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A Brutal Beauty

University Library Exterior with Clouds

When the plans for University Library were being developed in the 1960s, one concern was how a new, modern library would relate to the collegiate gothic style of Deering Library. Rather than design a structure that merely echoed the traditions already established by its well-known neighbor, the decision was made instead to commit to a unique identity, one that was distinctly contemporary, and uncompromisingly bold. Some might even say brutal.

In honor of the 50th anniversary of University Library, the Art Library has organized a display of its oft-maligned and misunderstood architectural style—Brutalism. Featuring a selection of books and background text, we invite you to stop by the 3rd floor Deering lobby and (hopefully) gain a deeper appreciation for University Library and its blunt, unapologetic beauty.

Calder, Barnabas. Raw Concrete: The Beauty of Brutalism. London: William Heinemann, 2016.

Doshi, Balkrishna V., et al. Balkrishna Doshi: Architecture for the People. Weil Am Rhein, Germany: Vitra Design Museum, 2019.

Grindrod, John. Concretopia : A Journey around the Rebuilding of Postwar Britain. London: Old Street Publishing, 2013.

Harwood, Elain, and James O. Davies. Space, Hope, and Brutalism: English Architecture, 1945-1975. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2015.

Heathcote, David, and Sue Barr. Barbican: Penthouse over the City. Chichester, West Sussex: Wiley-Academy, 2004.

Jenkins, David. Unité D’habitation, Marseilles: Le Corbusier. London: Phaidon Press, 1993.

McLeod, Virginia, and Clare Churley, eds. Atlas of Brutalist Architecture. New York; London: Phaidon Press, 2018.

Rohan, Timothy M. The Architecture of Paul Rudolph. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2014.

Shadar, Hadas. Makat Shemesh: Beniyah Bruṭalisṭit Be-Ve’er Sheva’: ‘iyun Meḥudash Ba-adrikhalut Ha-mamlakhtit. Yerushalayim: Yad Yitsḥaḳ Ben Tsevi, 2016.

Sirman, Brian M. Concrete Changes: Architecture, Politics, and the Design of Boston City Hall. Amherst: Bright Leaf, an Imprint of University of Massachusetts Press, 2018.