»Form follows feminine.«

Oscar Niemeyer

Blog Agenda

#SOSBrutalism

Saving endangered concrete

  • The Brunel University Lecture Centre in London was saved from demolition when it was given Grade II listing heritage status in 2011. (Photo: Ian Rawlinson, 2014) 1 / 11  The Brunel University Lecture Centre in London was saved from demolition when it was given Grade II listing heritage status in 2011. (Photo: Ian Rawlinson, 2014)
  • Safe from demolition...for now...Temple Street Parking Garage by Paul Rudolph, New Haven, USA, 1958–1963. (Photo: Seth Tisue, 2008) 2 / 11  Safe from demolition...for now...Temple Street Parking Garage by Paul Rudolph, New Haven, USA, 1958–1963. (Photo: Seth Tisue, 2008)
  • John Madin’s Central Library in Birmingham, UK is scheduled for demolition since closure in 2013. Can it be saved? (Photo: Erebus555, 2007 (CC BY-SA 2.0)) 3 / 11  John Madin’s Central Library in Birmingham, UK is scheduled for demolition since closure in 2013. Can it be saved? (Photo: Erebus555, 2007 (CC BY-SA 2.0))
  • Vittoriano Viganò’s Istituto Marchiondi Spagliardi in Milan, Italy has become truly decrepit and is in danger of being demolished. (Photo: Caterina Maria Carla Bona, 2014) 4 / 11  Vittoriano Viganò’s Istituto Marchiondi Spagliardi in Milan, Italy has become truly decrepit and is in danger of being demolished. (Photo: Caterina Maria Carla Bona, 2014)
  • Herwig Udo Graf’s Kulturzentrum in Mattersburg, Austria is under threat of partial demolition and extensive redesign. Step in #SOSBrutalism! (Photo: Johann Gallis, 2015) 5 / 11  Herwig Udo Graf’s Kulturzentrum in Mattersburg, Austria is under threat of partial demolition and extensive redesign. Step in #SOSBrutalism! (Photo: Johann Gallis, 2015)
  • Slated for demolition around 2000, the Preston Bus Station in Lancashire, UK was saved after a national and international campaign. (Photo: Dr Greg, 2007 (CC BY-SA 2.0)) 6 / 11  Slated for demolition around 2000, the Preston Bus Station in Lancashire, UK was saved after a national and international campaign. (Photo: Dr Greg, 2007 (CC BY-SA 2.0))
  • Although it is still in use, the University of Zambia, Lusaka is in serious need of renovation. (Photo: Dr. Ruth Craggs, 2011) 7 / 11  Although it is still in use, the University of Zambia, Lusaka is in serious need of renovation. (Photo: Dr. Ruth Craggs, 2011)
  • After prolonged campaigns to save it Alison and Peter Smithson’s Robin Hood Gardens in London finally looks set for the wrecking ball. (Photo: Steve Cadman 2008 (CC BY-SA 2.0)) 8 / 11  After prolonged campaigns to save it Alison and Peter Smithson’s Robin Hood Gardens in London finally looks set for the wrecking ball. (Photo: Steve Cadman 2008 (CC BY-SA 2.0))
  • John Carl Warnecke’s AT&T Longlines Building New York is one brutalist beast not threatened by demolition. (Photo: Addison Goedel, 2013) 9 / 11  John Carl Warnecke’s AT&T Longlines Building New York is one brutalist beast not threatened by demolition. (Photo: Addison Goedel, 2013)
  • The Visvesvaraya Centre in Bangalore, India, designed by Charles Correa. Can you help with information on its present condition? (Photo: Addison Goedel, 2010) 10 / 11  The Visvesvaraya Centre in Bangalore, India, designed by Charles Correa. Can you help with information on its present condition? (Photo: Addison Goedel, 2010)
  • A heritage building since 1995, Gottfried Böhm’s Wallfahrtskirche in Neviges, Germany is in serious need of renovation to fix leaks and corroding steel reinforcement. (Photo: seiter + seier, 2008 (CC BY-SA 2.0)) 11 / 11  A heritage building since 1995, Gottfried Böhm’s Wallfahrtskirche in Neviges, Germany is in serious need of renovation to fix leaks and corroding steel reinforcement. (Photo: seiter + seier, 2008 (CC BY-SA 2.0))

uncube has always had a soft spot for the awkward, ugly, weird and unloved end of the architecture scale. Brutes and behemoths in particular. So this is why we have lent our support to a new project called #SOSBrutalism, which is aimed at mapping and saving the world’s brutalist treasures. 

This new initiative is a collaboration between the German Architecture Museum (DAM) in Frankfurt and the Wüstenrot Foundation, supported by uncube. Its mission: to rescue brutalist buildings from the threat of demolition. Brutalism is the most publically discussed – and disputed – branch of modern architecture today. While its raw structural language is held by many to represent the epitome of architectural evil, this robust and unpretentious architecture, more of an approach than a style, was in many ways exemplary in its honest provision of practical, functional space.

Although it is still in use, the University of Zambia, Lusaka is in serious need of renovation. (Photo: Dr. Ruth Craggs, 2011)

#SOSBrutalism has at its core an extensive and growing online database that currently comprises information on more than 700 buildings worldwide. They are documented and catalogued according to their status. Is the building endangered, demolished or saved? Fans and advocates are encouraged to share their knowledge through various social media platforms. Indeed communication is a central pillar of the initiative, with one of its central aims being to raise awareness about the inherent qualities of this architecture – and thus why it should be preserved.



After prolonged campaigns to save it Alison and Peter Smithson’s Robin Hood Gardens in London finally looks set for the wrecking ball. (Photo: Steve Cadman 2008 (CC BY-SA 2.0))

As a unique, open initiative, #SOSBrutalism looks for help from brutalism’s many supporters. Which brutalist masterpieces lie waiting to be discovered? Who can provide good photographs, or more detailed information on obscure examples? Just an email could contribute to help preserving the legacy – and lives – of these concrete beasts. So what’s the future for the initiative? Upcoming plans include an exhibition at DAM to be accompanied by an extensive catalogue.

– Stephan Becker, BauNetz.

sosbrutalism.org
#SOSBrutalism

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