Brutalism was a movement in modern architecture responsible for some of the most striking building designs of the twentieth century. But its achievements also proved shocking and controversial, partly because of its emphasis on the use of unfinished concrete for exterior surfaces.
The way in which Brutalism emphasized the physical properties of building materials represented an update on Louis H. Sullivan’s famous ‘form follows function’ maxim, which had inspired an earlier wave of modernist architecture culminating in the International Style. But whereas International Style often favored a sleek, streamlined efficiency of construction – doing the most with the least – Brutalism was more likely to emphasize the brash abundance of its materials, drawing attention to the weight, density, and mass of concrete, steel, and stone.
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