Presidente Miguel Alemán Collective Housing, Mexico D.F.
Telefónica Argentina ENTEL Building, Buenos Aires
SEPRA (Santiago Sánches Elía, Federico Peralta Ramos and Alfredo Agostini)
"This building, built for the State Telephones Company - ENTEL -, is a complex of offices and telephonic exchange packed in a large prismatic volume of expressive plasticity and strong texture, whose language, belonging to the second moment of Modernity, announces the brutalist esthetic the Studio would bring to it climax at the Bank of London.
It is separated from the ground by a series of hard columns, which laid down in a free ground floor, according to the correct observation of the architect Federico Ortiz. There are also fixed solar shading separated from the wall, typical of the time. Although, the new remodeling of the building, still in execution, continues transforming many of the original elements."
PETRINA, Alberto, Buenos Aires Guia de Arquitectura, Buenos Aires, Sevilla, 1994, p. 103
GROSSMAN, Luis J., Peralta Ramos en la Arquitectura, Buenos Aires, Ediciones Infinito, 2006, p. 56
CAD Design: Fernanda de Oliveira Vaccas
Cordoba City Hall, Cordoba
SEPRA - Santiago Sánches Elía, Federico Peralta Ramos and Alfredo Agostini
The triangular block at the downtown area is occupied by two interconnected buildings, an 8-floors over pilotis extended tower and a square 2-floors slender porticated pavilion, both combining exposed concrete structures and some brick finishing. The taller building for the municipality offices is supported by carefully designed V-columns; a detached brise-soleil frame protects two of the glassed façades. While this building shows a creative transformation of Corbusier’s suggestions, the lower pavilion, with a more slender concrete structure defines a more classical composition that hints on Mies Van der Rohe’s contributions. Both Modern maestros seem to have contributed to the Brutalist language, that leans on Corbusier’s expressivity but prefers the fixedness of Mies structural plans instead of the repetitive punctuation of Le Corbusier’s free plan.
GROSSMAN, Luis J., Peralta Ramos en la Arquitectura, Buenos Aires, Ediciones Infinito, 2006, p. 60-65
SCHERE, Rolando, Concursos 1826-2006, Buenos Aires, Sociedad Central de Arquitectos, 2008, p. 249-250
CAD Design: Gabriela Leonardo Ferez
Coyoacán Market, Mexico D.F.
In the 1950’s Mexico city began to substitute old city markets by new premises, some of them designed by Felix Candela with other architects, like this early example at Coyoacán with Pedro Ramírez Vásquez. Rows of thin exposed concrete “umbrellas” cover the place not unlike the tents of old open-air markets. These umbrellas are composed by four hypar structures that converged towards a central support or base, inside of which a tube allowed the water to be drained to a central sewage system. Three rows of seven structural umbrellas define the market main precinct, naturally illuminated by the shed-like openings between the rows. The external walls are structurally independent and also help to bring light and natural ventilation to the interiors. Several recent inappropriate additions and interventions heavily interfere with the quality of the original structural spaces.
(Reference: ALANÍS, 2010 p.36-37)
La Pampa Provincial Civic Center, Santa Rosa
"Once the commission for the organization of the Concourse has been received, the Central Society of Architects designates Advisor the Architect Hirsz Rotzait, who will prepare the bases. In mid September, the distribution begins with a delivery date of November 10. With the Coup d'Etat that happened in September, the Competition was temporarily suspended, until there was a definition of the Auditor of the new Province de La Pampa, Dr. Martin Rafael Garmendia, who decided to continue the execution of the Competition and to replace the Provincial Jury.
PROGRAM: Includes Governor's Residence, Ministries of Government and Public Works, Economy and Social Assistance.
The characteristic of the place, in its urban and natural landscape, is strongly horizontal. It presents a soft lifting, towards the north and west, where it is possible to appreciate the city that extends in that direction and towards the South and East where is possible to see the Pampean landscape."
SCHERE, Rolando, Concursos 1826-2006, Buenos Aires, Sociedad Central de Arquitectos, 2008, p. 254-255
Our Lady of Solitud Chapel, Altillo, Mexico D.F.
Enrique de la Mora, Fernando López Carmona and Félix Candela
The diamond-shaped plan of this chapel is covered by a single hypar (hyperbolic paraboloid). Thanks to the asymmetrical disposition of the side façades the north and south tips have different heights. The external walls of heavy stones bellow and are close by light stained glass to the north, while defining a more closed entrance to the south, with a external stair leading to a slender marquise that connects the chorus level, with the other nearby constructions conforming a patio. The entrance under the chorus slab is more intimate and opens to the almost centered altar situated over a slightly elevated floor that accommodates a sunken crypt. The exposed concrete of the ceiling, painted white, discretely organizes the profusely illuminated interior spaces without imposing its weight.
