June 20, 2019

A Defense of Brutalism

Contributed by Alex Anderson

Gould Hall – Photo by Lara Swimmer

When my longtime editor at Kinfolk moved to Harvard Design News and invited me to contribute there, I was happy to do it. I was even happier when one of my first tasks was to write about Brutalist architecture. Having spent more than 20 years working and teaching in Gould Hall, a very fine example of Brutalism, I had plenty to say.

This short essay is partly about Jeanne Gang’s adaptive re-use studio at Harvard this semester, but it is more generally about countering the many complaints leveled against concrete institutional buildings of the 1950s, 60s and 70s.