Ode to Brutalism

Arlington

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99% Invisible (Podcast) has a double-tribute to Michael McKinnell, co-designer of Boston City Hall. Second half of episode is a tribute to Michael Sorkin (architecture critic)
Great photos.
 

Charlie_mta

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Saturday afternoon...

Hey, that's where I got my undergraduate degree. I graduated in 1976 and really loved Paul Rudolph's buildings, both inside and out, as well as the positioning of the buildings on the campus. I felt very fortunate to have been there; the first and only person in my family to ever attend college. I went on to get a masters later at Oregon State. It's an awesome campus in a beautiful part of the state,
 

Lrfox

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Saturday afternoon...

Thanks, I know what I'm doing tomorrow.

I grew up in the area and UMD was a hub for a lot of activities throughout my childhood. I attended baseball camps there between ages 8-13, we had swim meets there (Bishop Stang used the pool back then), and I attended various one-off events there until I went away to college. It's part of the reason I became fascinated with architecture. I didn't appreciate it when I was an adolescent, but I knew something was special about it (even if many of the adults mocked the buildings). I'd highly recommend anyone in the area take a stroll through the campus if you have the chance.
 

shmessy

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Not a mystery - - - architecture that disrespects human beings is guaranteed to be disliked by human beings.

I definitely think Brutalist architecture can be a more appreciated style, if only the buildings took care to have publicly active and engaged ground floor and invite interaction with the pedestrian instead of the all-too common concrete fortress walls.


Well done!

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You suck!


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stick n move

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^ Agreed, I actually generally like most brutalist structures and think they definitely have a place on our skylines. Its important for cities to keep examples of each architectural period and not replace everything with similar modern buildings. The best skylines and cityscapes have diverse mixtures of old and new styles. That being said theres definitely some horrendous examples of brutalist structures like anything else. I think when something is universally hated and completely deadens the street life then it really speaks for itself. I definitely dont think we should try to replace all brutalist structures across the country though, they have their place.
 

chrisbrat

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it IS pretty cool. the street-level activation could easily be improved (and should be).
 

SlothofDespond

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The State Service Center at GC gets bad rap, but if they had finished it and built the tower as originally planned, it could have been pretty cool.

This is brutalism in a nutshell right here. A stylized drawing that makes a structure look good. In reality it would be a mass of concrete totally divorced from the city fabric repellent to human life.
 

Charlie_mta

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This is brutalism in a nutshell right here. A stylized drawing that makes a structure look good. In reality it would be a mass of concrete totally divorced from the city fabric repellent to human life.
I agree with the context argument. For that matter, the entire GC complex should never have been built. However, a building like this could be great in an appropriate location elsewhere.
 

Bananarama

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Maybe if they didn't close off the north front where all the urban engagement is and turn it into a damned parking lot... it'd be better integrated.

I've always loved this building, but acknowledge it as a failure. More in part to the stupid use and blocking of the site than the actual building though. Raked concrete is beautiful.
 

Charlie_mta

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This building works in the correct context: a semi-tropical climate and an open environment. It's not in a cold harsh climate (where concrete weathers more and looks bleak) and it's not in the middle of a dense city (i.e. Boston). So it works great where it is.
 

kz1000ps

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1975 rendering of the Lahey Hospital's new campus out in Burlington... sharing not so much because the architecture is noteworthy but more for the mood that a black and white rendering of an institutional behemoth as filtered through a gritty, faded newspaper print can create. IMO it doesn't get much more big, bad brutalist seventies than this



From Burlington Retro
 

shmessy

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This building works in the correct context: a semi-tropical climate and an open environment. It's not in a cold harsh climate (where concrete weathers more and looks bleak) and it's not in the middle of a dense city (i.e. Boston). So it works great where it is.

......and it's in a locale that hates books. Perfect!
 

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