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13 Images that Prove Brutalist Architecture Can Be Beautiful

Themed Collections

19 September 2017

Posted by Maya Witters

When you hear the word ‘brutalism’, chances are that your first associations are related to blunt force, ugliness, and housing blocks. Beauty probably isn’t too high on your list. And yet this modernist building style, despite all its raw concrete, sharp lines and unapologetic massiveness, can be truly stunning - especially when seen through the lens of a talented photographer. Brutalism became popular in the fifties as a reaction to the frivolity of the architectural styles of the preceding decades. The style is especially prevalent in London, with cultural institutes like the Barbican and the National Theatre as prime examples. We have selected some of the most striking images of Brutalist architecture from around the UK for you to feast your eyes on.

A view of the escalators and roof of Canary Wharf Underground station in London, where up to 50,000 commuters pass through daily.

A view of the escalators and roof of Canary Wharf Underground station in London, where up to 50,000 commuters pass through daily. Read less

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Stockimo

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The financial heart of London can be seen past the balconies of Brutalist institution the Barbican, while a man on the phone appears oblivious of the view.

The financial heart of London can be seen past the balconies of Brutalist institution the Barbican, while a man on the phone appears oblivious of the view. Read less

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Alex Gill

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A woman wheels her pram through the hallways of the Barbican, a maze of exposed brick and concrete in central London.

A woman wheels her pram through the hallways of the Barbican, a maze of exposed brick and concrete in central London. Read less

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Alex Gill

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The sharp concrete lines of the main stand at the Gala Fairydean Football Clubs ground in Galashiels, Scotland, stand out against a cloudy sky.

The sharp concrete lines of the main stand at the Gala Fairydean Football Clubs ground in Galashiels, Scotland, stand out against a cloudy sky. Read less

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Alan McCredie

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The monumental balconies of the National Theatre in London stand out against the sky. The building was completed in 1976 and houses three theatres.

The monumental balconies of the National Theatre in London stand out against the sky. The building was completed in 1976 and houses three theatres. Read less

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James Abell

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The sharp railings of a Brutalist building in an unknown location crisscross in near-symmetry against a looming sky.

The sharp railings of a Brutalist building in an unknown location crisscross in near-symmetry against a looming sky. Read less

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Stockimo

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A shot of the symmetrical concrete staircases at the back of the National Theatre showcase the beauty of Brutalist architecture.

A shot of the symmetrical concrete staircases at the back of the National Theatre showcase the beauty of Brutalist architecture. Read less

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scott anderson

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Flowers hang from balconies at the Barbican Estate, home to around 4000 people, on a rare sunny day in London.

Flowers hang from balconies at the Barbican Estate, home to around 4000 people, on a rare sunny day in London. Read less

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Lenny Carter

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The main tower of the Barbican Estate in London stands in stark contrast with a Georgian-era house and a modern glass building.

The main tower of the Barbican Estate in London stands in stark contrast with a Georgian-era house and a modern glass building. Read less

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Iain McGillivray

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This monumental tidal barrier earned Grade II-listed status for protecting the inhabitants of Hull against more than 30 tidal surges since its opening in 1980.

This monumental tidal barrier earned Grade II-listed status for protecting the inhabitants of Hull against more than 30 tidal surges since its opening in 1980. Read less

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Duncan Palmer

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The deceptively named Arlington House in Margate, Kent, is really a Grade II-listed eighteen-story apartment block, built in 1964.

The deceptively named Arlington House in Margate, Kent, is really a Grade II-listed eighteen-story apartment block, built in 1964. Read less

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Stockimo

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The distinctive concrete ceilings of the National Theatre in London can be seen as two women share a bottle of wine.

The distinctive concrete ceilings of the National Theatre in London can be seen as two women share a bottle of wine. Read less

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Stockimo

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The ground floor restaurant in the Tate Modern museum on London’s South Bank features a ceiling with exposed pipework.

The ground floor restaurant in the Tate Modern museum on London’s South Bank features a ceiling with exposed pipework. Read less

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Colin Lines

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