(References: ALANÍS, 2010 p.38-43;
LARA, Rosa, Enrique de la Mora vida y obra Cuadernos de arquitectura y conservación del patrimonio artístico, Mexico, Instituto Nacional de Bellas Artes, 1981, p.24
CAD Design: Daiane Hea Mi Lee
Blue Cross/Build Shield Building, Boston
This significant piece of mid-century modern architecture was almost demolished some years ago and was saved by the vigilant efforts of local DOCOMOMO. As other Brutalist architecture examples, it suffers with the inglorious fame the trend acquired on behalf of its worst examples, and with the aid of rancorous historians - so that the best Brutalist examples cannot even be qualified as such, or else you may give cause to their destruction, instead of their preservation. Heroic Boston, Concrete Toronto, DOCOMOMO and other preservationist organizations still do not dare to qualify this ad other buildings with the until now taboo name. But yes: it is a Brutalist building, and a very good one, a regular, contextual city-centre office block, an early example of the structural façade solution whose variations will be explored in the 1960-70s, with V, W, Y columns or trellis beams, designed as transitional structural apparatus, meant to minimize the supports and open up the ground level into a more friendly public space. That in this case stretches to a nice pocket plaza – that would probably disappear if an 80-storey tower would be allowed to replace it. Hope not.
Available http://www.overcommaunder.com/heroic/project/blue-cross-blue-shield-building/ [acessed 09 December 2016]
http://www.nytimes.com/2007/03/07/arts/design/07rudo.html [acessed 09 December 2016]
Residence Mário Tacques Bittencourt, Sao Paulo
João Batista Vilanova Artigas, Carlos Cascaldi
In the houses, realized between 1946 and 1955, Artigas employs basically two parties. The first is characterized by the fact that all the functions are situated in a single volume of very well-defined limits, although sometimes with almost virtual closures, such as Hans Trostli (1947), Paulo Emilio Gomes dos Reis (1951) and Oduvaldo Viana (1951).
The second party is characterized by two blocks with half-water roofs, separated but interconected, as in the houses Antonio Luiz Teixeira de Barros (1946), J. Czapski (1949), J. Mario Bittencourt I (1949), Heitor de Almeida (1949), the second house of the architect (1949) and Geraldo Destefani (1950), sometimes opposed by a third transversal volume, which time to time expands, as in the Alfredo Rosenthal (1948) and Febus Gikovate (1949).
The inclined roofs, initially fused in a single volume, tend to contrast, connecting itself through the circulation of stairs or ramps, resulting in a solution of high readability.
Acording to João Kamita, this house is the "definitive mark of the most properly brutalist phase of Artigas's work." In it, also occurs the meeting of these two typical parties in one, housing the two blocks interconnected under a single volume defined by the cover and lateral flaps in concrete (which are also large walls or large beams) forming a box where the planes of the slabs and ramps. This structural solution supports and defines the architectural spaces, almost wishing to suffice.
REVISTA ACRÓPOLE, n.299, p.328, Set. 1963.
KAMITA, João Masao, Vilanova Artigas, São Paulo, Cosac & Naif, 2000, p. 25
ZEIN, Ruth, A Arquitetura da Escola Paulista Brutalista, São Paulo e Porto Alegre, 2005, (Tese de Doutoramento) Faculdade de Arquitetura da Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul; p.98
CAD Design: Julio Beraldo Valente
Model: Gabriel Veríssimo Sartorelli and Nathalia Marques Giusti
Sidney Smith Hall
John B. Parkin Associates
Who says a Brutalist building must be rebarbative? This early Toronto example - and several other similar ones around the world - proves against such hasty simplification. Probably because their authors did not learn from Le Corbusier only, but have also profited from the lessons of the “American” Mies Van der Rohe successfully transposed into concrete. Here a higher longitudinal block and a lower squared pavilion define a corner plaza at the main street and a garden to the rear entrances enhancing its public stature, with the same elegance that it solves its structure and detailing.
MCCLELLAND, Michael; STEWART, Graeme, Concrete Toronto A guidebook to concrete architecture from the fifties to the seventies, Ontario, Coach House Books and E.R.A. Architects, 2007, p.134-135
Santa Paula Yacht Club Nautical Pavilion, Sao Paulo
João Batista Vilanova Artigas, Carlos Cascaldi
A singular masterpiece with a high degree of structural and formal experimentation in a realtively small premise, with a simple program resulting in a very creative solution.
