all trudged over to a bar where by chance we ran into a cousin of our friend’s who was I guess the grandson or whatever of ur-Brutalist Josep Lluís Sert. So we talked about Brutalism and stuff. Turns out Sert the architect, when he wasn’t designing hideously oppressive buildings finished in board-formed concrete at Harvard or wherever, really enjoyed spending time in Comillas.

    • Replies: @Pericles

    also Erno Goldfinger’s[!] Trellick Tower, featured in Martin Amis’s novel London Fields and the music video for the Oasis song “Morning Glory”
     
    Which prompts me to mention his connection to James Bond by way of architecture:

    (((Goldfinger))) was known as a humourless man given to notorious rages. He sometimes fired his assistants if they were inappropriately jocular, and once forcibly ejected two prospective clients for imposing restrictions on his design.[4]

    A discussion on a golf course about Ernő with Goldfinger's cousin prompted Ian Fleming to name the James Bond adversary and villain Auric Goldfinger after Ernő (Fleming had previously been among the objectors to the pre-war demolition of the cottages in Hampstead that were removed to make way for Goldfinger's house at 2 Willow Road). Goldfinger consulted his lawyers when Goldfinger was published in 1959, which prompted Fleming to threaten to rename the character 'Goldprick', but eventually decided not to sue; Fleming's publishers agreed to pay his costs and gave him six free copies of the book.[5][6]

     

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ern%C5%91_Goldfinger
  122. @The Last Real Calvinist
    In Hong Kong's Wan Chai district, there's a whole street, Lee Tung Avenue, that was recently redeveloped in a faux-colonial style.

    Before the redevelopment, it was pretty run-down, but it had a lot of printing shops that sold wedding invitation cards, which are a big deal here. It looked like this:

    https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/a/ad/Leetungst.jpg/330px-Leetungst.jpg

    After the redevelopment, it looks like this:

    http://www.constructionplusasia.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/06/P1.6-1.jpg

    https://sintatantra.com/custom_images/2400x2400/usr/library/images/main/9423/13.jpg

    This past Christmas, it was decorated with the same kind of angels that were used in Regent Street in London:

    https://yp.scmp.com/sites/default/files/styles/615x400/public/images/f29gsxrr_0.jpg?itok=W6gw6TWe

    There was endless bitching about this project here. All the tiresome proggie types who wouldn't have set foot in Lee Tung Avenue in its slummy ickiness for love or money were suddenly ardent advocates for 'maintaining traditional Hong Kong culture', and for banning 'Disney style' 'fake' traditional architecture.

    Well, they were ultimately overruled, and the redeveloped street is a huge hit. It's full of people, locals and tourists alike, and is a genuine pleasure to walk through and linger in.

    It raises the question: is there anyone other than architects and their prog groupies who really believe there's something wrong with putting up new buildings in older styles? It seems to be an unwritten rule that's just begging to 'transgressed' in ways that would benefit many cities.

    It raises the question: is there anyone other than architects and their prog groupies who really believe there’s something wrong with putting up new buildings in older styles?

    I mostly do, yeah. Generally speaking, new buildings done in old styles aren’t detailed at all correctly, which makes them look bad.

    That’s a function of the decline in traditional craftsmanship, the will to cheapness, and actual statutory restrictions. In any major project in any developed country on earth, you now have to use insulated windows with multi-pane glass and argon and fake mullions and so on, and they clash badly with any attempt at recapitulating traditional design. Check out the fenestration on that Hong Kong project you cite for example.

    • Replies: @The Last Real Calvinist
    Yes, those are good points, and I understand architects can't 'recreate' the highlights of traditional building styles without taking extremely expensive specialist measures.

    I also recognize the ersatz quality of the Lee Tung Avenue project. But something about it works. In spite of its inauthentic fenestration, people simply like being there. The combination of pretty (certainly not beautiful) faux-colonial buildings (which actually comprise the podiums for high-rise residential towers above) with a pedestrian street with nice benches, decorations, access to al fresco drinks and food -- there is something here that even in its imperfect, frankly nostalgic execution still speaks to people at a deep level. So when you say new buildings in old styles 'look bad', I must ask, look bad to whom?

    I'm very interested in Christopher Alexander's 'pattern language'. A few years ago I read his magnum opus end to end; it made a powerful impression on me. I think it's possible that Lee Tung Avenue is recreating patterns that encourage certain kinds of human interactions that have been spat upon by modernist and postmodernist architects for many decades, and that people are starving, whether they know it consciously or not, for more 'pattern language-friendly' places to be.

    You obviously have some knowledge of architecture; what do you think of Alexander and his vision?

  123. Anonymous[169] • Disclaimer says:

    The most depressing show of brutalist architecture to be found anywhere is around London’ s Elephant and Castle district, especially around the shopping precinct and the Old Kent Road junction.

