The rise of the New Brutalism was an expression of this discrepancy in sensibilities, and the new appetite for coarse textures and raw materials—as opposed to the sleek machine finishes sought during the 1920s—was a tentative first step toward bringing architecture into harmony with the other arts. The critic Reyner Banham made this point in an important 1955 article in the Architectural Review published in December 1955: “In the last resort what characterizes the New Brutalism in architecture as in painting is precisely its brutality, its je-m’en-foutisme, its bloody-mindedness.” […] For more than a generation now, architecture has aspired to a state of absolute sleekness, in which materials have no weight and surfaces no texture. The practice of designing by computer—not only preparing drawings but conceiving them on the computer screen, and gauging their visual qualities there—has accelerated the process to the point where most buildings give the impression of having been put together through a cold, analytical process, without any feeling for the physicality of materials.

Michael J. Lewis on New New Brutalism (New Criterion)


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