Brutalist Sandcastles


Originally published at:


These have the advantage of being much cheaper and quicker to demolish than their full scale counterparts.


Why would you want to demolish them?

They annoy Charles Windsor, which is as good a reason to keep them as any.


…the second picture is a depiction of R'lyeh, isn't it?


RIP Breuer's American Press Institute building in Fairfax, Virginia


Hey, if someone wants to build a brutalist home, or church, or office, by all means go for it.

But not for public buildings. There is already too much concrete and rebar shielding the government from the public as it is.

Up to me? All new public buildings would be prairie/craftsman style. Low profile, non intimidating, with lots of glass and friendly verandas in front.


That's exactly what I thought too.


Are they Brutalist or Modernist? The two aren't the same. Or was "Brutalist" the clickbait part of the post?


If the banks and corporations are willing to do the same, I'm all for it.


I came here to point out that the term "brutalism" is abused horribly (as is "modernist", although when it comes to boingboing, neither can compare with the routine Geneva-convention-busting treatment of "minimalist").

A good word to encompass both Breuer and these sandcastles would be "Bauhaus". If "brutalism" has any meaning at all, it doesn't apply to these sandcastles, and is tenuously connected to Breuer.

The term doesn't stem from "brutality" in the sense of beating you up, but rather from the French sense of the word brut, as in raw and undisguised. Brutalist architecture is executed with straightforward, decisive processes (especially in-situ concrete) and wears the nature of its construction and materials openly. It doesn't dress itself up like classical or vernacular styles, nor does it take the contrivedly minimal forms of other schools of modernism.

So there.

ETA: DGMW, I like the sandcastles


To quote the wife of a French builder of our acquaintance, "Mon mari est artiste, mais il est artiste en béton."


It's almost as if it's a matter of personal taste, innit?

Modernist and lovely:

Brutalist and hideous:



I like Brutalist infrastructure. But I like it best when it's a canvas for graffiti and street art. Cover the concrete in ever changing colors and the paint of the people subverts the fixtures of society.


Boing Boing's architectural expertise begins and ends with the Haunted Mansion.


Brutalism makes for great sculpture that human beings should never be expected to inhabit.

  • The exterior is intriguing and naturalistic in its way
  • The interior is a depressing, institutional place with little natural sunlight

I spent a couple winters working in such a building and had to buy SAD lamps to survive.


Turn the lights off and see if the contrast is as great. I think without the lights the first building will look like that most depressing thing, a closed storefront.


Or the place in the Mountains of Madness.



I like a bit Brutalist architecture, me.