For the first time Brutalist architecture of the 1950s–1970s is presented in a global survey. The term Brutalism does not come from the word “brutal”, but to “béton brut”, the French term for exposed concrete. The exhibition features buildings from Japan, Brazil, the former Yugoslavia and Israel, as well as Great Britain, where Alison and Peter Smithson invented New Brutalism.
“SOS BRUTALISM Save the Concrete Monsters!”
November 9, 2017 – April 2, 2018
Deutsches Architekturmuseum (DAM)
Schaumainkai 43, Frankfurt am Main
Brutalist architecture celebrates raw, bare construction. It is exceptionally photogenic and hugely popular on Facebook and Instagram. That said many only see brutal concrete monsters. The expressive buildings emerged in a time of experiments and social change. Today many are at risk of demolition. In light of this the rescue campaign #SOSBrutalism extends the exhibition online with a database of over 1000 projects.
At the DAM Brutalism is reevaluated with unusually large models and poured concrete miniatures. The exhibition features buildings from Japan, Brazil, former Yugoslavia, Israel and Great Britain, where the New Brutalism was invented by Alison and Peter Smithson. A collaboration by the Deutsches Architekturmuseum and the Wüstenrot Foundation.
#SOSBrutalism is a growing database that currently contains over 1000 Brutalist buildings. But, more importantly, it is a platform for a large campaign to save our beloved concrete monsters. The buildings in the database marked red are in particular jeopardy. This is an unprecedented initiative: #SOSBrutalism is open to everyone who wants to join the campaign to save Brutalist buildings! It is a powerful tool that allows fans of Brutalism to communicate with one another across Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr and so on. You can follow our social media feeds below.
…what characterises the New Brutalism…is precisely its brutality, its je-m’en-foutisme, its bloody-mindedness.
Reyner Banham, 1955
#SOSBrutalism will also lead into an exhibition which will be jointly organized by the Deutsches Architekturmuseum (DAM) and the Wüstenrot Stiftung. It will be on display at the DAM, Frankfurt am Main, Germany, starting in November 2017.
What exactly is Brutalism anyway? The term was coined in the 1950s by a young generation of architects and architecture critics in Great Britain who used the expression “New Brutalism” to distance themselves from the dreariness of post-war architecture. Architecture critic Reyner Banham described the Hunstanton School by Alison and Peter Smithson (and their unrealized Soho House) as “points of architectural reference by which the New Brutalism in architecture may be defined” and names three characteristics: “1, Memorability as an image; 2, Clear exhibition of structure; and 3, Valuation of materials ‘as found’. ”