These 19 Striking Buildings Exemplify the Best of Brutalist Design Around the Globe
Love it or hate it, brutalism's bold aesthetics have given birth to some of the most daring and imposing structures in the world.
Brutalism is the most controversial design movement. Its origins are rooted in socialist and communist doctrines, and because of that, its cultural significance is often doubted—and so is the appeal of its bold aesthetics. After the devastation of World War II, a new modernist style emerged that was in large part influenced by the political inclinations of that period. It rejected the overly ornate styles of the past—often associated with wealth and the upper classes of society—and favored a more barren, almost monolithic, function-over-form aesthetic that was stripped of any unnecessary embellishments and the use of expensive and exotic materials. In fact, the principle of "truth to materials"—an architectural tenet that holds that materials should be left exposed so that they can be admired in their purest form—was a central part of brutalism.
And so, architects started experimenting with concrete, which was easily accessible, extremely affordable, and had the type of utilitarian look that perfectly matched the brutalist philosophy. It even gave it its name—brutalism comes from the French expression "béton brut," a phrase commonly used by legendary Swiss-French architect Le Corbusier, one of the movement's founders. Examples of brutalism started popping up all over the globe. It was especially prevalent in civic and residential construction, and many of these structures are still standing today. Here, we rounded up the most fascinating and well-known brutalist buildings around the globe.