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What is brutalism and how did it impact our buildings

After the Second World war, and even a bit before that, the world of buildings and architecture was facing a bit of a crisis. The need for functional modern buildings was becoming very important. The use of traditional brick, stone and even wood, was being questioned. The need to create new public offices for councils and to house those that had been displaced by Nazi Bombs was on everyone’s mind. The architects and designers believed that they had the answer. It came in the shape of concrete and a style of building called Brutalism. It’s not a common build type anymore, certainly not for homes and, a Building Contractors Bristol based firm would be surprised if they were asked to do it.

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Brutalism uses reinforced concrete. These are layers of steel grids covered in concrete. After these set, they are then bolted together to create modernist designs. Concrete, being liquid in its present form, can be poured and shaped into moulds and designs that were previously thought of as being impossible now become an option.

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Hailed as a miracle, the attraction soon wore off. The concrete became water stained and unsightly. Rust from the steel grid came through making this worse. Finally, the decaying of the concrete resulted in many buildings becoming unsafe. People came to hate the estates they were living in and the contained nature meant that they became havens for crime. However, this was not always the case and many now call for them to be saved instead of demolished.

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