It had to be awesome, not just pleasant and slick


When we think of modern architecture, two modes come to mind. The first is the sleek, planar, glass-and-steel style established by Mies Van Der Rohe and his interpreters at Skidmore, Owings & Merrill and elsewhere, epitomized by Mies’s Seagram Building (1958). The second is heavy, sculptural steel-reinforced concrete, with much of its artistry in the treatment of the cast concrete surface, most closely associated with the late work of Le Corbusier. The architectural term brutalism is said to have its origins in Corbusier’s use of the phrase béton brut, or “raw concrete,” the brut connoting not brutality or brutishness (although critics would play up that association) but the decision to leave the concrete’s surface rough and unfinished, and often impressed with the wood grain, joints, and other irregularities of the boards with which it was cast. The concept of “the New Brutalism” was brought into being by the critic Reyner Banham’s 1966 book of that name, which highlighted the work of postwar British architects Alison and Peter Smithson.

more from Thomas de Monchaux at n+1 here.