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Brutalist architecture slammed as ‘cult of Ugliness’ by U.K. official

He warns the public against architects who “build new horrors from huge concrete slabs”

Brutalism just can’t get a break. Known for its strong concrete forms and monumental aspirations, Brutalist architecture is one of those love-it-or-hate-it kind of styles. After emerging in the 1950s-1970s, Brutalism has got a bad rap that it’s gradually somewhat overcoming. But U.K. Transport Minister John Hayes is decidedly in the “hate it” camp.

In a recent speech calling for prettier public buildings, the conservative politician denounced Brutalism as “aesthetically worthless” and a “cult of ugliness.”

“Be warned!” Hayes said. “The descendants of the Brutalists still each day design and build new horrors from huge concrete slabs to out of scale, rough-hewn buildings, and massive sculptural shaped structures which bear little or no relationship to their older neighbors.”

He went on to suggest that the U.K. government would usher in a new architectural “renaissance” by rebuilding a long-demolished Doric arch that once stood outside of Euston station in London. The stones of the old arch have already been retrieved from the River Lea and a plan for rebuilding is soon to follow.

Hayes cited the architectural taste of Prince Charles to back up his anti-Brutalism, pro-classic-beauty argument. But as you may know, the Prince of Wales isn’t the sharpest pencil in the critic’s box.

“It is interesting to see John Hayes so stridently asserting his design preferences, but not everyone is going to agree with him,” Ben Derbyshire—president-elect of the Royal Institute for British Architects—tells the Independent.

What we can all agree on is the importance of ensuring that whatever is built in this country makes a positive impact to its locality and community and we are pleased to see another Government minister recognizing the vital role of a talented design team in achieving this.”

Via: The Independent