    Hideous, cheap and nasty looking in a run down decaying neighborhood. The irony is that ‘The Elephant’ is merely a mile or so distance from the wealth of the City across the river.

  124. Hey iSteve, looks like you have joined in criticism of the Bauhaus. The problem with criticizing ‘Brutalism’, Bauhaus machines for living, is it is a design trade off, not a criticism of Yankee Shingle Style architecture.

    1) People don’t seem to complain as much about brutalist architecture when the balcony overlooks the Mediterranean. Seems to me most housing along the Med is brutalist but people don’t complain because of the weather and water.

    2) At the time the Bauhaus created their ‘machines for living’ window air conditioners were impossible, so you basically needed to put everyone into one giant building with a single HVAC system operated by one of the few specialists available.

    3) Back in the 30s they had both immigration restrictions and strong trade unions outside of government. No cheap labor made it difficult to maintain small idiosyncratic buildings while construction unions demanded the government build projects that used their sophisticated skills. Massive brutalist buildings require highly paid specialists to build them.

    4) A depression era apocalyptic view of the future meant people kind of liked the idea of a home that could go for decades without absolutely needing to be repaired.

    5) One racial aspect of brutalism is that while such ‘projects’ were used to house blacks, they used construction skills only found among whites.

    Chicks love Kragsyde, built by cheap, probably Catholic, labor. Who let them into this country? Within a generation or two the progeny of the cheap Catholic labor was demanding massive brutalist building programs to use their upgraded skills.

    Kragsyde was torn down because it could not be maintained but was eventually reincarnated when Kragsyde II was built. Kragsyde is a great way to employ semi-skilled construction labor and house a small family and their servants. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kragsyde#Related_houses

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shingle_style_architecture

  125. @Dtbb
    From what I am told by architects and structural engineers, concrete buildings are designed to only last 50 years.

    The dome of the Pantheon in Rome is concrete and it’s 2,000 years old. If your concrete bldg only lasts 50 years you’re doing it wrong.

    • Agree: slumber_j, Alden
    • Replies: @Amanuensis
    And looks terrible while aging. The pantheon is amazing. Most modern concrete buildings are hideous and after 20 years even more hideous.
    , @Dtbb
    You are making my point for me. I don't design them I just build them.
    https://theconversation.com/the-problem-with-reinforced-concrete-56078
    , @LondonBob
    Roman concrete is quite different to modern concrete, much stronger and more durable due to the volcanic ash.
    , @Lars Porsena
    Our Portland cement based concrete is not as good as the ancient Roman concrete. And steel reinforcement (which Romans didn't use) decreases the long term life too (because it rusts). Most of our concrete stuff will not last more than a century or two at most. 50-100 years is pretty typical if everything was done right.
  126. @Clifford Brown
    The DC subway may technically be brutalist, but in its own way, it is an expression of a simple classic geometric form. There is something relaxing about the DC subway system that is woefully missing in most subways. The high vaulted ceilings reduce rider tension by creating a calming space. There is an almost church or crypt like quality to the DC Metro design.

    If it is brutalism, it is a humane form of it.

    It’s amazing what you can build if you have access to an unlimited government money printing press. The NYC subway stations have all the charm and spaciousness of rat’s nests but they were built by private industry so that they could charge a nickel for a subway ride and still make a profit.

    • Agree: Johann Ricke
  127. @Anonymous
    ....women love brutalism

    We despise it. Let’s not confuse the sociosexual hierarchy with bad architecture.

  128. @Jack D
    The dome of the Pantheon in Rome is concrete and it's 2,000 years old. If your concrete bldg only lasts 50 years you're doing it wrong.

    And looks terrible while aging. The pantheon is amazing. Most modern concrete buildings are hideous and after 20 years even more hideous.

  129. @Jack D
    The dome of the Pantheon in Rome is concrete and it's 2,000 years old. If your concrete bldg only lasts 50 years you're doing it wrong.

    You are making my point for me. I don’t design them I just build them.
    https://theconversation.com/the-problem-with-reinforced-concrete-56078

  130. @Anon
    "Brutalist is popular because it’s cheap."

    Brick is cheap. IMHO, Brutalism is popular because modern architects are untalented and lack culture and imagination. The Upper Class likes Brutalism because they are similarly devoid of a sense of aesthetics because they, being rootless citizens of the world, are not grounded in tradition and culture; they are also materialistic and short-sighted, so they do not have the requisite imagination to build great things anymore. You cannot build something on a foundation that does not exist, so they build ugly concrete boxes, instead. That's all they know. Imagine a psychopath trying to describe an emotion that he's never truly felt to a bystander - Shallow Affect. That's Brutalism in a nutshell. Or maybe aphantasia is a better description of Brutalism.

