May 11, 2009

Brutalism - Perth's best examples of brutalist architecture

Brutalism. Perth's brutalist architecture polarises opinions. Geometric, concrete, 1960's and 1970's stylings. Often out of place, even alien. But what exactly is brutalist architecture? Well, I'm no architect, but it seems to be that any building that would look particularly good with a commie flag on its roof, is most likely an example of brutalism. Here is a selection of Perth's best.

Council House, Perth, 1963. Howlett and Bailey won a national design competition, and here is first place. During the 1990's, the future of this building was in doubt, it was facing demolition. It has appeared on lists of Perth's most hated buildings. People, wake the fuck up.



Commonwealth Bank, Perth, date unknown. Well, this will polarise for sure. A rough concrete tower, in the sea of mediocrity.  Built today, any building on a Terrace facing site would have every surface clad with the latest shade of triple glazed eco-glass. This building says - "fuck you, don't even think about coming in, we will rip your fucking balls off and feed them to you, and you may never actually escape". Perfect for a bank, then.




Perth Concert Hall, 1973, Perth. Again, Howlett and Bailey design the perfect building for a CCCP flag. Speaking of commies, the opening day was attended by Gough Whitlam.




Christian Science Sunday School, Perth. What the hell happens inside this building? Christian, scientists? Apparently they believe that anything evil is an illusion. Somebody forgot to tell their architect. Harry Seidler (a bit of a brutalism fan himself) must have tripped balls when he realised how good QV1 looks with this brutal block in the foreground.


Hale School Memorial Hall, Wembley Downs, 1961. This is the first brutalist styled building in Australia. Concrete, rough, and imposing. Actually, when you put brutalism and all-boy schools together, the jokes pretty much write themselves. I photo-shopped out the empty SAO packet, a stop-watch, and a Chinese flag, lying on the grass in front.



Just a taste of "Perth Brutalism Part 2 - 1970's, Hello!" (located in East Perth). This interior shot is taken from inside one of Perth's most hated buildings. More photos of this, soon...

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

Is Council House actually brutalist?

tbor said...

Council house is not brutalist. Brutalism refers to exposed concrete, of which it has none.

N. said...

Thanks for the comment, tbor. I do agree with you, to some extent. I must say I'm not the only one who would categorise this modernist structure as somewhat brutalist in form. In any case, this is a fantastic building that crosses many genres.

IzunaDope said...

I love the concert hall and the east perth train/bus station! modern buildings are the true brutal

mike "modernism" bogle said...

Keep kicking 6000x! Love your photos.

What was Brutalism?

1. Formal, axial plans (a formal legibility of plan);
2. An emphasis on basic structure (a clear exhibition of structure);
3. Candidly expressed materials and finishes (materials “as found”);
4. Predominantly concrete, but integration of glass, brick, timber.

Reyner Banham. “The New Brutalism.” The Architectural Review, December, 1955, pps.355-361.

Anonymous said...

Marsala House, Dianella (Iwan Iwanoff) is regarded as Brutalist (see Heritage listing citation). Although the intricate blockwork makes it an unusual example.

Cheryl said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

So did that FESA building in Perth get knocked down to make room for a hotel, been a few years since I last heard anything.

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