Photo: Seth Tisue (CC BY-SA 2.0)



#SOSBrutalism is a growing database that currently contains over 1,900 Brutalist buildings. But, more importantly, it is a platform for a large campaign to save our beloved concrete monsters. The buildings in the database marked red are in particular jeopardy. This is an unprecedented initiative: #SOSBrutalism is open to everyone who wants to join the campaign to save Brutalist buildings! It is a powerful tool that allows fans of Brutalism to communicate with one another across Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr etc. You can follow our social media feeds below.

…what characterises the New Brutalism…is precisely its brutality, its je-m’en-foutisme, its bloody-mindedness.
Reyner Banham, 1955

#SOSBrutalism has also led into an exhibition which has been jointly organized by the Deutsches Architekturmuseum (DAM) and the Wüstenrot Stiftung. It was on display at the DAM, Frankfurt am Main, Germany, from November 9, 2017 until April 2, 2018. With 47,000 visitors it was a great success, including a wide press coverage in print, radio and German prime time TV news.
“SOS Brutalism – Save the Concrete Monsters!” is currently travelling. The first venue was Vienna with a new chapter on Austrian Brutalism: Architekturzentrum (Az W), May 3 until August 6, 2018. Stay tuned for future updates.

From the Hunstanton School to Concrete Monsters

What exactly is Brutalism anyway? The term was coined in the 1950s by a young generation of architects and architecture critics in Great Britain who used the expression “New Brutalism” to distance themselves from the dreariness of post-war architecture. Architecture critic Reyner Banham described the Hunstanton School by Alison and Peter Smithson (and their unrealized Soho House) as “points of architectural reference by which the New Brutalism in architecture may be defined” and names three characteristics: “1, Memorability as an image; 2, Clear exhibition of structure; and 3, Valuation of materials 'as found'. ”

Project 1
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A good ten years later at the suggestion of German architecture critic Jürgen Joedicke, Banham wrote the book “The New Brutalism: Ethic or Aesthetic?”. We have marked all the buildings, which feature in it with the hashtag #Banham1966. Banham noted with concern that the “The Johnsons, Johansens and Rudolphs of the American scene” had separated European Brutalism from its ethical roots. Ethics became aesthetics. Which buildings would Banham have dealt with if his book had appeared ten years later? The triumphal march of the #ConcreteMonster had only just begun.

So is every concrete building realized from around 1960 automatically “Brutalist”? How else, after all, would we describe buildings like the Kyoto International Conference Center? In making the selection for this website we have opted for a broad definition and also included many of the #Forerunners, which were built before 1955. We have also added several classics including buildings by Le Corbusier and Louis Kahn, where you are tempted to wonder why they have not long since been classified as Brutalist. Our definition: Brutalist buildings are not always made of concrete. But they are always “rhetorical” in that they blatantly place the focus on their material or sculptural form.

There are still many gaps in this database. We are working on filling them and would welcome assistance in the form of short texts, information about red projects or images showing the current state of buildings. We are especially grateful to all those photographers, who have made their images available to us free of charge. We would also like to thank the team at uncube, the digital magazine for architecture and beyond.

Project 1
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What happens next?

This database serves as the starting point for a campaign to save Brutalist buildings with a hashtag: #SOSBrutalism. If you tag a building #SOSBrutalism on social media it will be brought to our attention and we'll check it for inclusion in our database. Of course, you can also contact us directly as well.

The project wouldn't have been possible without a lot of help from around the world. We would like to thank in particular Guiding Architects, DOCOMOMO InternationalSoviet Modernism Database by AzW (Vienna), World Monuments Fund, Michael Abrahamson (fuckyeahbrutalism), Shawn Hazen (Chicago Brutalism), This Brutal House, German Post-War Modern, ICONIC HOUSES and Klaas Vermaas, as well as the many people, who contacted us with additional information and images for their support.

