“SOS Brutalism Save the Concrete Monsters!” at Architekturzentrum Wien

Love it or hate it, the rediscovered Brutalist architecture leaves nobody cold. The exhibition presents international and outstanding Austrian examples highlighting the projects’ architectural and social relevance.

 

 IACP (Carlo Celli / Luciano Celli): Rozzol Melara, Trieste, Italy, 1969–1982 Photo: Paolo Mazzo 2010

IACP (Carlo Celli / Luciano Celli): Rozzol Melara, Trieste, Italy, 1969–1982 Photo: Paolo Mazzo 2010

 

For several decades Brutalist buildings were vilified as architectural eyesores, and torn down or left to decay. Does the current hype herald a reversal in this trend? The global online initiative SOS Brutalism – which has already compiled over 1000 buildings in a database (www.SOSBrutalism.org) – inspired a major exhibition project at the Deutsches Architekturmuseum in Frankfurt. The exhibition to have emerged from the global online platform offers, for the first time, a world-wide survey of Brutalist buildings completed on every continent between 1853 and 1979. What societal developments, which architectural and political ideas provide the context for this international phenomenon? However the exhibition also pursues the question of whether Brutalism can even be defined, or how, and addresses possible strategies for renovation in line with accepted conservation practice.

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“Every House on Langland Road” at Architectural Association

Every House on Langland Road is an exploration of Netherfield, a unique housing project built in the new city of Milton Keynes in the early 1970s. The houses were designed before the collapse of the post war consensus in an optimistic spirit of public housing and social mobility.

 

"Every House on Langland Road" © AA  Simon Phipps and Darren Umney

“Every House on Langland Road” © AA Simon Phipps and Darren Umney

 

They were however built under the pressures of the three day week and within the budgetary constraints of a remote central government with shifting policies. The unique length, presence and history of the Netherfield streetscape provides a backdrop against which long standing and unresolved questions around the nature of housing, and social housing in particular, are brought into focus. An exhibition by Simon Phipps and Darren Umney. (more…)

SOS BRUTALISM Save the Concrete Monsters! at DAM Frankfurt

With “SOS BRUTALISM – Save the Concrete Monsters!” the DAM is presenting in collaboration with the Wüstenrot Foundation the first-ever global survey of the Brutalist architecture of the 1950s to 1970s. At the DAM, Brutalism is reexamined with unusually large-scale models and cast concrete miniatures.

 

London Borough of Camden Architect’s Department (Neave Brown): Alexandra and Ainsworth Estate, London, Great Britain, 1967–1979 Photo: Gili Merin 2017

London Borough of Camden Architect’s Department (Neave Brown): Alexandra and Ainsworth Estate, London, Great Britain, 1967–1979 Photo: Gili Merin 2017

 

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. (more…)

“The Brutalist Playground” at Vitra Design Museum

The exhibition presents a new take on those Brutalist playgrounds, conceived as a hybrid somewhere between installation and walk-in sculpture for children and adults. The exhibition was commissioned by the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) in cooperation with the architecture collective Assemble (winner of the 2015 Turner Prize) and the artist Simon Terrill.

 

Installation view »The Brutalist «, S1 Artspace, Sheffield, 2016 Photo: Alun Bull, © RIBA

Installation view »The Brutalist «, S1 Artspace, Sheffield, 2016 Photo: Alun Bull, © RIBA

 

The original playgrounds constructed in post-war Britain are mostly forgotten. Brutalism and its initial social agenda are stigmatized. The architectural style known as Brutalism emerged during the era of post-war reconstruction in Britain. In expressively shaped buildings constructed out of raw, heavy materials, it espoused an uncompromising formal language. All over the country, large-scale housing estates were built with distinctively designed playgrounds for children. Through the use of wood, brick, and especially concrete, the playgrounds were designed to fit in with the shapes and materials of their environments, demonstrating the principles of Brutalism on a small scale.


 

Practical information

The Brutalist Playground
January 14  –  April 16, 2017
Vitra Design Museum
Charles-Eames-Straße 2, Weil am Rhein
Germany

 


The exhibition reconstructs fragments from four Brutalist playgrounds: the »flying saucer« from the Churchill Gardens Estate, the slide tower from the Brownfield Estate, steps from the Brunel Estate (all in London), and a tunnel from the Park Hill Estate in Sheffield.

 

Installation view »The Brutalist Playground«, S1 Artspace, Sheffield, 2016 Photo: Alun Bull, © RIBA

Installation view »The Brutalist Playground«, S1 Artspace, Sheffield, 2016 Photo: Alun Bull, © RIBA

Installation view »The Brutalist Playground «, S1 Artspace, Sheffield, 2016 Photo: Alun Bull, © RIBA

Installation view »The Brutalist Playground «, S1 Artspace, Sheffield, 2016 Photo: Alun Bull, © RIBA

 

For the project, commissioned by the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA), the architecture collective Assemble in cooperation with the artist Simon Terrill chose a selection of drawings and photographs from the RIBA collections. Part architectural installation, part projections of archive material, part playground, the exhibition brings a neglected aspect of architectural history into the gallery space.

