SOS Brutalismus – Rettet die Betonmonster

The ongoing show of the German Architecture Museum offers the first global catalogue of Brutalist architecture. Worth a trip to Frankfurt-am-Main!

DAM_SOS Brutalismus_Birmingham_Hood John Madin: Birmingham City Library, Birmingham, Great Britain, 1969–1973, demolished in 2016
Photo: Jason Hood 2016
The current exhibit of the Deutsches Architekturmuseum in Frankfurt-am-Main, ‘SOS BRUTALISM – Save the Concrete Monsters!’ showcases the first-ever global survey of the Brutalist architecture of the 1950s to 1970s. A collaboration by the Deutsches Architekturmuseum and the Wüstenrot Foundatio, the exhibition is on view between 9 November 2017 and 2 April 2018.
The term Brutalism does not originate from the word “brutal”, but rather béton brut—the French term for exposed concrete. Brutalist architecture celebrates rawness and the bare construction. It is exceptionally photogenic and, in recent years, it has reached cult status on Facebook and Instagram. That said, many people still only see these buildings as ugly concrete monsters. The expressive style emerged during a period of experimentation and societal upheaval. Today many are at risk of being demolished. In light of this, the #SOSBrutalism campaign extends the exhibition online with a database of over 1,000 projects. Media partners are the BauNetz and uncube magazine.
At the DAM, Brutalism is reexamined with unusually large-scale models and cast concrete miniatures that were built by the Kaiserslautern Technical University for SOS Brutalism. The exhibition features buildings from Japan, Brazil, the former Yugoslavia and Israel, as well as Great Britain, where Alison and Peter Smithson invented New Brutalism.
The exhibition is accompanied by another activity on social media: The visitors are encouraged to mark photos of Brutalist buildings in Frankfurt with the hashtags #Betonperle and #FFM: the best findings will be included in the exhibition.

DAM_SOS Brutalismus_Boston City Hall_LOC Kallmann McKinnell & Knowles / Campbell, Aldrich & Nulty: Boston City Hall, Boston, Massachusetts, USA, 1962–1969
Photo: Bill Lebovic 1981

DAM_SOS Brutalismus_Gosstroy_Rota Alexander Belokon / V. Sulimova: Gosstroy Residential Building, Baku, Aserbaijan, 1975
Photo: Simona Rota 2011

DAM_SOS Brutalismus_Rozzol_Mazzo_1 IACP (Carlo Celli / Luciano Celli): Rozzol Melara, Trieste, Italy, 1969–1982
Photo: Paolo Mazzo 2010
Exhibition curator of “SOS Brutalism” is OLIVER ELSER.
The exhibition is accompanied by a catalogue, published in both German and English.