Archive — Brutalist architecture
Photo — 2018-09-19
St Peter’s Seminary rescue arts group to close
This is sad news. St Peter’s Seminary is probably Scotland’s most important brutalist building. I have wanted to visit it for years, and I was gutted to miss out on the Hinterland event in 2016.
I wonder what the future holds in store for St Peter’s Seminary, but the outlook doesn’t seem promising at the moment.
Will this three-storey slice of British brutalism be the hit of the Venice Biennale?
On the V&A’s section of Robin Hood Gardens, to be exhibited at the Venice Biennale.
The condition of the structure has made it even harder for the demolition team, who are used to turning up with the wrecking ball and mechanical munching jaws, but were suddenly charged with dismantling part of the building piece by precious piece, with some components over three metres long and weighing more than two tonnes.
“The demolition crew started to see the design in a whole new light,” says V&A curator Olivia Horsfall Turner. “Having thought this was just another concrete monstrosity they were tearing down, their outlook was really transformed.”
Bill Grundy Looks at Aylesbury (1972)
I love pretty much everything about this.
Bill Grundy is notorious now for goading the Sex Pistols into swearing on prime time ITV. But before that, he found himself in Aylesbury for unclear reasons. He was none too impressed with its recent brutalist redevelopment, and his curmudgeonly commentary is highly entertaining.
His villain is Fred Pooley, Aylesbury’s planner, the man who invented the imaginary Buckinghamshire monorail town in the sixties, which actually became the motorway town of Milton Keynes in the 70s. Pooley was brilliantly talented. Grundy dismisses him as ‘smug’ – not that we ever get to find out, as he makes no effort to interview him. And so, rather it’s Bill Grundy who comes across as smug instead, drinking beer from a tankard and opining about fibreglass ducks and the ills of modern life, while undoubtedly being a major beneficiary of the improved communications and technology of the day in his work as a TV presenter.
Kia Utzon-Frank creates brutalist-inspired marshmallow treats
I love concrete, but I can’t say I have ever wanted to eat any… Until now!
Photo — 2017-12-31
Sticks in the ground for public services
You know I love a bit of brutalism. Well here, Ben Holliday draws a comparison between civic architecture of the mid-20th century, and modern-day digital local services.
Many of these buildings are now disused or in different states of disrepair. It’s an important reminder. The fact is, no matter how bold you set out to be. No matter how big or successfully your original statement of intent, eventually the roof will start to leak.
Buildings, just like ideas, need maintenance. They fall into disrepair over time.
I have written a few times before about the parallels I see between architecture and digital services. It’s well worth learning the lessons from the past and applying them to our own projects.
Robin Hood Gardens and the divisiveness of brutalism
I was amazed — and delighted — by the V&A design museum’s decision to preserve a section of Robin Hood Gardens, the controversial social housing estate that is set to be demolished. It will be the largest section of a modern building ever to be preserved by a museum.
Brutalism and antidesign
Nielsen Norman Group look into brutalist web design.
I have written about this before: Can web design really learn from brutalist architecture?