How not to defend Brutalist architecture

These works are mostly public buildings, built by local authorities, and by a kind of civic confidence going back to Victorian times that, it would turn out, was in its death throes. They are also socialist. They tend not to maximise the commercial efficiency of their sites, preferring a generosity of space that now makes them vulnerable to property developers who can multiply their profit-making area by factors of two, three, four and more.

No, not just the word \”socialist\”.

So, knocking down these monstrosities will allow a three or four fold increase increase in the value that can be created from the underlying land.  Land is indeed a scarce resource: they\’re not making any more of it for a start. Further, we keep being told that the ever onwards march of concrete across our green and pleasant land has to be stopped. We must use brownfield, not greenfield, sites for our urban architecture.

So, by knocking them down and replacing with higher value buildings, we are moving an asset from a low to a higher value use. This is the very definition of wealth creation.

Perhaps the best way of defending, of perserving, Brutalist architecture is not to point out that we\’ll all be richer by knocking them down.

6 thoughts on “How not to defend Brutalist architecture”

  1. So Much For Subtlety

    I think the simplest solution is still to require any moron who wants to save these buildings to live in them for the rest of their lives. Or perhaps just over the road.

    Never been to Preston, but somehow the Preston Bus Station makes me think of Zombie films and the need to own an AK-47 clone for the protection of one’s own home.

    Knock it down.

  2. These buildings have certainly suffered from their undeniably socialist births. But a closer a look at some of the buildings reveals architecture that is actually ambitious, challenging, and thrillingly individualist. Rodney Gordon’s (under Owen Luder) work at the Trinity Centre in Gateshead—just demolished—was perhaps the best example, especially as it resided not far from Sir John Vanbrugh’s Seaton Delaval Hall, which places it firmly within a strong tradition of unorthodox, radical english architecture.

    Still, with ultra-Keynesian economic policies firmly back in vogue, firstly with New Labour ‘regeneration’ and presently with financial crisis pump-priming, best get rid of the evidence from earlier attempts that these capers do not actually work, eh?

  3. So Much For Subtlety

    The North Briton – “But a closer a look at some of the buildings reveals architecture that is actually ambitious, challenging, and thrillingly individualist. ”

    Has anything of any value ever had those three words applied to them? All three. It makes these buildings sound like the work of Peter Sutcliffe.

  4. WTF? From that photo it looks like Mos Eisley spaceport. Is there enough dynamite to blow that thing up? If so, gather it hence, and blow that horrific excrescence to the moon.

  5. Pingback: Car Park of Death! « Waiting for the time of the Wicker Man

  6. Value is not just measured in pounds

    Socialism is not a dirty word. I’m sure that by knocking down schools and hospitals we could build something of higher value. Police stations are often located in city centres too. How about abolishing them – security could be managed/funded by private firms?

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