    The hidden cost of Brutalism is the opportunity cost of beauty foregone without even being attempted. It’s at heart the architecture of cowards.

  131. @Anonymous
    Brutalism is a very masculine style. Part of the nostalgia for Brutalism on the Left is for the older more masculine Leftism and meat and potatoes socialism.

    “Part of the nostalgia for Brutalism on the Left is for the older more masculine Leftism and meat and potatoes socialism.”

    Yes – donkey jacket and beret socialism rather than hand made (artisan!) shoes, tieless white shirt and
    dark jacket socialism.

  132. Alden says:
    @The Alarmist
    Reminds me of the "love story" of Howard Roark and Dominique Falcone in Ayn Rand's The Fountainhead.

    Fountain head, a book glorifying an architect who invented the housing project for the prosperous middle class.

    Rand is supposed to be anti communist. But the thesis of Fountainhead is that the owners of the building, who buy the land, get the permits and hire the architect and builders should have no right of control over the design.

    It’s called arrogance.

    • Replies: @J.Ross
    The Fountainhead is also a worst case outlying example of the "fast-talking high pants" thirties-forties movie. The establishing sequence (in which a succession of snappy, onion-belted employers rejects the protagonist's design as too daring, until the final one accepts it on just those grounds) is naturally funnier than anything Saturday Night Live has been capable of doing for the past fifteen years.
  133. @Jack D
    The dome of the Pantheon in Rome is concrete and it's 2,000 years old. If your concrete bldg only lasts 50 years you're doing it wrong.

    Roman concrete is quite different to modern concrete, much stronger and more durable due to the volcanic ash.

  134. @slumber_j
    Yes, it's in Decline and Fall rather than Brideshead Revisited that I remember Waugh's most savage critique of Modernist architecture generally. This is from an interesting piece on a woman who may well have been the model for Lady Metroland:

    So, if I’m right, in March or April, 1928, Evelyn began to write about King’s Thursday, a house in Wiltshire. When Margot bought the original Tudor building she had it demolished and replaced with something ‘clean and square’ by a young architect, Professor Otto Silenus. One of the features of this glass and concrete monstrosity is a tank of octopuses installed in one of the rooms. Naomi Milthorpe wrote a PhD thesis on Waugh’s novels in 2009, and its first chapter is ‘Quite right to suppress them: Decline and Fall and England and the Octopus’. The latter is a book by Clough Williams-Ellis that was published the same year as Decline and Fall. Williams-Ellis was an architect, famous for designing the Italianate Portmeirion on the Welsh coast, the intriguing setting for the TV series The Prisoner, and his book is a polemic against what he sees as the despoliation of the English countryside via the tentacle growth of urban development. Naomi Milthorpe argues that Waugh’s novel has the same target, though using satirical means to hit it.

     

    https://www.evelynwaugh.org.uk/styled-32/index.html

    Brutalist progenitor Louis Kahn's thoughts on leaving beautiful ruins prefigure this point of yours:


    Brutalist buildings, despite or because of their Ozymandias/1984 aesthetics — “Look on my Ministry of Love, ye bourgeoisie, and despair!” — tend to have a shorter natural life than more traditional building whose designs embody the wisdom of the ages rather than spitting in its eye out of ideological conviction.
     
    The better (or I guess less bad) examples of Brutalism would include a lot of Kahn's stuff--the Salk Institute is an obvious example--and also Erno Goldfinger's[!] Trellick Tower, featured in Martin Amis's novel London Fields and the music video for the Oasis song "Morning Glory":

    https://youtu.be/Wm54XyLwBAk

    I guess I understand the weird affection for Trellick Tower, which is a Listed (which is to say protected) building. As you say, people grew up around it. I spent a lot of time in its shadow decades ago and developed what you might call a grudging respect for it--something I never developed for Boston's City Hall, which is atrocious.

    I have a hard time disliking most of the Salk Institute. Maybe it's just the setting, but I think it may actually be beautiful--minus its Cor-Ten steel gates that bleed rust all over the travertine at the entrance and a few other problems, some of them major.

    Finally, circling back to the question of Brutalism vs. Portmerion: an old friend of mine is a Güell, for whose ancestors Gaudí built Parc Güell in Barcelona. (In a travel piece of his, Waugh memorably refers to Gaudí's signature style with all its broken crockery as "Catalan Bathroom.") Many years ago, our Güell friend invited my then-wife and me to stay with him in Comillas, a seaside resort town in Cantabria on Spain's northern coast.

    Gaudí and the Güells spent a lot of time in Comillas around a century ago, along with the Royal Family and everyone else who was fancy, and they all left a lot of cool architecture around, including a very famous Gaudí building called El Capricho. The whole thing is obliquely reminiscent of Portmerion.

