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This Brutal World

Peter Chadwick

Concrete has often been criticized: a coast built up in concrete no longer attracts tourists and if Concrete art had its days of glory, those days are gone. The material though, a synonym of modern architecture, attracted pioneers such as Hennebique and Perret who did wonders with it as early as of 1900. It is capable of forming poetic shapes as long as it is poured by the right person. Le Corbusier, Louis Kahn, Marcel Breuer, Claude Parent and Niemeyer proved it over and over again. But this book enlarges the list by giving a place to architects who were highly criticized in their time, such as Paul Rudolph or Denys Lasdun, who were unknown because they came from countries that were faraway or closed to the rest of the world for a longtime –such as Argentina if we refer to Clorindo Testa, or all the thrilling monuments of the former Soviet empire, such as the Ministry of Development at Tbilissi. Actually, while this book focuses largely on concrete, Brutalist architecture, with pure and powerful shapes, can also make do with bricks and glass. And most contemporary architects - OMA, Herzog & de Meuron, Adjaye – have accomplished some pretty remarkable tests in this register.

This Brutal World, by Peter Chadwick, Phaidon, 2016, 224 p., £29.95.

This Brutal World - Peter Chadwick

Review published in the newsletter #458 - from 2 February 2017 to 8 February 2017

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