Docomomo DC hosted Rediscovering Brutalism: Understanding D.C.'s Concrete Architecture, a lecture and tour highlighting the unique brutalist architectural heritage of Washington, D.C., as part of this year’s annual, nationwide Docomomo Tour Day 2017.
Brutalism is an architectural style everyone loves to hate, but it marks an important period both in the history of design and in the architectural legacy of Washington, D.C. The recent loss of significant brutalist buildings in the city, including Araldo Cossutta’s Third Church of Christ, Scientist, confirms that now is the time to reevaluate and celebrate this architecture. The lecture and tour explored local iterations of brutalist architecture to underscore their significance to Washington’s urban development in the 1960s and 1970s and to argue for their historic preservation.
Rediscovering Brutalism began with a lecture by architectural historian Michael Kubo on the evolution of brutalist design and its development within Washington, D.C. Kubo is an assistant professor of architectural history and theory at the University of Houston and co-author of Heroic: Concrete Architecture and the New Boston, a history and analysis of Boston’s brutalist architecture, and the new Brutalist Boston Map. The lecture took place in the boardroom of the AIA National Headquarters, a classic example of D.C. brutalism that was designed by The Architectural Collective (TAC) and opened in 1973.
Walking and Metro tours led by Christy Schlesinger and Deane Madsen (founder of Brutalist DC) highlighting notable examples of brutalism from downtown Washington to Dupont Circle followed the lecture.
Many thanks to Docomomo DC's generous sponsors and partners.
Quinn Evans Architects
Simpson Gumpertz & Heger
Grunley Construction Company
Beyer Blinder Belle
Association for Preservation Technology, Washington, D.C. Chapter (APT DC)
Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA)
DC Preservation League