    One cold night in Comillas when we were there we all trudged over to a bar where by chance we ran into a cousin of our friend's who was I guess the grandson or whatever of ur-Brutalist Josep Lluís Sert. So we talked about Brutalism and stuff. Turns out Sert the architect, when he wasn't designing hideously oppressive buildings finished in board-formed concrete at Harvard or wherever, really enjoyed spending time in Comillas.

    also Erno Goldfinger’s[!] Trellick Tower, featured in Martin Amis’s novel London Fields and the music video for the Oasis song “Morning Glory”

    Which prompts me to mention his connection to James Bond by way of architecture:

    (((Goldfinger))) was known as a humourless man given to notorious rages. He sometimes fired his assistants if they were inappropriately jocular, and once forcibly ejected two prospective clients for imposing restrictions on his design.[4]

    A discussion on a golf course about Ernő with Goldfinger’s cousin prompted Ian Fleming to name the James Bond adversary and villain Auric Goldfinger after Ernő (Fleming had previously been among the objectors to the pre-war demolition of the cottages in Hampstead that were removed to make way for Goldfinger’s house at 2 Willow Road). Goldfinger consulted his lawyers when Goldfinger was published in 1959, which prompted Fleming to threaten to rename the character ‘Goldprick’, but eventually decided not to sue; Fleming’s publishers agreed to pay his costs and gave him six free copies of the book.[5][6]

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ern%C5%91_Goldfinger

    • Replies: @J.Ross
    I never would have guessed that the name was genuine, I always thought it was one of the hokiest things in the story.
  135. @Anon
    They love Brutalism because it doesn't require a sense of aesthetics to appreciate. It is outwardly indicative of their inner, soulless and ugly, imaginations. Brutalism is like a psychopath's visual expression of what they think it's like to have human emotions.

    “Theodore Dalrymple” has commented on this matter extensively:

    https://www.google.com/search?ei=fdzJXNi6EtK4ggfam6DQCA&q=theodore+dalrymple+architecture&oq=theodore+dalrymple+ar&gs_l=psy-ab.1.1.0l2j0i22i30l5.1411.2865..5210…0.0..0.74.217.3….2..0….1..gws-wiz…….0i67.XBLPFlS1nak

    . . . and on ugliness, generally:

    https://www.google.com/search?ei=g9zJXMHGG-m3ggeSnZWwDA&q=theodore+dalrymple+ugliness&oq=theodore+dalrymple+ugliness&gs_l=psy-ab.3…174043.176730..176876…0.0..0.122.824.5j4….2..0….1..gws-wiz…….0j0i67j0i22i30j33i160.QWuSeutbDTY

  136. @Dube
    I recall liking Howard Roark, before they added the trim.

  137. @Jack D
    The dome of the Pantheon in Rome is concrete and it's 2,000 years old. If your concrete bldg only lasts 50 years you're doing it wrong.

    Our Portland cement based concrete is not as good as the ancient Roman concrete. And steel reinforcement (which Romans didn’t use) decreases the long term life too (because it rusts). Most of our concrete stuff will not last more than a century or two at most. 50-100 years is pretty typical if everything was done right.

  138. @Pericles

    What the he’ll happened to the word “folks?” It used to be a folksy word that reffered to people like your grandparents. Now it has a sinister Maoist ring to it.

     

    Maybe it was Obama: "We tortured some folks."

    https://www.politico.com/story/2014/08/john-brennan-torture-cia-109654

    I always assumed that that was one of Obama’s weird verbal tics that nobody seemed to notice for 8 years. For someone that was supposed to be a great orator, he relied on so many cliches and affectations.

    • Replies: @Desiderius
    He could fool some of the people all of the time. That was enough.
  139. anonymous[409] • Disclaimer says:

    Le Corbusier had enough flava to have an affair with Josephine Baker.

    • Replies: @Alden
    Didn’t everyone have an affair with Josephine Baker?
  140. @anonymous
    Le Corbusier had enough flava to have an affair with Josephine Baker.

    Didn’t everyone have an affair with Josephine Baker?

  141. @Nathan
    I always assumed that that was one of Obama's weird verbal tics that nobody seemed to notice for 8 years. For someone that was supposed to be a great orator, he relied on so many cliches and affectations.

    He could fool some of the people all of the time. That was enough.

