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Raw Concrete: The Beauty of Brutalism Hardcover – 21 Apr 2016

5.0 out of 5 stars 9 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 416 pages
  • Publisher: William Heinemann (21 April 2016)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0434022446
  • ISBN-13: 978-0434022441
  • Product Dimensions: 16.1 x 4 x 24 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 35,013 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

"The best introduction to this most exciting and visceral period of British architecture – a learned and passionate book." (Simon Bradley, author of The Railways)

"Part history, part aesthetic autobiography, wholly engaging and liable to convince those procrastinators sitting (uncomfortably) on the concrete fence." (Jonathan Meades)

"A compelling and evocative read, one that is meticulously researched, and filled with insight and passion. Through Barnabas Calder’s personal narrative we gain a deep understanding and appreciation of a tough subject." (Kate Goodwin, Head of Architecture, Royal Academy of Arts)

"A fascinating odyssey through Britain's Brutalist landscape. The journey is sometimes breathtaking, but always insightful and informed. By its end, we understand the complexity, skill, and vision, as well as the politics, that created the buildings he explores in such loving detail." (Elizabeth Darling, author of Re-Forming Britain)

"Barnabas Calder is a self-outed lover of concrete, a man who doesn’t visit buildings but makes “pilgrimages”. He holds back on neither his praise for the objects of his passion, nor his wrath against those who threaten them. Buy this excellent book, read it and go out and hug your nearest lofty edifice in concrete and glass!" (Neil Baxter, The Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland)

"This engrossing book by a fellow self-confessed concrete lover is both a witty travelogue and memoir and the clear-sighted history of Brutalist buildings. Barnabas Calder relishes the craftsmanship, the financial back stories, and the aims and ambitions of a diverse generation of architects, whose works deserve our sympathy." (Catherine Croft, Director, Twentieth Century Society)

"This celebration of all things concrete will please both its aficionados and those who find it hard to love … Calder’s distinctive approach is a combination of scholarliness with personal association … An engaging and accessible guide for those drawn towards these ex-monstrosities." (Observer)

"It’s not a history book … It’s chatty, anecdotal and thoroughly entertaining … My advice? Read the book, load up your mobile with some rock ‘n’ roll and Calder’s online photos, and go hug some concrete." (Times Higher Education)

"Calder provides the ideal eye-opening introduction for the curious general reader. It deserves a large audience … This is a charmingly personal book, authoritatively knowledgeable and spikily argumentative." (Literary Review)

"Calder wants to make an argument about the greatness of Brutalism as an architectural style. He writes beautifully." (Owen Hatherley London Review of Books)

"Eclectic and readable." (Rowan Moore Observer 'Architecture Books of the Year')

"Impressively well-written... Calder writes with the opinionated self-assurance of the young Ruskin. Compelling reading... thrilling... excellent." (Adrian Forty RIBA Journal)

"This is a strongly-argued and at times refreshingly polemical book, one guaranteed to change your opinion of an ambitious and much-maligned architectural style that, like it or not, has had a profound effect on our built environment." (The National)

"Calder’s book is the very antithesis of the recent glut of coffee-table-style, #brutalism, which focus primarily on appearance. By adopting a personal perspective, he humanises what is often demonised as an alienating material." (Blueprint Magazine)

"An excellent – and highly readable – guide … If you’re interested in Brutalism as architecture and construction practice, if you’re interested in its meaning and its context, buy this book." (Municipal Dreams)

"Barnabas Calder brings us tales of the unexpected and breathes life into what some night call one of the unloveliest of building materials … illuminating and spirited." (Monocle)

"He writes beautifully." (London Review of Books)

Book Description

A unique guide to architecture, and a radical, personal and entertaining appraisal of eight of Britain's most controversial buildings

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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
A very engaging read whether you are already well-versed in 1960s-70s architecture or are seeking an introduction to it. It doesn't seek to give readers chapter and verse on Brutalism, but instead gives a personal account of how Calder fell in love with imaginative power of the buildings. He takes a strong stance arguing that Brutalism was "the high point of architecture". As such it is a personalised narrative which features an individual selection of buildings Calder knows well. Nonetheless this is an account informed by years of academic study, worn impressively lightly, and thus includes references to sources for further reading. This makes it accessible to any student new to Brutalism wanting to get to grips with it.

The book includes black and white images. Calder has provided QR code links to web-based high-resolution colour versions - viewing these allows the reader to undertake a kind of virtual tour of their own. (There's also a web address if you're not into QR codes.)
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Format: Hardcover
Rarely does one find a book that is meticulously researched, written with passion, and an absolute delight to read. This is such a book. I especially appreciated Calder's insights into the history of Brutalism, from the micro level of the individual practitioners of the style and the people who lived in or worked in the buildings, to the macro level of the society and the politics that shaped the space in which Brutalism flourished. This book is essential reading for anyone who is affected by Brutalism now: by the struggle to save loved Brutalist buildings from the mindless forces that would have them demolished. These buildings are full of spirit, and they now need spirited defenders, armed with the kind of knowledge and understanding found in Calder's book.
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Format: Hardcover
This book was a pure pleasure to read. As an architect I have naturally read many architectural works, but this book is quite unique in being a terrific balance of accessible and informative knowledge sharing, political commentary on the periods of architecture discussed, technical descriptions of both the raw materials and the techniques of how the finished product is formed and impassioned responses to the buildings and spaces featured. I discovered new buildings in this work and also learned many facts about the buildings I already know and love. The link to the image galleries is also a very welcome feature and one which I expect we will see used a lot more in the future.

A true multi-depth work and a massively entertaining read. Thank you Barnabas for a thoroughly welcome addition to my bookcase.

James Galpin (@jimjam_arch)
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
A superb read. Calder articulates what it is to be Brutal, its origins and and its impact, in as an engaging, interesting and compelling way as I've ever encountered. Splendid.
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Format: Hardcover
Thoroughly engaging and full of expert detail, while being very readable and accessible to a non-specialist audience as well.
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