Book of brutalist archictecture postcards from the Soviet era


Originally published at:


I think my “favorite” – in that it’s the most grotesque – brutalist building is at Prora.,KdF-Bad(2011-05-21)_5_crop.jpg

Prora is not Brutalist architecture (I think)

Brutalism is the architecture I love to gaze upon and would loathe to live among.


I remember a comment on some anime or other saying the villain was the “brutalest,” except the writer spelled it “brutalist,” and I had to wonder if there was a mecha out there made of concrete slabs. Maybe he could never be killed as long as his re-bar was intact.


The Apartment-Gons! The Decepti-Gaols!


No “somehow” about it- even (especially?) democracies get freaked out over protests and like to be able to hunker down behind concrete in case they happen.

Don’t know if it was true or not but rumor on campus was that this building was specifically designed to be protester-proof with the narrow slit windows.


I quite like western brutalist architecture. The one Soviet-era brutalist building complex I’ve been in in China was also pretty amazing. The nits I would pick about it would be sourcing materials (i.e. concrete & CO2), and the dressing of the interiors… but dressing is pretty changeable (or, in the vernacular of Stewart Brand, new skin & new stuff are things the building can learn :slight_smile: ).


Our jackalope postcards beat these…but only barely.

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I think you might be mistaken. Some of Le Corbusier’s works are said to be quite livable.

Brutallisme really has a problem with it’s name, not with the begin brut, I think.


Some brutalist buildings have an oddly appealing character.

I was always fond of the Robarts Library at the University of Toronto. It’s imposing and strangely shaped; inside, most floors are triangular, leading to an unusual but IMO user-friendly layout for the stacks, once you figure out how to navigate them.

I haven’t seen it in person for quite a few years, but apparently there’s an expansion underway. I know people like to poo-poo brutalism, but I hope they don’t mess it up too much.


Nope, still too austere for me, but it is quite gorgeous. My austere aesthetic limit is somewhere around the homes inspired by the Arts and Crafts Movement.

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Might have to get this, should get the inspirational juices flowing for my next Minecraft megabuild


I love that building! It’s shaped like a peacock.

YorkU was built in the late '60’s and has a bunch of brutalist architecture. When I moved out to BC and went up to SFU for the first time it looked very similar and I wondered if it was built around the same time as York. Sure enough, it was.

I love brutalist architecture but, unfortunately, concrete buildings in the rain look dismally depressing.

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I’d think of this one as more Mondrian positive (a good thing),
than protester negative.

I get the joke, I just didn’t laugh.


The broken arch and breaching submarine I actually find quite compelling as pieces of art. Mayhap that says more about the state of my nation (USA) than anything else.


I mean it’s like most trends, there’s good bad and everything between. But the best can be quite stunning.








The Brutalism people hate on is often not actually Brutalism, just cheap concrete buildings. And I’d still prefer some of that stuff over the parts-from-a-catalogue glass/sheet metal panel/painted concrete garbage going up today all over Vancouver.

And how could you not love our courthouse:


I know #3 quite well.

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I grew up in a communist-era big concrete block and, honestly, I’ve nothing to complain about. I mean, hanging paintings indoors was interesting considering you needed professional-grade drills the size of a small car to make a dent in the reinforced concrete walls (plaster was a decadent Capitalist invention, apparently, because even non-load bearing walls were designed for tank warfare) and these days WiFi’s a bit spotty if you have a large apartment but other than that… it’s nice, honestly. Lots of space between buildings, lots of greenery.

The Soviet union did plenty of a bad things but, truth be told, I don’t really think the architecture is something to complain about.