  142. @Pericles

    also Erno Goldfinger’s[!] Trellick Tower, featured in Martin Amis’s novel London Fields and the music video for the Oasis song “Morning Glory”
     
    Which prompts me to mention his connection to James Bond by way of architecture:

    (((Goldfinger))) was known as a humourless man given to notorious rages. He sometimes fired his assistants if they were inappropriately jocular, and once forcibly ejected two prospective clients for imposing restrictions on his design.[4]

    A discussion on a golf course about Ernő with Goldfinger's cousin prompted Ian Fleming to name the James Bond adversary and villain Auric Goldfinger after Ernő (Fleming had previously been among the objectors to the pre-war demolition of the cottages in Hampstead that were removed to make way for Goldfinger's house at 2 Willow Road). Goldfinger consulted his lawyers when Goldfinger was published in 1959, which prompted Fleming to threaten to rename the character 'Goldprick', but eventually decided not to sue; Fleming's publishers agreed to pay his costs and gave him six free copies of the book.[5][6]

     

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ern%C5%91_Goldfinger

    I never would have guessed that the name was genuine, I always thought it was one of the hokiest things in the story.

  143. J.Ross says: • Website
    @Alden
    Fountain head, a book glorifying an architect who invented the housing project for the prosperous middle class.

    Rand is supposed to be anti communist. But the thesis of Fountainhead is that the owners of the building, who buy the land, get the permits and hire the architect and builders should have no right of control over the design.

    It’s called arrogance.

    The Fountainhead is also a worst case outlying example of the “fast-talking high pants” thirties-forties movie. The establishing sequence (in which a succession of snappy, onion-belted employers rejects the protagonist’s design as too daring, until the final one accepts it on just those grounds) is naturally funnier than anything Saturday Night Live has been capable of doing for the past fifteen years.

  144. @Clifford Brown
    I am a fan of brutalism in doses. Ironically, brutalism which was supposed to be immune from the elements actually is an architectural style that suffers from the exposed elements more than most. Brutalism can often look crisp and refined in the Southern California sun (UC-Irvine Campus and the Salk Institute), but ages terribly in harsh northern winters. In cold and wet climates, the concrete of brutalist structures must be maintained and power washed or it will quickly show water stains and ugly discoloration.

    I have come to really appreciate the Boston City Hall. While I think the architectural style may send the wrong "message" to citizens, the building itself is fascinating. There are classical references in its facades and when viewed as an abstraction, it has an underlying beauty. Surprisingly, I have found the interior of the building to be best part. All sounds are hushed and the walls must have been recently cleaned when I visited because it looked impeccable. The interior is a truly unique space that in its own way was an attempt at constructing a futuristic and even utopian civic space. I highly recommend an in person visit. Most brutalist structure are ugly in person, but can be attractive with the right kind of high end photography. Still others become attractive as you encounter the building's presence in person.

    https://d279m997dpfwgl.cloudfront.net/wp/2017/05/0519_city-hall-art05-1000x666.jpg

    Sound point about the effects of climate. I have often thought that buildings of this type do not look quite so hideous in Mediterranean countries. Though most of the British examples, and the worst, arose from the need to restore the housing destroyed in WWII quickly and cheaply, some were prestige buildings and much admired when they were new. The reason, in part, is that buildings such as the Birmingham Central Library replaced Victorian gothic structures which mid-century taste regarded as fussy and inauthentic and which had been blackened by decades of air pollution. In my boyhood, the Houses of Parliament (mainly 1850s) were widely considered a gloomy fake antique, but attitudes have reversed since cleaning in the 1980s revealed the true colour of the stone and now that the Victorian age is a period of history like any other.

  145. while some other people want to preserve, say, the Boston City Hall

    Though my family long ago fled Boston, I like the idea of politicians being stuck in it forever. I only wish the State House was also brutalist. It is also a more convenient location for normal people to travel to than the proposed alternative.

  146. @LondonBob
    As they say socialist city planners in fifties and sixties did more damage to Britain's architectural heritage than the Luftwaffe did. There is a book documenting all the beautiful historic, often Georgian, town centres that no longer exist. Thankfully when Richmond rebuilt their town centre they just knocked up a Georgian copy in fitting with the town's history.

    https://images.app.goo.gl/4VySsigcy8vB4XLCA

    London has some very ugly housing architecture of the 1950s-1970s.

    On the other hand, on the South Bank of London, more successful and higher quality brutalist architecture projects, of reinforced concrete, which are some of the most successful pedestrian areas of London:

    1. National Theatre

    2. Royal Festival Hall

    3. National Film Theatre

    4. Haywood Gallery

    South Bank of London, is one of most successful after Second World War areas, in terms of its atmosphere and urban planning, despite being formed from brutalist concrete.

    But these brutalist concrete projects of South Bank of London, are atypical, because example of prestige projects, where there was an unlimited budget.

  147. @slumber_j

    It raises the question: is there anyone other than architects and their prog groupies who really believe there’s something wrong with putting up new buildings in older styles?
     
    I mostly do, yeah. Generally speaking, new buildings done in old styles aren't detailed at all correctly, which makes them look bad.

