The Brutalists: Brutalism’s Best Architects

Phaidon. Mar. 2023. 368p. ISBN 9781838665630. $69.95. ARCHITECTURE
Hopkins’s (director, Farrell Ctr. at Newcastle Univ.; Postmodern Architecture: Less Is a Bore) latest work focuses on more than 200 world architects from the 1920s to the present. These architects engaged with different aesthetic and philosophical ideas related to brutalism in varying degrees and for different purposes. They produced works that meet the characteristics of the style, as defined by Reyner Banham in 1955: a memorable image, expressed structure, and building materials, often concrete. Hopkins’s concise but thorough overview of the style in the introductory essay is followed by entries on each architect, with up to four pages each of black-and-white photographs; there’s also a short description of career highlights and a reference to their major brutalist works. In the back of the book, there’s a time line with thumbnails that offers another way to understand the featured buildings. Floorplans could have increased the value of this book to architecture students and other readers.
VERDICT Useful as a guide to the architects who defined, spread, and, in some cases, still practice the brutalist style of architecture. Consider for libraries where books on brutalist architecture are popular or for collections in need of a title that introduces the subject.
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