From "As Found" to Bush-Hammered Concrete - Material and Texture in Brutalist Architecture

Wojciech Niebrzydowski


The problem of material and texture in brutalist architecture is fundamental and complex. There are various, often contradictory, interpretations of this issue and therefore it should be clarified. The main objective of the work is to determine the role and significance of the material and the texture in brutalism. Other objectives relate to presentation of the most important principles applied in the selection of materials and methods of shaping different textures. The scope of the article includes analyses of ideas and their implementation in buildings designed by architects connected with brutalist style. The author took into account the output of such architects as: Le Corbusier, Alison and Peter Smithson, Louis Kahn, Paul Rudolph, Basil Spence. These studies confirmed that they paid a lot of attention to the type of building material and the way it was used. The Smithsons, as protagonists of the New Brutalism, were fascinated by ordinariness and everyday life, and therefore they preferred common materials and “as found” manner. Le Corbusier propagated béton brut – concrete with an imprint of wooden formwork. He glorified faults of texture claiming that they add a certain richness and humanise the architecture. Kahn and Spence combined brick and concrete, creating contrasting surfaces and elements. Rudolph introduced corrugated and bush-hammered concrete that provided intriguing chiaroscuro effects. Despite the differences between these architects, the material was always in their buildings both structure and texture. Craftsman’s methods became popular again and replaced aesthetic of the machine. Rough and inaccurate textures were the contradiction to smooth and precise surfaces of the International Style and symbolized sincerity and truth of brutalist architecture. The mature phase of brutalism was dominated by brick and especially by concrete, but also wood, stone and sheet metal were used. Raw, almost primitive textures that characterized the beginnings of brutalism were replaced with sophisticated, meticulously shaped surfaces.
Author Wojciech Niebrzydowski (FA / DHA)
Wojciech Niebrzydowski,,
- Department of Housing Architecture
Journal seriesIOP Conference Series: Materials Science and Engineering, ISSN 1757-8981, e-ISSN 1757-899X, (0 pkt)
Issue year2019
Publication size in sheets0.5
ConferenceWorld Multidisciplinary Civil Engineering - Architecture - Urban Planning Symposium (WMCAUS 2018), 18-06-2018 - 22-06-2018, Prague, Czechy
Internal identifier000044959
Languageen angielski
LicenseJournal (articles only); published final; Uznanie Autorstwa (CC-BY); with publication
Score (nominal)5
Score sourcejournalList
ScoreBUT score = 15.0, 30-07-2019, manual
Ministerial score = 5.0, 25-02-2020, ArticleFromConference
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