    That's a function of the decline in traditional craftsmanship, the will to cheapness, and actual statutory restrictions. In any major project in any developed country on earth, you now have to use insulated windows with multi-pane glass and argon and fake mullions and so on, and they clash badly with any attempt at recapitulating traditional design. Check out the fenestration on that Hong Kong project you cite for example.

    Yes, those are good points, and I understand architects can’t ‘recreate’ the highlights of traditional building styles without taking extremely expensive specialist measures.

    I also recognize the ersatz quality of the Lee Tung Avenue project. But something about it works. In spite of its inauthentic fenestration, people simply like being there. The combination of pretty (certainly not beautiful) faux-colonial buildings (which actually comprise the podiums for high-rise residential towers above) with a pedestrian street with nice benches, decorations, access to al fresco drinks and food — there is something here that even in its imperfect, frankly nostalgic execution still speaks to people at a deep level. So when you say new buildings in old styles ‘look bad’, I must ask, look bad to whom?

    I’m very interested in Christopher Alexander’s ‘pattern language’. A few years ago I read his magnum opus end to end; it made a powerful impression on me. I think it’s possible that Lee Tung Avenue is recreating patterns that encourage certain kinds of human interactions that have been spat upon by modernist and postmodernist architects for many decades, and that people are starving, whether they know it consciously or not, for more ‘pattern language-friendly’ places to be.

    You obviously have some knowledge of architecture; what do you think of Alexander and his vision?

    • Agree: Desiderius
  148. @anon
    "Socialists used the poor to win elections. Period."

    Unfortunately, so do the capitalist republicans in the US. They pander to their base each election with things they aren't willing to ever give them: a humble foreign policy, a border wall, deporting illegals to sanctuary cities, infrastructure programs ...

    “Socialists used the poor to win elections. Period.”

    Unfortunately, so do the capitalist republicans in the US.

    It’s almost as if democracy was an inherently corrupt system that turns both politicians and voters into whores.

  149. I also recognize the ersatz quality of the Lee Tung Avenue project. But something about it works. In spite of its inauthentic fenestration, people simply like being there. The combination of pretty (certainly not beautiful) faux-colonial buildings (which actually comprise the podiums for high-rise residential towers above) with a pedestrian street with nice benches, decorations, access to al fresco drinks and food — there is something here that even in its imperfect, frankly nostalgic execution still speaks to people at a deep level. So when you say new buildings in old styles ‘look bad’, I must ask, look bad to whom?

    The same could be said about Two Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills, a sort of fake Italian high end shopping block. Does it feel sort of Disney? Sure. Yet, is it popular with shoppers? Do I prefer walking down this stretch of Rodeo Drive over the rest of the street? Undoubtedly, yes. So I think traditional architecture can be improved, but it is clear that it appeals to actual humans on a deep, visceral level which is, in the end, a wonderful thing.

  150. @Achmed E. Newman
    I am no architecture critic, but I can tell an ugly building when I see one. It's not always JUST the architecture, but sometimes the socialism itself that causes the buildings to look like shit. In China, I thought I was staying in a 25 y/o (at least) building, but it was only 6 y/o, it turned out. That's because the common areas were not taken care of due to the incentives there. That may explain the general crappiness of East Bloc apartment and office buildings.

    I want to ask Dieter or another resident German commenter about this: Are the old E. German buildings still around? I was there 15 years ago or so, and there were plenty. If there are, then I think these Brutalist Schools should take some tours over there and enjoy those buildings along with the cheap hookers. It sound like a nice niche market!

    Lastly, that Boston City Hall picture reminded me somewhat of the Seattle, Washington Public Library. It is so damn dicked-up inside that it's just confusing and annoying to be in there. I'm sure the old one was fine, but cities have just got to spend that bond money. See Peak Stupidity's "More stupidity at the library - the big one".

    Looks like the typical ADA compliance remodeling/replacement

    The width between the stacks have to be widened so people on wheelchairs/obese people on mobility scooters can go through it. And the books have to be reachable by people on wheelchairs/mobility scooters. So no tall shelves/bottom shelves. You end up use lots more square footage for the same amount of books or weed out lots books.

    Blame it on George HW Bush who signed ADA into law. Wall-E is a documentary.

    • Replies: @Achmed E. Newman
    That means it uses more cubic footage too, which is costly in much the same way. You've got to have more stories to have the same amount of books. Books? What are these books of which you speak?

    Hey, I'll not just blame it on GHW Bush but the 100s of millions of voters who haven't been voting Libertarian. All other current political parties push for larger government.

    Yeah, I saw that Wall-E. Have you seen Brazil, 1661er?
  151. @Altai
    OT: 'Citizen science' is a problematic term now, you should use the much less evocative 'community science' instead.

    https://twitter.com/CormanCrosby/status/1123284375649640448

    I feel like the whole world is being dictated to suit the instincts of pre-school teachers.

