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The Concrete Times April 2015

The CONCRETE Times • APR 2015 FEATURE LONDON’S “BRUTALIST’ DIAMONDS Brutalism’s bold, monumental, and on the whole, deadly serious style remains controversial, years after it was replaced by Post-Modernism 6 There is a little confusion as to who first coined the term Brutalism — Swedish architect Hans Asplund claims to have used it in a conversation in 1950, but its first written usage was by English architect Alison Smithson in 1952. The term was borrowed from pioneering French architects and refers to unfinished or roughly finished concrete (beton brut in French). The following are a mix of familiar and somewhat less well-known Brutalist buildings in London. many examples of this uncompromising architectural style Brunel University Lecture centre The Royal College of Physicians Centre Point How many times have you walked past this Grade ll listed London landmark and never given it a second thought? Designed by Richard Seifert and completed in 1966 it was described by the Royal Fine Art Commision as having an ‘elegance worthy of a Wren steeple’. Note how the gentle v-shaped window mullions soften and add interest to this slender, Massive period tour de force. The swish Paramount restaurant and bar occupies the top floors and has outstanding views of London. There is also a free viewing gallery. Phone up beforehand (0207 4202900) to let them know that you’re coming. Brunel University Lecture Centre This imposing mid-60s building famously starred as the ‘Ludovico Medical Facility’ in Kubrick’s legendary film A Clockwork Orange. For this reason alone it is well worth a pilgrimage. It has also appeared in various TV series including Spooks, Silent Witness and Inspector Morse. Its jutting geometric forms mark it as a classic example of mid-period (or ‘Massive period’) Brutalism. The Brunswick Centre Royal College of Physicians Sir Denys Lasdun designed the graceful and discreet geometries of this building. Never a card-carrying Brutalist, he presented a softer version of its often hard-nosed style. Surrounded by the splendid neo-classical terraces of John Nash, The Royal College of Physicians holds it own and manages to be both elegant and entirely of its time. Centre Point


The Concrete Times April 2015
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