SOS Brutalism — A Global Survey

The first-ever global survey of Brutalist architecture from the 1950s to the 1970s

Edited by Oliver Elser, Philip Kurz, Peter Cachola Schmal
Hardback with paperback supplement
approx. 716 pages in total, 1,200 illustrations
German / English versions
Graphic design: Rahlwes.Pietz

Out in November 2017 at Park Books

Some 100 contributors document 120 key buildings from this period, including many previously unpublished discoveries that are in acute danger of loss through neglect of intended demolition. Moreover, the book features overviews of Brutalism in architecture in twelve regions around the world. Case studies of hotspots such as the Macedonian capital Skopje or New Haven, Connecticut, and essays on the history and theory of Brutalism round out this lavishly illustrated book. The supplement collects papers of an international symposium on Brutalism in architecture held in Berlin in 2012.

SOSBrutalism Books

SOS Brutalism
Save the Concrete Monsters!

November 9, 2017 — April 2, 2018
Deutsches Architekturmuseum
Frankfurt am Main, Germany

At the DAM, Brutalism was reexamined with large-scale cardboard models and cast concrete miniatures.





    Call to Action

    Anyone who wishes to contribute images, information or texts to this website is welcome to do so. We are particularly interested in information regarding "red" projects since these buildings are greatly endangered!


    You can use the hashtag #SOSBrutalism when you wish to mark a building that you feel is in danger, we will then refer it to the red list. These will then appear on the homepage as well as across our social media feeds.



    With a database of this size, there are various intricacies in categorization and classification. The glossary gives a brief overview of the fundamental considerations and helps provide answers to the most frequently asked questions.

    Annual figures We try to provide start and end dates for each project. Where start dates are concerned, we differentiate between design and the start of construction. The chronological list is based on the start year (where known). The reason behind this is that in chronology, our prime consideration is establishing where and when ideas surfaced. Here we believe that the start date is more significant than the completion date.

    Heritage listings Laws on protection of monuments differ from country to country. Thus England and Wales differentiate, for example, between buildings assigned a Grade I (buildings of exceptional interest), a Grade II* (particularly important buildings of more than special interest) and a Grade II (buildings that are of special interest, warranting every effort to preserve them). As a rule, we categorize heritage-listed buildings as “saved” (blue). However, we are aware that the heritage status alone is not necessarily sufficient to preserve a building in the long term. Where we identify in individual cases that a project has been neglected or poorly renovated despite its heritage listing, we take this into account in the categorization.

    Hashtags In order to make the database easier to search through and to highlight interesting correlations, each entry also includes key words labelled with hashtags. You can also carry out direct searches based on these key words and display, for example, all #ConcreteMonster projects.
    Some keywords are self-explanatory: #Brick, #BunkerShape, #CastInPlaceConcrete, #ClusterStructure, #ConcreteLandscape, #ConcreteMonster, #EdgeCase, #ExtraSmall, #Highrise, #InfiniteRepetition, #InvertedPyramid, #Iron, #MachineAesthetics, #Megastructure, #Monolith, #PartlyPrivatised, #Plaster, #Precast, #Private, #Public, #Sculptural, #Wood

    Other keywords require a little explanation:

    #Banham1966 As described in the introduction, the book “The New Brutalism: Ethic or Aesthetic?” (1966) by Reyner Banham is the first and the most fundamental publication on the topic of brutalism. For this reason, all the projects that appear in it are marked with this hashtag.

    #FoldedPlate Folded exposed concrete walls were first used by Eugène Freyssinet 1916–1923 for a hangar in Orly. Marcel Breuer advanced the method for St John’s Abbey Church in 1950 and in its wake the concept became popular. In the period that followed, this form of wall was applied in a whole series of hall-like buildings.

    #Forerunner Some projects in the database perhaps don’t look particularly brutalist at first glance. One example is Louis Kahn’s Yale Art Gallery, yet such buildings still represent key works which later brutalist architects referred to time and again. Others, like the Goetheanum (1923–1928), date from much earlier, but could perhaps nevertheless be labelled as a kind of “proto-brutalism” when viewed from a brutalist perspective.

    #HouseWithAFace In some façade geometries, with a little imagination it is even possible to see the features of a human face!

