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Thursday, March 27, 2014

Concrete poetry

Last month, Jonathan Meades's documentary Bunkers, Brutalism, Bloodymindedness: Concrete Poetry aired on the BBC. A few days earlier, his A-Z of brutalism was featured on The Guardian.

Here are a few of his favorite examples of the architecture that was once maligned but is now enjoying renewed attention.


Habitat 67, Montreal, by Moshe Safdie
Photograph: UIG via Getty Images

Tricorn Centre, Portsmouth
Photograph: View Pictures/Rex

Sainte Bernadette church, Nevers
Photograph: arte dia/VIEW

Jonathan Meades in front of Skopje post office, Macedonia
Photograph: Francis Hanly/BBC


  1. A very turbulent time. Several buildings quickly come to mind. The Boston City Hall, Paul Rudolph's New Haven parking garage and a more refined building Kahn's Salk Institute.

    1. Good examples. I find Boston City Hall a bit imposing, but I like the contrast of Rudolph's thick floors with the slender curving pillars that support them. I'm a fan of Kahn, and though the sharp angles of the Salk Institute and its spare waterscaping are so different from the beautiful semicircular vaults and the more expansive use of water and landscaping of our Kimbell Museum here in Fort Worth, I find both of them very serene.

  2. II really like the first and last one. The last one kind of reminds me of what I think this one may have looked like (minut the weird tower) had it been completed. I remember when it was built and some of the history of it.

    1. That was a really interesting video and article. I'm sure it's a weird sight out in the middle of nowhere.

  3. What an amazing post, Dana!! I love the grim beauty of brutalism. Habitat 67 is such a great project and I adore the Eglise Sainte Bernadette by Paul Virilio and Claude Parent, which balances dangerously close to the edge of the commonly acceptable. It really challenges our conception of a church. Paul Virilio is also the author of a beautiful book called "Bunker archaeology", which I REALLY recommend. The article in The Guardian gives a wonderful insight in brutalism, everyone should read it!

    1. I'll have to check out that book. If you recommend it, I know I'd enjoy it.