Fabrications: The Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians, Australia & New Zealand

Call for contributions to a themed issue on “Brutalism”

Papers due 5 January 2015

Brutalism had its origins in “béton brut” – concrete in the raw – and thus in the post-war work of Le Corbusier. Alison and Peter Smithson then used the term “New Brutalism” from 1953, claiming that if their house in Soho had been built, “it would have been the first exponent of the ‘New Brutalism’ in England”. Reyner Banham famously gave the movement a series of characteristics: a formal legibility of plan (later “Memorability as an ‘image'”); the clear expression of a building’s structure and services; and the honest use of materials in their “as-found” condition. The Smithsons and Banham promoted the New Brutalism as ethic rather than aesthetic, privileging truth to structure, materials and services and the gritty reality of the working classes over the concerns of the bourgeoisie. But Brutalist architecture changed as it was taken up by others.
Both Brutalism and the New Brutalism have attracted increased scholarly attention in the past several years: the Spring 2011 issue of October; the Open Hand symposium at AUT University, Auckland, in May 2014; a session at the European Architectural History Network conference, Turin, in July 2014.
We invite papers that advance this scholarship by exploring architects, buildings, critics and texts that influenced, were influenced by or associated with Brutalism and/or the New Brutalist movement. What can be said of the relationship between Brutalism and the New Brutalism? Can ethics be separated from aesthetics? To what extent did the writings and ideas of the Smithsons and Banham inform architectural developments in other places? How were Brutalist or New Brutalist buildings received at the time of completion? How have they fared since, and to what extent are they being (or should they be) heritage listed today? Papers that make reference to Australian or New Zealand figures, projects and events are welcome, but such connections are not a requirement for inclusion in the issue.
Papers are due in with Julia Gatley ( and Stuart King ( by 5 January 2015.
Papers must conform with the Guidelines for Authors.

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