Monday, 10 June 2013

Brutalist Architecture, Photography & Memory.

The photographs of Brutalist Architecture I find most engaging are those that have a significant people and/or nature presence. Dappled light refracted through trees, the warmth implicit in the stark contrast of light and shade caused by the sun and its shadows, or kids hurrying to class. Concrete's monolithism can be oppressive in urban areas were there is little nature to soften its brute force, but I also find nature oppressive in its 'authenticity' without the contextualisation brought about by proximity to the man-made. It is this juxtaposition that causes me to love airplane vapour trails, Hammersmith Flyover and the Westway (low level auto-mobile flying on concrete).

My warmth towards Brutalism may also be auto-historical. Born in the winter of 1969 I was a child of the 70's when it was still 'in' (in the 70's cinemas still occasionally showed B-movies to support the main feature and I once witnessed a corporate style documentary called the 'The History of Concrete' - I found its boringness absurd). I would also play with Tess and Mark Tinker, the children of Tim Tinker, the lead architect of the recently demolished Heygate housing Estate in Southwark, It had been completed in 1974. Brutalism also has a boldness and bravery that embraced the future: sci-fi realised. These are some of the reasons photographs of Brutalist Architecture evoke in in me feelings of warmth, hope, idealism and utopian progress, and sunlit days.