The Santapaula Yacht Club is a retangular covered area (70 x 14m) defined by two longitudinal main prestressed concrete beams, defining two external balances of 10m, two spans of 10m and a central span of 30m.. The beams height variies from 0.65 to 2.25m at the support points. They are connected by transverse bemas, disposed at every meter, and reinforced by two intermediate longitudinal bemas; the transverse beams are placed in different heights, soa s to form a tripartite covering slab. The longitudinal façade beams widen down designingtriangular points with a folded detail, resting on four supports. There are no columns, and massive steel appliances, designed with for different shapes, articulate the contact with the basement walls. The upper structure is absolutely isostatic; a cover above the thick cyclopean concret walls that define the basement, which can be interpreted as a kind of exposed foundation.
Despite the SYCN Pavilion only two levels and relatively small space its design proposes varied vertical voids. The upper level resonate the covering tripartite rhythm, with a double height void in the center and two open rooms at north/south ends, connected by a west narrow covered stretch, along with small independent structures for facilities. The basement level is defined by a continuous thick cyclopean concrete wall; it stretches and folds defining, from north to south, a retaining wall, a quasi-double height wall and a closed compartment with tiny windows for storage. The floors connect by a discreet ladder between the retaining wall and storage space. Access to the lake’s beach from the north open area is granted by a uniquely designed prestressed concrete stair, that hangs from the retaining wall and “floats” above ground. Counterpointing the deep shadows day light floods by the absence of vertical closings and the two zenithal “faults” of the tripartite slab plus five “light cannons” with fiberglass lids.
The only closed compartment would be used for motors and sails storage, and the double height space would receive a metal frame structure with deep niches to storage very small boats, relieved from their sails (probably 420 Class type). But that facility was never constructed, neither the pavilion was ever used as Boat Garage. A concrete slab runaway stretches from the SYCNP to the lake, but has lost its purpose since the dam maximum level was lowed for security reasons in the 1970’s. At roughly the same moment the Santapaula Yacht Club declines and closes. Its premises remain abandoned and unused; its access is forbidden by its de facto caretakers, albeit it is not clear to whom does it legally belongs nowadays; and it remains in an almost ruinous state,
The SYCNP rehabilitation is an urgent necessity. In any case, it should be considered as a piece of a complex puzzle including Interlagos neighborhood and Guarapiranga dam, meaning, as an urban, landscape, historical and architectural preservation site. The SYCN Pavilion was built as a non-autonomous annex and cannot be used as an independent building without damaging its intrinsic characteristics, It would be better to give back its original use as a belvedere, a “brutalist” gazebo, a pleasant shady place to appreciate the lake.
AC ARQUITETURA n.1, p.38, Jul. 1966;
ZEIN, Ruth, A Arquitetura da Escola Paulista Brutalista 1953-1973, São Paulo e Porto Alegre, 2005, (Tese de Doutoramento) Faculdade de Arquitetura da Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul; p.145
CAD Design: Julio Beraldo Valente
Model: Carolina Ribeiro Boccato and Tatiane Yuri de Souza
Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven
Louis Isadore Kahn
"Begun when he was 50 years old, this was Kahn's first major work and the one that launched his extraordinary, late-flowering career. It was also Yale's first modern building. The reserver, street-respecting exterior attracted little public notice at the time, but the exposed concrete ceiling and round stair tower with the form-work showing were such publicized - the first sign that many had seen of what would soon become familiar as Brutalism. The interior has now been altered - it was said that it "lacked elegance" - and the original floating partitions have been replaced with white walls, partly concealing the concrete frame. Out back a sculpture garden and the cout of Weir Hall make on of Yale's most idyllic outdoor places."
Yale's first modern building, and the first sign that many had seen of what would soon become familiar as Brutalism. The discreet exterior façade and entrance with exposed brick panels establishes a contrast with the interior spaces, defined by exposed concrete slabs of the floors, whose triangulated, tetrahedral shape in reinforced concrete. A central service zone includes a cylindrical hollow for the triangular stairs with a top lightning that repeats the triangle/circle motif.
BROWN, Elizabeth, New Haven A Guide to Architecture and Urban Design, New Haven and London, Yale University Press, 1976; p. 69
Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal Church, Mexico D.F.
Designed by Candela himself, this masterpiece with inclined concrete surfaces was the first of a series of religious buildings that maybe considered as a varied experimental laboratory of spatial possibilities of hypars (hyperbolic paraboloid - HP). Following tradition, the church is aligned with the north south axis with a small entrance narthex, an east side corridor while the west side opens up with rows of inclined columns that characterizes also the interior spaces. The concrete thickness of only 4 cm (1.5”) organizes a series of 21 HPs organize a higher central and two lower lateral naves that open up at the altar area; the natural light enters by the lateral triangular openings refracting at the concrete surfaces enhancing the chiaroscuro religious ambiance.
