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Brutalism is fashionable again, kind of

I think it’s time to make it official: Brutalism is fashionable again. Okay, kind of. According to this WSJ article, the appreciation for this style of architecture remains nowhere near universal, but the renaissance is certainly continuing. Some Brutalist structures are and have been torn down; while others are being repurposed.

One recent example is the Balfron Tower in East London (pictured above). Designed by the Hungarian-born architect Ernő Goldfinger and completed in the 1960s as social housing, the tower is currently undergoing a £40 million renovation that will convert it to market-rate housing. Apartments start at £365,000 (USD 472,054) for a 450 square foot one bedroom.

One notable feature are the “streets in the sky” that separate the building’s circulation (elevator core) from the actual suites. It’s a peculiar way to build and most never consider it today, but it’s very much a hallmark of the Brutalist movement. The idea was to express the building’s various functions — vertical circulation being one of them.

I guess we just don’t build them like we used to.

Photo: Walter Homann via the WSJ

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