The Conundrum of Brutalism
prof. Réjean Legault (UQAM, Canada), THE CONUNDRUM OF BRUTALISM
The last decade has witnessed a surge of interest in the ideas, buildings, and architects associated with Brutalism. This fascination is clearly expressed by the proliferation of scholarly investigations, journalistic opinions, thematic exhibitions, and preservationist interventions on the topic. While Brutalism has finally reached a respectable position within the 20th-century architectural landscape, it nonetheless remains a slippery concept to pin down. My talk examines the trajectories of the idea of Brutalism through a reading of how it has been conceptualized – and instrumentalized – by various protagonists since the early 1950s. As well as dealing with a still-unresolved conundrum of architectural historiography, it also addresses our current valuation and categorization of postwar architecture.