Béton brut meaning "Raw Concrete" was a term coined for the futurist architecture being created by Le Corbusier and others like him. From this label the term Brutalism was created as a way to classify this style of architecture. The style took off in Europe and made its way to the United States. Un like the other popular forms of modernism during this time brutalism was not as universal as other movements like the International Style or Mid-Century Modern, in that it was only rarely used for houses and found its home on college campuses and government buildings. Strangely enough a lot of churches also adopted this style.
The architecture itself is characterized by the large size of the buildings and the use of raw unfinished concrete. Brutalist buildings also make use of geometric forms in a way to attempt to communicate the buildings function and what the rooms behind the slabs of concrete are used for. However, an exact definition for what constitutes a brutalist building is hard to arrive at because the types building that are still considered brutalist can range widely. Because of this burtalist building can also be made of lots of other materials besides concrete. This means that the definition of brutalism is really more of an idea and ideology than a strict guideline.
However due to their stark and futurist appearance these building have become disliked by the public. I feel this is due to a couple reasons. One of the first issues is that there tons of brutalist building that are not as well thought out as that works of the masters that they are emulating. Another issue is as time has gone by many of the owners have changed these building so much on that inside that a once good building may seem cramped or poorly laid out now. The final issue that I feel leads to a distain for brutalism is a lack of understanding of the ethos and ideas that have created these structures.
With this piece I hope to show people the beauty that I see in these alien looking structures. To me the feeling that being at one of these buildings evokes is a wonder for the ingenuity and ability that humans have to create structures that humble us. I feel burtalist buildings have a prevailing calm about them that no other architecture style can capture. These structures remind us to look at the world with childlike amazement from their massive size and clean geometric shapes.
To create this piece I have captures building from all over Baltimore and Washington, DC. I understand that not every building featured in this montage is a textbook example of brutalism. I made the decision to shoot the piece in this manner to communicate that there are not strict rules to this style. Some building in this piece could possibly be classified as another style but I feel there is strong brutalist principles displayed in every building featured. Another thing I chose to highlight is how diverse these buildings interiors can be. Meaning that while their exterior may be brutalist their interior may be fashioned in a more Mid-Century modern or international style. I felt this blending of styles is a central part of brutalism so it should also be expressed visually.
If you liked this piece I am also working on a full-length documentary about Mid-Century Modern homes and their owners. If you would like more information please visit: http://www.VioletRedDesign.com
Music: Aphex Twin, Avril 14th
Camera: Canon 5D MKii
Camera Color profile: Technicolor Cinestyle
Lenses: Canon 35mm, 50mm, and 85mm
Edited & Shot By: Jimmy Bishop
Edited On: Final Cut Pro 7
Color Grade: Red Giant Magic Bullet