Where To Find Brutalist Architecture In England


Brutalist architecture is a bit like marmite: people either love it or loathe it. I belong firmly to the pro-brutalist camp, there's something about its gigantic asymmetrical, concrete slabs, mounted together that I find exciting. For a long time the style fell out of favour but it's definitely experiencing a renaissance. Their cool and plain exteriors are becoming the basis for modern-day design and architecture, with some original Brutalist flats in England being privatised and selling for hundreds of thousands (annoyingly). What's more are the numerous Instagram accounts paying tribute to its photogenic stark lines, raw aesthetic and overwhelming ratio of concrete.
Leeds University Campus
The Roger Stevens lecture hall is close to my heart. I moved out of home to Leeds when I was eighteen to go to Leeds University (I later dropped out but that's another story) and I had the joy of attending lectures in this iconic building. At the time I wasn't even aware of brutalism as an architectural form, but its appearance made an impression on me and it was the first time I consciously became drawn to its aesthetic.
Central Hall, University of York
York is considered one of the most beautiful cities in England, so it's little surprise this spaceship-looking building is often met with disdain. Somewhat amusingly, it's said to be a bone of contention that whilst students from York St. Johns University graduate at York Minister with its universally admired Gothic architecture, students from this Russell Group university graduate in this less conventionally attractive building.
Clifton Cathedral, Bristol
Consecrated in 1973, unlike a lot of brutalist architecture in England, this church is well loved within the community and architect lovers alike. This may have something to do with building's acoustics which are said to be first-rate, making the venue popular for some of Europe's top classical ensembles.
Perhaps even more impressive is the interior which benefits from a lot of natural light, and with a capacity that can hold around a 1000 people, it conveys a great sense of being large yet intimate at the same time. Furthermore, the seats are positioned so that no one is ever far from the altar so that it would foster a more intimate connection with the high altar during mass.
The Barbican, London
My favourite venue in the whole of London! The Grade II-listed Barbican Centre is Europe's largest multi-arts venue and one of London's best examples of Brutalist architecture and most loved. It was developed as part of a utopian vision to transform an area of London left devastated by bombing during the Second World War. It took over a decade to build and was opened by the Queen in 1982, who declared it 'one of the modern wonders of the world'. Architecture tours of the building are organised for those who wish to know everything there is to know about the Barbican's design.