Brutal, Bold and Brilliant is a photographic inventory designed to encourage fresh conversations about Brutalist architecture with particular reference to buildings in Belfast and Dublin.
Derived from Le Corbusier's French term 'béton brut'(rough concrete) Brutalism (originally called New Brutalism) in its early phase (1950's in the UK) was a design philosophy, not a style. The philosophy aimed to create an aesthetic based on the exposure of a building’s components: its frame, skin, and mechanical systems.
Brutalism evolved in the 1960's and 1970's as a reference to buildings that posessed rough concrete (beton brut finish), had bulky massing and quickly became a style that was villified.
It is unfortunate that the word brutalism has such negative connotations in the english language. It was never the intention of the philosophy or the style. The translation of brut of the term 'beton brut' is actually 'raw' and not 'brutal' in the english semantic. 'Beton' is the french word for concrete.
The buildings i am collating looks at the beauty of 'beton brut' in the architectural context of belfast and dublin. I hope to give a history of its origins. engage people in a discussion on brutalism, seek their opinions of the style and in doing so reveal its true original intentions. Some of the buildings collected are highlighted as 'Buildings at Risk' where redevelopment proposals aims to demolish the unlisted/unprotected structures in the short-term. Where such buildings are identified it would be advisable to explore the opportunity for a proposed architectural listing or protection.
The overall study is conducted by Sarah Newell and has received support from the Heritage Council of Ireland in 2010 under the Research Grants Scheme.
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