    “that incredibly minor working change”

    “Incredible” is another word that is used far too much as a substitute or distraction from more honest and descriptive language. Of course Trump uses it a lot. In this case it is literally, if unintentionally, true: it is not actually credible that eliminating the word “citizen” is minor, nor is the casual aside she makes about global citizens.

  152. Anon[518] • Disclaimer says:
    @Anon
    "Brutalist is popular because it’s cheap."

    Brick is cheap. IMHO, Brutalism is popular because modern architects are untalented and lack culture and imagination. The Upper Class likes Brutalism because they are similarly devoid of a sense of aesthetics because they, being rootless citizens of the world, are not grounded in tradition and culture; they are also materialistic and short-sighted, so they do not have the requisite imagination to build great things anymore. You cannot build something on a foundation that does not exist, so they build ugly concrete boxes, instead. That's all they know. Imagine a psychopath trying to describe an emotion that he's never truly felt to a bystander - Shallow Affect. That's Brutalism in a nutshell. Or maybe aphantasia is a better description of Brutalism.

    No, brick is expensive compared to concrete. Concrete is cheaper than brick, and brick is cheaper than stone, and human nature being what it is, people who live in concrete will pine for brick, and people in brick will pine for stone. This sneering at concrete buildings by people who live in more expensive buildings is pure class snobbery.

    Even the Romans tried to disguise their brick and concrete buildings to look like they were made of stone.

    • Replies: @dfordoom

    This sneering at concrete buildings by people who live in more expensive buildings is pure class snobbery.
     
    I think there is some truth in that. In fact quite a bit of truth.
  153. @Cagey Beast
    I feel like the whole world is being dictated to suit the instincts of pre-school teachers.

    Is "pre-school teachers" just a code-word for "women"?

    Yeah, but it’s the particular subset of women who work with lots of kids and feel the need to impose a safe, calming order on everything. (Quite laudable if you actually are a preschool teacher of course!)

  154. @Jack D

    It was a time when we had a socialist government who actually wanted to help the poor,
     
    For Leftists, the most important thing is that your heart is in the right place. If you have good intentions, then it doesn't matter that you totally botch the execution.

    The good news about Brutalist buildings is that they are basically normal poured concrete buildings but you stop construction when they are about 90% done, before the point where you would normally add an outer decorative veneer (stone, brick, metal or glass, etc.) and trim (cornices, lintels, etc.) to finish them off. So it's easy to dress up these buildings by attaching the "missing" stuff in a contemporary style. This is what they did with the Grenfell tower. Unfortunately they used a flammable material (looked like aluminum but it was really a sandwich with a thin alu. skin and a flammable plastic core) and attached it in a way that created chimneys or chases for the flames to travel in.

    “So it’s easy to dress up these buildings by attaching the “missing” stuff in a contemporary style. This is what they did with the Grenfell tower. “

    Tangentially related, a bunch of mates in the UK made their Guy Fawkes Night bonfire a cardboard box painted to look like a tower block, complete with little figures at the windows – an obvious and tasteless reference to Grenfell. What are called “sick jokes” have been part of UK culture all my life.

    Someone videoed it and sent it to a Whatsapp group.

    https://www.standard.co.uk/news/crime/property-millionaire-who-shared-video-of-grenfell-tower-effigy-on-bonfire-tells-court-it-was-a-joke-a4130131.html

    “A property millionaire who shared a video of a Grenfell Tower effigy being burned on a bonfire insisted today that the footage is not offensive as it was “a joke”, a court heard.

    Paul Bussetti, 46, is accused of filming and circulating the video in a WhatsApp group, showing a group of people laughing as a cardboard model of the tragic tower block caught fire.

    The clip was then posted on YouTube by another person, sparking widespread public outrage and leading to Bussetti’s arrest along with five others suspected of being at the Bonfire Night event last year.

    At Westminster Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday morning, Bussetti pleaded not guilty to two charges of sending an offensive communication and will stand trial in July. ”

    We are back in the world of blasphemy and taboo.

    • Replies: @Anonymous
    Yep.

    And the BBC has the gall to endlessly pontificate about 'Chinese Oppression' and 'Human Rights Abuses'.
  155. @Clifford Brown

    Brutalist calls to mind spoiled Bill Ayersishness.
     
    Concrete brutalist structures would be rather impervious to Weathermen bombing campaigns. One reason why universities and government buildings were built in the brutalist style in the 1970's was that leftist bombings were so prevalent. The brutalist One Police Plaza in New York was specifically designed with bomb attacks in mind.

    “Concrete brutalist structures would be rather impervious to Weathermen bombing campaigns.”

    Weathermen perhaps – not if they are full of glass and it’s the IRA – although reading the Wiki it sounds like the guys should really have been stopped. Damage was £1 billion, nearly £2 billion today. Cost to the bombers – £4,000.

