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Atlas of Brutalist Architecture: The New York Times Best Art Book of 2018

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This is the only book to thoroughly document the world's finest examples of Brutalist architecture.' – Architectural Digest Shines a light on this much–maligned architecture... An ambitious attempt to give brutalism a much wider scope and time frame, featuring almost 900 masterpieces from more than 100 countries.' – Daily Telegraph, Property Presented in an oversized format with a specially bound case with three-dimensional finishes, 1000 beautiful duotone photographs throughout bring the graphic strength, emotional power, and compelling architectural presence of Brutalism to life. Although there is an abundance of office spaces in central Birmingham, I think this building is just so visually striking. Another example of a spaceship-like building that transcends the traditions that came before it.

It has been replaced by a load of tat,” says Keating, referring to the insipid mixed-use development designed by Glenn Howells, inaccurately named Paradise. “It’s all cladding and glass. It could be anywhere in the world. The city is destroying a period of our heritage that is so particular to Birmingham, for this featureless rubbish.”Birmingham: The Brutiful Years puts the spotlight on the city’s often under-appreciated post-war architecture, with striking images alongside essays on some of Birmingham’s most iconic locations, as well as some of its lesser-known modernist gems. Daily updates on the latest design and architecture vacancies advertised on Dezeen Jobs. Plus occasional news. Dezeen Jobs Weekly Brutalist architecture is more popular now than it has ever been. Imposing and dramatic, with monolithic concrete exteriors, it forms an enduring part of our post-war urban landscape. This beautifully photographed book is an authoritative survey of the finest British examples from the very late 1950s to the 1970s, from leading architectural writer Elain Harwood, following on from her acclaimed books on art deco and mid-century architecture. On paper it looks like it shouldn't work, but somehow it does. Hilariously summed up by comedic legend Ken Dodd, it's 'the eighth wonder of the world… you get on and wonder how to get off'. The reason for its preservation is that it stands in the base of the Rotunda, a 25-storey cylindrical tower designed by James Roberts (he of the Ringway) in 1965. It’s one of the few buildings of the era to have been Grade II-listed, thus making it the “icon” of postwar Birmingham since the library vanished. Clad in precast concrete panels faced with white mosaic tiles, alternating with bands of aluminium windows, the tower was envisaged by Roberts as a “huge candle in the middle of Birmingham”, originally intended to have neon rings encircling each floor.

The Rotunda is part commercial space and part residential space situated in the Bullring Shopping Centre. Like many post-war buildings around Birmingham it has a retro-futuristic feel about it. Even now, it almost feels like an alien spaceship has made its permanent home in the centre of town! Birmingham's natural state is one of self-destruction. This informative and beautifully illustrated book is written and made by people who have tried to salvage one of the city's many incarnations - the rough and egalitarian motor-city of multi-level concrete megastructures and calm green spaces - and tells that city's story with humour and warmth, and a cast that ranges from Clint Eastwood to John Madin.' Each essay was originally written for The Birmingham Post by The Brutiful Action Group, a collective of local residents who came together seven years ago to raise the profile of Birmingham's brutalist buildings as the city's Central Library was about to be demolished. It is damned by its name which comes from the French, beton brut, or raw concrete, but we use the same word (Brut) to describe Champagne and this perhaps sums up the dichotomy at the heart of this style.' – Financial Times We encounter bulbous sci-fi windows bulging on the corner above the Admiral Casino Slots Experience, as if ready for lift-off, and marvel at the chiselled zigzag balconies that rise above a Snappy Snaps, writhing with wrought-iron balustrades like the work of some Brummie Gaudí.

Another Brummie structure that is quite surreal is the infamous Spaghetti Junction, the destination for many school trips growing up. Although clearly focusing on Brutalism there are many examples which could also fall under Metabolist, Biomorphic, Deconstructivist, Art Deco, Neo-Constructivist, and many other sub-genres of architecture. I had no idea how many examples of Brutalism that the likes of I.M. Pei, Louis Khan, Minoru Yamasaki and Eero Saarinen were responsible for in their career. Although it is woefully under-maintained, the building has details that need to be observed to be appreciated – such as the repetitive relief tiles that fill the face of the building and are contrasted by rows of smooth glass. Keating has been battling to save the city’s brutalist architecture since 2015, when she came together with fellow retiree enthusiasts Jenny Marris and John Bell to form the Brutiful Birmingham action group. They were stirred into action by the fate of the city’s Central Library, a muscular inverted ziggurat designed by local architect John Madin, which was shamefully torn down in 2016 – despite Historic England’s repeated pleas that it should be listed.

From a pedestrian's perspective, the graffiti-adorned space under Spaghetti Junction is almost tranquil, with bursts of greenery combatting the fumes from the cars overhead. It also offers shelter to the homeless community in the area who are often ushered out of other spaces. The underbelly of Spaghetti Junction is definitely an overlooked area."New York Times Best Art Book of 2018 - "Newcomers will discover the global influence of brutalism, that final age of civic architectural ambition; true believers can use it to prepare years of concrete-coated vacations."— The New York Times

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