    #LaTouretteType Le Corbusier’s La Tourette Monastery was the foundation for an entire architectural style. The most famous building to echo it is Boston City Hall, which builds on the basic structure to create something monumental, and likewise influenced many subsequent projects. Thus plenty of #LaTouretteType candidates could also be labelled with #BostonCityHallType.

    #Metabolism In Japan, Metabolism is actually an architectural movement of its own. Here buildings are perceived as organisms and designed as supply systems with metabolic analogies. Some buildings could, however, be described as both brutalist and metabolist.

    #MovieSet Buildings that have once served as a film set.

    #Pilotis Another structural element Le Corbusier made popular. The idea of a building being elevated was applied time and again as a stylistic device in brutalism.

    #Stepped Buildings with terraced storeys.

    #TempleType Like the #LaTouretteType, some projects are reminiscent of ancient temples.

    #UnitéType Le Corbusier’s Unité d’Habitation also inspired a series of similar elevated slab-based high-rises.

    For the basic subdivision, we have adopted a system from Emilia Terragni, Helen Thomas (Ed.): 20th-Century World Architecture. The Phaidon Atlas (London 2012):

    #COM Commercial Buildings banks, broadcasting facilities, cinemas, conference centres, exhibition centres, factories, farm facilities, markets, mixed-use, nightclubs, offices, research facilities, restaurants, retail, stock exchanges, wineries

    #CUL Cultural Buildings art galleries, arts centres, community centres, concert halls, cultural centres, exhibition centres, libraries, memorials, museums, theatres

    #EDU Educational Buildings higher education institutes, research facilities, schools, student housing, training facilities, universities

    #GOV Government Buildings cultural centres, embassies, government facilities, government resi

    #PUB Public Buildings fire stations, medical facilities, planetariums, post offices

    #REC Recreational Buildings cinemas, leisure facilities, swimming pools, zoos

    #REL Religious Buildings cathedrals, cemeteries, chapels, churches, crematoria, mixed use, monasteries, mosques, schools, temples

    #RES Residential Buildings mixed use, multiple housing, orphanages, single houses, social housing

    #SPO Sports Buildings gymnasia, stadia

    #TOU Tourism Buildings hotels, tourist attractions

    #TRA Transport Buildings airports, railway stations, toll buildings

    World regions The world regions are subdivided as follows:



    {{key == '1954' ? 'before 1955' : key == '1980' ? '1980 and after' : key}} {{::project.architekten}} {{::project.titel}} {{::project.ort}}, {{::project.staat}},

    Terms of Service

    #SOSBrutalism is a non-commercial project from the Deutsches Architekturmuseum and the Wüstenrot Stiftung.

    Deutsches Architekturmuseum (DAM)
    Schaumainkai 43
    60596 Frankfurt am Main
    Telefon +49 69 212 38844
    Fax +49 69 212 37721
    Wüstenrot Stiftung
    Gemeinschaft der Freunde
    Deutscher Eigenheimverein e.V.
    Hohenzollernstraße 45
    71638 Ludwigsburg
    Telefon +49 7141 167565 00
    Fax +49 7141 167565 15

    Curator: Oliver Elser
    Curatorial Assistant: Felix Torkar

    Technical Implementation
    BauNetz Media GmbH / uncube
    Schlüterstrasse 42
    10707 Berlin
    Phone: +49 30 8826300

    All contet except for images © Deutsches Architekturmuseum, unless otherwise specified.

    Image Rights / Takedown Policy
    All images on this website are subject to the individually stated copyright or creative commons licences. Every effort has been made to trace and contact the copyright holders of the images and to follow the specific rules of the various creative commons licences. If you think that we have used your images incorrectly in any way, please contact us. We will make sure to remove the concerned images immediately.
    oliver.elser@stadt-frankfurt.de / felix.torkar@stadt-frankfurt.de / tiziana.agus@stadt-frankfurt.de

    #SOSBrutalism is a free hashtag used across all social media platforms that should only be to communicate endangered brutalist buildings.

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    #SOSBrutalism does not accept liability for the subject matter of external links. The operators of these sites are solely responsible for their contents.