Jonathan Meades on France - Netflix

Sat 22 June 2019

Jonathan Meades scrutinises the 95 per cent of France that Brits drive through and don't notice en route to the 5 per cent that conforms to their expectation.

Type: Documentary

Languages: English

Status: Ended

Runtime: 60 minutes

Premier: 2012-01-18

Jonathan Meades on France - Brutalist architecture - Netflix

Brutalist architecture flourished from 1951 to 1975, having descended from the modernist architectural movement of the early 20th century. The term originates from the French word for “raw”, as Le Corbusier described his choice of material béton brut, meaning raw concrete in French. Architects Alison and Peter Smithson are believed to have coined the term “Brutalism” in the 1950s and it became more widely used after British architectural critic Reyner Banham titled his 1966 book, The New Brutalism, using the term “Brutalism” to identify the style. Brutalism became popular with governmental and institutional clients, with numerous examples in English-speaking countries (the United Kingdom, the United States, Canada, Australia), Western Europe (France, Germany, Italy), the Soviet Union, the Eastern Bloc (Slovakia, Bulgaria), and places as disparate as Japan, India, Brazil, the Philippines, and Israel. Examples are typically massive in character (even when not large), fortress-like, with a predominance of exposed concrete construction, or in the case of the “brick brutalists”, ruggedly combine detailed brickwork and concrete. There is often an emphasis on graphically expressing in the external elevations and in the whole-site architectural plan the main functions and people-flows of the buildings. Brutalism became popular for educational buildings (especially university buildings), but was relatively rare for corporate projects, which largely preferred International Style. Brutalism became favoured for many government projects, tower blocks (high-rise housing), and shopping centres. In its ruggedness and lack of concern to look comfortable or easy, Brutalism can be seen as a reaction by a younger generation to the lightness, optimism, and frivolity of some 1930s and 1940s architecture. In one critical appraisal by Banham, Brutalism was posited not as a style, but as the expression of an atmosphere among architects of moral seriousness. “Brutalism” as a term was not always consistently used by critics; architects usually avoided using it altogether.

Jonathan Meades on France - Designers - Netflix

In Italy, Vittoriano Viganò designed the Istituto Marchiondi in Milan in 1957, and the BBPR studio built the Torre Velasca in 1958. More recent Modernists such as I. M. Pei, Gottfried Böhm and Tadao Ando also have designed notable Brutalist works. In Brazil, the style is associated with the Paulista School and is evident in the works of Pritzker Architecture Prize-winning architect Paulo Mendes da Rocha (2006). In the Philippines, Leandro Locsin designed massive brutalist structures, including the Tanghalang Pambansa and the Philippine International Convention Center. In New Zealand, Sir Miles Warren and his practice Warren & Mahoney led the development of the so-called “Christchurch School” of architecture, which fused Brutalist architectural style with Scandinavian and Japanese values of straightforwardness. Warren's style has influenced New Zealand's public architecture. In Serbia (then Yugoslavia), Božidar Janković was a representative of the so-called “Belgrade School of residence”, identifiable by its functionalist relations on the basis of the flat and elaborated in detail the architecture. His architectural structures, built more than four decades ago, are in better physical condition today than many buildings which were constructed years later. Architects whose work reflects certain aspects of the Brutalist style include Louis Kahn. Architectural historian William Jordy says that although Kahn was “[o]pposed to what he regarded as the muscular posturing of most Brutalism”, some of his work “was surely informed by some of the same ideas that came to momentary focus in the Brutalist position.”

In Australia, examples of the Brutalist style are Robin Gibson's Queensland Art Gallery, Ken Woolley's Fisher Library at the University of Sydney (his State Office Block is another), the High Court of Australia by Colin Madigan in Canberra, and WTC Wharf (World Trade Centre in Melbourne). John Andrews's government and institutional structures in Australia also exhibit the style. Canada possesses numerous examples of Brutalist architecture. In the years leading to the 100th anniversary of the Confederation in 1967, the Federal Government financed the construction of many of public buildings. Major Brutalist examples, not all built as part of the Canadian Centennial, include the Grand Théâtre de Québec, the Édifice Marie-Guyart (formerly Complex-G), Hôtel Le Concorde, and much of the Laval University campus in Quebec City; Habitat 67, Place Bonaventure, the Maison de Radio-Canada, and several metro stations on the Montreal Metro's Green Line; the Confederation Centre of the Arts in Charlottetown; the National Arts Center in Ottawa; the Hotel Dieu Hospital in Kingston; Robarts Library, Rochdale College in Toronto; the church of the Westminster Abbey in British Columbia. In the United Kingdom, architects associated with the Brutalist style include Ernő Goldfinger, wife-and-husband pairing Alison and Peter Smithson, some of the work of Sir Basil Spence, the London County Council/Greater London Council Architects Department, Owen Luder, John Bancroft, and, arguably perhaps, Sir Denys Lasdun, Sir Leslie Martin, Sir James Stirling and James Gowan with their early works. In the United States Paul Rudolph and Ralph Rapson are both noted Brutalists. Evans Woollen III, a pacesetter among architects in the Midwest, is credited for introducing the Brutalist and Modernist architecture styles to Indianapolis, Indiana. Walter Netsch is known for his Brutalist academic buildings. Marcel Breuer was known for his “soft” approach to the style, often using curves rather than corners.

In Argentina Clorindo Testa created the Bank of London and South America headquarters, one of the best examples of the 1950s.

Jonathan Meades on France - References - Netflix