“The hashtag #brutalism has over 500,000 images and conservation groups are increasingly trying to save examples of Brutalism, which are all too often demolished without a second thought.”
I have never really been a fan of Brutalist architecture. I was privileged as a young student to visit Baltimore’s famous Morris A. Mechanic Theatre. In later years, I often enjoyed passing through the cool caves created by the fountains at McKeldin Square, zipping up to the Observation Deck at the World Trade Center, or guiding friends through the rain forest and then to the dark depths of the sea at the National Aquarium, all located on Baltimore’s Inner Harbor. And as a graduate student, I even had the unique opportunity to spend most of a year working at the National Theatre in London’s South Bank.
In almost every case, I found the experiences I had on the inside of these buildings to be more interesting than withtheir mostly concrete exteriors. The often window-less walls were great for keeping out the light for shows at the theatre. And the views from buildings like the NT and the WTC were spectacular when I was inside looking out. But I never considered the buildings to be especially beautiful in and of themselves.
So I was interested to read this piece from My Modern Met blog about what Brutalist architecture is and why there is a renewed interest in preserving Brutalist architecture. Here in Baltimore, both the Mechanic Theatre and the McKeldin Fountain have been torn down in recent years, which caused some preservationists to worry about the possible fate of this town’s remaining Brutalist structures. While I still don’t find the style especially appealing, the article helped me to appreciate the aesthetic better and sympathize with the preservationists and their cause.