ALANÍS, 2010 p.30-35;
NOELLE, Louise, Catalogo Guia de Arquitectura Contemporanea Ciudad de México, México, Compañia Editorial Electro-Comp, 1993, p.54
Mercado La Merced, Mexico D.F.
Enrique del Moral
This very large central market space is covered with a sequence of vaulted apparent concrete shells, which enables and facilitates the lighting and ventilation. Very closed exterior brick walls define the north and south, relatively narrow façades; while the lengthy east-west façades are closed with perforated concrete bricks to enhance ventilation. Several recent inappropriate additions and interventions interfere with the quality of the original structural spaces and external façades.
NOELLE, Louise, Catalogo Guia de Arquitectura Contemporanea Ciudad de México, México, Compañia Editorial Electro-Comp, 1993, p. 55
CAD Design: Kamila de Oliveira de Souza
Astrophysics Municipal School, Sao Paulo
Roberto Goulart Tibau
This unique work of architecture admirably introduces some of the ideas that were appreciated to the Brutalism of Sao Paulo: the internal/external void as a composition measure (magnifying the symbolic value of the work), the use of concrete big spans and overhangs (not necessarily designed to answer functional needs, but also as plastic resources) and the expression of a strong experimental will, aiming to create an architectural, sculptural and landscape landmark.
The small program occupies a horizontal, narrow and extended building, with its ground floor slightly elevated, its lower floor partially underground and an open upper terrace; internally the building is organized in half-levels laid out lengthwise; externally, slopes, ramps and stone retaining walls define levels that extend inside and beyond the building, configuring spaces that mix the public and private realms. It was recently restored and repainted white.
REVISTA ACRÓPOLE, n.282, p.181, Mai, 1962;
ZEIN, Ruth, A Arquitetura da Escola Paulista Brutalista, São Paulo e Porto Alegre, 2005, (Tese de Doutoramento) Faculdade de Arquitetura da Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul; p.108-9
CAD Design: Raphael Ferrari Wittmann
Model: Ludmila Cavalli and Paula Bejar
Fiorello H. La Guardia High School, New York
"A strongly articulated, poured-in-place concrete building typical of the best of 1960s construction. The cost of achieving such quality in New York soon became prohibitive, and architects switched to mostly brick and metal assemblies. This exception resulted from the halt of all school construction during the City's 1970s financial crisis and completion of the original plans many years later."
WHITE, Norval, AIA Guide to New York, New York, Three Rivers Press, 2000, p.358
São Carlos Engineering School – Building B-1
Hélio de Queiroz Duarte, Ernest Robert de Carvalho Mange
The schematic transversal section synthesizes the parti of the block that may be seen as the result of its extrusion. Three floors elevated on pilotis leave the ground floor almost entirely free. The trapezoidal section of the transverse beams is economical and with the hanging ceiling defines a horizontal void for utilities, plus the vertical duct defined by the central void of the double columns. The north-south orientation of its long facades, with corridors running along the north side of the building, prevents direct sunlight to reach the classrooms and administrative areas; the narrow character of the block facilitates cross ventilation. Inspired perhaps on Le Corbusier’s Swiss Pavilion this building has a completely opposite, engineer-oriented, rational and modularly repetitive approach to the structural solution.
ZEIN, Ruth, A Arquitetura da Escola Paulista Brutalista, São Paulo e Porto Alegre, 2005, (Tese de Doutoramento) Faculdade de Arquitetura da Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul; p.104-5;
REVISTA HABITAT, n.33, Ago, 1956;
REVISTA ACRÓPOLE, n.249, Jul, 1959
CAD Design: Julio Beraldo Valente
Vila Madalena Church, Sao Paulo
The internal free space with 40 x 20 m is accessed through the middle portion of its longer side, facing a large frontal churchyard. The building occupies the rear portion of its high declivity plot, supported by columns that bring the main access to the level of the square. The structure consists of seven concrete porticoes with a 5 meter interval, bound by a central beam aligned with the facade, only interrupted by the two access voids; this beam overhangs 5m lengthwise on both sides and supports a slab, which, elevated from the ground, forms the floor of the church’s main hall. The entrance through two centralized twin doors gives immediate access to the altar; the churchgoers occupy two symmetrical sides separated by the altar, which is defined as a rectangular “arena” that ascends to each of its sides. The external isolated belfry is located on the right, following the main alignment.
CAMARGO, Mônica Junqueira de, Joaquim Guedes, São Paulo, 2000, Cosac & Naify, p.20;
ZEIN, Ruth, A Arquitetura da Escola Paulista Brutalista, São Paulo e Porto Alegre, 2005, (Tese de Doutoramento) Faculdade de Arquitetura da Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul; p.106
CAD Design: Edson Lucchini Jr.