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Book review: Brutalismen is frozen hip hop

the Architect Ernö Goldfinger had a brutally tough night on 17 september 1964. The phone rang incessantly, and in the handset alternated nynnanden of the James Bond theme with imitations of Sean Connerys elegant scottish: ”Goldfinger? This is agent 007.”

the film adaptation of Ian Fleming's spionroman had just had its premiere, and its undead guldsmugglare was supposed to have received its name from the ungerskfödda Londonbon. This as revenge for the rätblockiga the design on the architect's brick house on Willow road 2 near the Fleming's residence.

Goldfinger was both shaken and concerned. But not enough to keep your fingers away from London's cityscape.

one of the front men for the nybrutalismen (later just brutalismen), it byggideal that characterized the city in the three decades after the second world war, not least with their burdusa twin towers Balfron (1967) and the Trellick (1973).

Trellick Tower in London, north Kensington (not in the picture in the book) and the parking Rod in Norrköping. (The images are cropped.) Photo: IBL and Tove Falk Olsson

the Name was referring to the French term beton brut, the raw concrete that is often dressed up the facades of the buildings, and seemed to also capture the merciless scale, or the idea that the internal infrastructure such as ventilation and heating would be visible. A building's exterior would no longer reflect the wealth and power, without function. The new välfärdsarkitekturen would be honest and rational.

But the word has, like ”functionalism,” even the confederation of Swedish origin, and was first used jokingly by the architect Hans Asplund to describe another tegelkloss, namely Villa Goeth in Uppsala, which was designed by Bengt Edman and Lennart Holm to Pharmacias then-director of the Elis Goeth. (For those who want to live in a miljonprogramshus, in miniature, is the villa since september for sale.)

in the book ”Sweden brutal architecture with attitude during the 60's and 70's”, with flattering photographs of Tove Falk Olsson and an introduction by Martin Rörby. And just like their last collaboration on the publisher Max Ström, ”Stockholm " brutal” from 2015, the as a porralbum for us betongfantaster.

the city Library in Norrköping. (The image is cropped.) Photo: Tove Falk Olsson

Here are the Norrköping city library, which breaks up out of the asphalt as a gray crystal. Täljövikens majestic but abandoned training centre in Hamilton that LO immediately should restore. Olsson captures well the peace around Gävle crematorium, where I would consider myself to whizz up among the pines a day. But there are also eye illnesses, Gert Wingårdhs giant barnbyrå with all the boxes drawn out, as he baxat up at the Courthouse in Örnsköldsvik.

What can explain this nyintresse?

the elapsed time since the buildings fell out of favor in the mid-1970s. The architecture has cyclic features, when the buildings are longer than we have the energy to be stubborn against them. In addition, the easy dissemination of photos via Instagram, whose tag #brutalism is teeming with everything from forgotten soviet water tower to the opulent miljonprogramsområden as Rozzol Mezzara in Trieste, buildings that you might otherwise would rarely travel to. For the arkitekturintresserade are additionally a variety of delicious photo books, which the publisher Phaidons newly released concrete blocks ”Atlas of brutalist architecture”, and exhibitions such as ”Toward a concrete utopia: Architecture in Yugoslavia, 1948-1980” at The museum of modern art in New York.

May also contribute to the rising status of hip-hop, where brutalismens raw idiom has long since been an obvious backdrop for truth-telling.

If Goethe is right in saying that architecture is frozen music, then perhaps brutalismen frozen hip.

In Sweden, already saw Latin Kings always to adorn the albums with the hearty cementformationer, as they expressed ambivalent feelings about in the texts. As in ”My neighborhood”, where the rap to ”the suburb is a jungle of concrete/if you had the chance would you gitta at once.” In the same way in the dance uk rapgenren grime, whose videos are often played in front of the right Goldfingers Balfrontorn in east London. Today is nedsprejade high-rise standardfond in soon seen all the pop music that wants to loot the poor suburbs of authenticity.

in that architecture is frozen music, then perhaps brutalismen frozen hip. (The architect Le Corbusier said something similar about jazz, namely that it ”has touched America because it combines the melody with the rhythm”, and that he hoped that the architecture would one day be as sophisticated.)

I, too, am infected by the grey fever, be recognised. So much so that I went on a brutalistturné in Berlin in August.

We visited the miljonbygget Pallasseum, with its myriad of balkongparaboler towering over a giant bomb shelter from the second world war, and, of course, Le Corbusier's utopian jättebygge the Unité d'habitation yet further to the west. We missed not ”musbunkern”, a medical laboratory, which is similar to a stranded warship.

Filmhuset and the kaknäs tower in Stockholm. (The images are cropped.) Photo: Tove Falk Olsson

We quickly noticed how many of brutalismens buildings that are devoted to the public interest, in most cases, the grand residential buildings for the poor or myndighetssäten. Just like in Stockholm, with förvaltningsbjässar as Technical nämndshuset and Garrison, DN's and SvD's medieskrapor in Marieberg and the LO's office building at Sveavägen.

so not be a style. But rather the idea that democracy deserves a monumental architecture, just as the kings had their castles and big capital its glass tower. But this time the power and the people stay the same.

This is to forget that easy in the day, when stjärnarkitekter, at times, flirts with brutalismen in their skrävelhus, that's fräcke the dutchman Rem Koolhaas and the recently departed Zaha Hadid. Certain is based the often dizzying and splendid, but when a billion people live in slums, one wonders if the world's top arkitekthjärnor really goes over the right things.

Brutalismen, however, created skrytbyggen for the sub-class.

It is a pity that not every building gets its own presentation, and I had glimpsed more people. The hidden namely happily away.

that is Why I am also sceptical about the current status of its brusque idiom. The democratic ideology is forgotten often away, and what remains is a superficial debate on the facades that are the finest, as too well suit the populiströrelser as Arkitekturupproret.

the nightly book ”Nihon noir” (2018), where Tokyo looks to belong in science fiction dystopin ”Blade runner”. While they are magical, the images are drained of both color and people, and all that remains is an intimidating infrastructure seems to cope best without us. Same on Instagram, where contrasty and hard cropped images are often omits the parks and street life, and thus also the democratic project brutalismen was a part of.

Therefore, I appreciate the ”brutal” not only let the color remain, but also begins with a detailed presentation and problematisation. However, it is a shame that not every building gets its own presentation, and I had glimpsed more people. The hidden namely happily away.

in The last decades of spectacular demolitions have begun to encounter resistance. 2015 launched the emergency SOS Brutalism, an 1,100 buildings large fotodatabas with the campaigns to preserve threatened betongbyggen. In the spring visited their exhibition ”Save the betongmonstren!” Frankfurt.

a bulldozer to save such as Robin Hood Gardens in London is premature, I admit. But let us in the gravel to dig up the brutalistiska the truth that it is not primarily a matter of building facades, or even about house, but about building communities.

the University at Frescati in Stockholm, the south of the house. Photo: Tove Falk Olsson

Read more: Arkitekturupproret against modernism is a fuskbygge

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