The British architects Alison and Peter Smithson coined the term "brutalism"in 1953, from the French béton brut, or "raw concrete", a phrase used by Le Corbusier to describe the poured board-marked concrete with which he constructed many of his post-World War II buildings. The term gained wide currency when the British architectural critic Reyner Banham used it in the title of his 1966 book, The New Brutalism: Ethic or Aesthetic?

The headquarters of the FBI at 935 Pennsylvania Avenue is probably the most impressive example of brutalist architecture in Washington DC, and every aspect of it expresses the brute force of government in the Twenty-first Century, except for a vast expanse of netting which completely swaddles the top two floors.

"Why is all that netting up there?" I asked a cop on guard at the exit of the parking ramp, and he said...

"To keep the building from falling on your head."

"And who would I ask if I wanted a serious answer to that question?"

"That is a serious answer," said the cop. "The building is crumbling, and chunks of concrete were falling on the sidewalk."

"Thank you, officer, and I'm sorry for doubting you," I replied, and maybe I could have eventually figured it out for myself, but now I have a source.



Of course this post would be a lot more interesting if it included my photo of FBI headquarters, but you can't post images on MYDD.


And of course nobody bothers to answer. 

Tags: brutalism, architecture, FBI (all tags)



I'm answering :)

Unfortunately, I have no idea why. I've been doing diaries without images for months now.

by Inoljt 2011-07-13 08:04PM | 0 recs
RE: I'm answering :)

Thanks for responding, Inoljt.

What the heck happened to MYDD? I used to post here way back during the Democratic primaries in 2008, and for a while after that, and MYDD was a lively site, with all sorts of posters, Hillary partisans, Obamabots, and the Kucinich faithful like me. 

And now?

There are still serious diaries, like your article about for-profit colleges, with zero comments.

This is sad. 

by Jacob Freeze 2011-07-14 10:08AM | 0 recs


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