 

Churchill Gardens Estate, Pimlico, 1978 © John Donat - RIBA Library Photographs Collection

Churchill Gardens Estate, Pimlico, 1978 © John Donat – RIBA Library Photographs Collection

Churchill Gardens Estate, Pimlico, 1956 © John Maltby - RIBA Library Photographs Collection

Churchill Gardens Estate, Pimlico, 1956 © John Maltby – RIBA Library Photographs Collection

 

»Risk« and »play« are the central themes of the installation. Jane Hall from Assemble says: »You would look at the photographs of these playgrounds and ask: How was someone supposed to play on that? It’s not prescribed, and that’s the big unknown about this exhibition – how are people going to inhabit the space?«

 

Installation view »The Brutalist Playground«, S1 Artspace, Sheffield, 2016 Photo: Alun Bull © RIBA

Installation view »The Brutalist Playground«, S1 Artspace, Sheffield, 2016 Photo: Alun Bull © RIBA

Installation view »The Brutalist Playground«, RIBA, London, 2015 Photo: Tristan Fewings © RIBA

Installation view »The Brutalist Playground«, RIBA, London, 2015 Photo: Tristan Fewings © RIBA

 

Architects and urban planners advocated these kinds of playgrounds as places where children could play as freely as possible. But by the early 1970s these concepts had been discarded and were being criticised by both architects and educators. As a result, many of the playgrounds are now lost. Consigned to the archives, they are at most a footnote to an idiosyncrasy in the history of post-war architecture.

 

Installation view »The Brutalist Playground«, RIBA, London, 2015 Photo: Tristan Fewings © RIBA

Installation view »The Brutalist Playground«, RIBA, London, 2015 Photo: Tristan Fewings © RIBA

Installation view »The Brutalist Playground«, S1 Artspace, Sheffield, 2016 Photo: Alun Bull © RIBA

Installation view »The Brutalist Playground«, S1 Artspace, Sheffield, 2016 Photo: Alun Bull © RIBA

 

»The Brutalist Playground« enables a new, unbiased perspective on the original goals and designs of the architects of the time. In the exhibition children have the opportunity to »give free rein to their imagination«, just as the original architects intended. But adults, too, are invited to discover the play- scapes of the 1950s–1970s and the architectural ideas expressed in them.


 

News source: Vitra Design Museum
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“The Brutalist Playground” at Park Hill, Sheffield

Part exhibition, part installation, “The Brutalist Playground” was designed by 2015 Turner Prize winner Assemble and artist Simon Terrill, exploring post-war design for play. Originally commissioned by the Royal Institute of British Architects, this touring exhibition has been reimagined for the Brutalist icon that is the Park Hill estate in Sheffield.

 

Churchill Gardens Estate, archive image © John Donat – RIBA Library Photographs Collection

Churchill Gardens Estate, archive image © John Donat – RIBA Library Photographs Collection

 

Featuring a new commission based on Park Hill’s original playgrounds built by architects Jack Lynn and Ivor Smith between 1957-61, the installation designed by 2015 Turner Prize winner Assemble and artist Simon Terrill  investigates the materiality and visual language of post-war landscapes through an immersive, climbable and conceptual landscape. Originally commissioned by the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA), it will now show in Park Hill’s S1Artspace at The Scottish Queen until September 11, 2016.

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Modern architecture in Northern Italy, in AUT Innsbruck

After the success of “Italomodern 1”, Martin and Werner Feiersinger continue their research focusing on unique architectures: a selection of 130 buildings spanning the whole of Northern Italy, ranging from the experimental, brutalist, neo-realist to architectural “freaks”.

 

Mario Cereghini, Biwak Grignetta, 1966 – 67 © Werner Feiersinger

Mario Cereghini, Biwak Grignetta, 1966 – 67 © Werner Feiersinger

 

Martin and Werner Feiersinger curated in 2011 the exhibition “Italo Modern”-accompanied by a publication of the same name-, the first comprehensive inventory of post-war architecture in Northern Italy which established the wide range of different currents; from neo-realists to rationalists, brutalists and what were considered architectural “freaks”.

The success and the great interest in “Italo Modern” encouraged Martin and Werner Feiersinger to continue their  research and travel activities and to present the results in “Italo Modern 2”. With a focus ranging from unique items to experimental, though not necessarily spectacular architectures, the exhibition and book gather more than 130 buildings. All of them are a clear expression of that stage of the economic and cultural boom in which people believed in the architectural design of the future. The display shows projects from Bolzano to Colle di Val’Elsa, from Trieste to San Remo and from the Adriatic Sea all the way up to over 2,000 m.  (more…)