    Wiki is unusually reticent about the exact physical damage caused to the concrete office blocks, although a medieval church was destroyed.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1993_Bishopsgate_bombing

  156. @1661er
    Looks like the typical ADA compliance remodeling/replacement

    The width between the stacks have to be widened so people on wheelchairs/obese people on mobility scooters can go through it. And the books have to be reachable by people on wheelchairs/mobility scooters. So no tall shelves/bottom shelves. You end up use lots more square footage for the same amount of books or weed out lots books.

    Blame it on George HW Bush who signed ADA into law. Wall-E is a documentary.

    That means it uses more cubic footage too, which is costly in much the same way. You’ve got to have more stories to have the same amount of books. Books? What are these books of which you speak?

    Hey, I’ll not just blame it on GHW Bush but the 100s of millions of voters who haven’t been voting Libertarian. All other current political parties push for larger government.

    Yeah, I saw that Wall-E. Have you seen Brazil, 1661er?

  157. Anonymous[333] • Disclaimer says:
    @YetAnotherAnon
    "So it’s easy to dress up these buildings by attaching the “missing” stuff in a contemporary style. This is what they did with the Grenfell tower. "

    Tangentially related, a bunch of mates in the UK made their Guy Fawkes Night bonfire a cardboard box painted to look like a tower block, complete with little figures at the windows - an obvious and tasteless reference to Grenfell. What are called "sick jokes" have been part of UK culture all my life.

    Someone videoed it and sent it to a Whatsapp group.

    https://www.standard.co.uk/news/crime/property-millionaire-who-shared-video-of-grenfell-tower-effigy-on-bonfire-tells-court-it-was-a-joke-a4130131.html

    "A property millionaire who shared a video of a Grenfell Tower effigy being burned on a bonfire insisted today that the footage is not offensive as it was “a joke”, a court heard.

    Paul Bussetti, 46, is accused of filming and circulating the video in a WhatsApp group, showing a group of people laughing as a cardboard model of the tragic tower block caught fire.

    The clip was then posted on YouTube by another person, sparking widespread public outrage and leading to Bussetti’s arrest along with five others suspected of being at the Bonfire Night event last year.

    At Westminster Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday morning, Bussetti pleaded not guilty to two charges of sending an offensive communication and will stand trial in July. "
     
    We are back in the world of blasphemy and taboo.

    Yep.

    And the BBC has the gall to endlessly pontificate about ‘Chinese Oppression’ and ‘Human Rights Abuses’.

  158. @Anon
    They love Brutalism because it doesn't require a sense of aesthetics to appreciate. It is outwardly indicative of their inner, soulless and ugly, imaginations. Brutalism is like a psychopath's visual expression of what they think it's like to have human emotions.

    It’s a lot like 80’s music.

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  160. @Anonymous
    Anyone with a MLS degree is probably quite stupid. And that's who library systems hire.

    If your local library has some good old books, check them out and deposit them in the return immediately if you must once in a while. That way they can't say "they don't circulate".

    If you have time, run for the library board if that is an elected position in your area. One or two solid peckerwoods can cause the SJCs and incompetents no end of grief.

    Of course, public libraries that receive federal funds could be required to maintain a "core classics collection".

    Great suggestions. Alas, the “core classic collection” seems to be gone. I looked for some Twain, Waugh, Plato, Kant, Conrad etc. Sadly, just a book here and there. What a disaster. If this is what’s in store for America’s community libraries, then it’s the burning of the library of Alexandria all over again.

    But it is an airy building and there are computers. Seats at desks but no overstuffed chairs to seriously settle in with a good book. A Library Lite.

  161. @Anon
    No, brick is expensive compared to concrete. Concrete is cheaper than brick, and brick is cheaper than stone, and human nature being what it is, people who live in concrete will pine for brick, and people in brick will pine for stone. This sneering at concrete buildings by people who live in more expensive buildings is pure class snobbery.

    Even the Romans tried to disguise their brick and concrete buildings to look like they were made of stone.

    This sneering at concrete buildings by people who live in more expensive buildings is pure class snobbery.

    I think there is some truth in that. In fact quite a bit of truth.

  162. @Pericles
    Hong Kong also has the Connaught Center, more popularly known as ...

    http://www.susanbkason.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/04/Connaught-Centre.jpg

    ... the House of a Thousand Arseholes.

    (I was told it's mainly lawyers in there.)

    http://www.susanbkason.com/2010/04/14/the-house-of-a-thousand-arseholes-2/#.XMmGQJMzbLF

    It’s called Jardine House now, if you’re looking for current info/photos, and it’s essentially just an office block. It’s in one of HK’s very best locations in Central.

    But its nickname endures.

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