In a 2016 review of Barnabas Calder’s Raw Concrete, the Observer’s Rowan Moore identified what then appeared to be peak Brutalism with the recent publication of a variety of quality books on the subject, along with the inevitable Brutal-tat of tea towels, mugs, plates, etc. (many of which I own and love). However, as we head into 2019, it appears (despite an offensive by those pesky Post-Modernists last year), that Brutalism is here to stay. This past year has seen another round of fantastic books. Below are some of our favourite recent publications and some other gift ideas for Brutalist fans.
Concrete Poetry by Simon Phipps
We’ve been lucky to work with Phipps on a few projects including the Brutalist London Map and Modern Berlin Map. A son of an architect, Phipps first started photographing Brutalist buildings to gain inspiration for his sculptures. This book neatly brings together his interests, with Phipps’s signature black and white photography of public post-war art. Published by September Publishing, it is an important and beautiful book.
£20 from September Publishing
The Barbican Estate by Stefi Orazi
My chances of owning a flat in the Barbican seem less likely by the day, however nobody can stop me from owning the most beautiful book about the estate. With photography by Christoffer Rudquist, Orazi, the author of Modernist Estates and a forthcoming Modernist Estates Europe (yes, please), presents an ode to London’s greatest housing estate which will leave you glowing with pride about your desire to buy a flat there twenty years ago.
£40 from Things You Can Buy
Spomenik Monument Database by Donald Niebyl
Are they Brutalist? Not exactly, but come on, who’s still bothering to police the term these days? These remarkable Expressionist (mostly) concrete war memorials which dot the landscape of the former Yugoslavia have been documented by Niebyl for years on his cult Spomenik website. We used the site on an unforgettable drive to visit monuments between Belgrade and Skopje last year. The book will come with us in 2019.
£22.50 from Fuel Publishing
How to Love Brutalism by John Grindrod
The perfect gift for those who have yet to recognise the beauty of Brutalism, this gem is packed with insightful and amusing essays by Grindrod, author of a number of wonderful books, and illustrated by The Brutal Artist. If, like me, you haven’t managed to sway your sister’s opinion of Brutalism, buy her this book and be sure to let her know that she shares the same opinion as Prince Charles and Donald Trump. Should do the trick.
£13 from the Barbican Shop
Brutalist Calendar 2019 by Blue Crow Media (that’s us!)
Our new calendar, the beginning of an annual publication, includes twelve photographs of Brutalist beauties from Chandigarh to San Diego by architects such as Le Corbusier, Paul Rudolph and Marcel Breuer. Photographers include Phipps, Jason Woods, Jan Kempenaers, Nigel Green, Stefano Perego, Roberto Conte and others. It’s big, brutal, and we think it would look terrific on your wall.
Brutal Britain by Zupagrafika
Make Britain Brutalist Again!
£20 from Zupagrafika
Brutalist Atlas by Phaidon
A.K.A. the book we’re working towards, but will never be able to afford to do.
£100 from Phaidon
Twentieth Century Society Membership
The books bring awareness, but the society fights to keep the Brutalist buildings upright.
£57 for a gift membership
Tours led by Darmon Richter
The author of the Bohemian Blog, who knows secrets like how to sneak into guarded and abandoned Soviet-era swimming pools and pioneer camps, is leading more tours in 2019. Yes!
Prices vary. See website.
Check out our homepage for our complete selection of Brutalist architecture guide maps and more.