Exhibitionists·Video

Learning to love brutalist architecture's frosty embrace

Brutalist architecture has its fans, and with good reason. One of them is Toronto-based writer, senior editor/co-owner of Spacing magazine and psychogeographer Shawn Micallef, and he told us why even now, he's a fan of brutalist buildings.

The much-maligned style still has admirers like Shawn Micallef

Spacing magazine senior editor/co-owner and Toronto Star columnist Shawn Micallef on the merits of unpopular architecture. 2:55

Architectural fads come and go, but some of them leave more of an impression than others. Brutalism was trendy from the 1950s to the 1970s, and it was intended as an honest, direct, raw style that manifested in blocky concrete buildings with small perforated windows. Even the description sounds pretty heavy, and that's how people responded – over time, buildings like the Robin Hood Gardens housing complex in London, U.K., were criticized as being depressing and cold.

There are still many brutalist buildings left (including the University of Toronto's Robarts Library), but the style's reputation has persisted. Nevertheless, brutalism has its fans, and with good reason. One of them is Toronto-based writer, senior editor/co-owner of Spacing magazine and psychogeographer Shawn Micallef, and he told us why even now, he's a fan of brutalist buildings.

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