MetroABQ Blog

Albuquerque's Brutalist Architecture

Albuquerque can be Brutalist...

Ever come across an article that really opens your eyes abouta topic? recently published: Why you either love or hate Brutalism--The concrete history of modern architecture's most polarizing style, by Nathan Ma.

If the raw, Brutalism architectural style is something you appreciate, feel disdain for, or you don't know too much about it, the article is a great read.

Evolving in & from the Modernist Movement, Brutalism emerged in the 1950's as a stripped down, rough architectural form, with concrete often the main building component. From the Dwell article: "While Brutalism is often criticized for appearing unfinished, that's part of the appeal."

Brutalism champions the use of raw materials over decorative design; it utilizes exposed materials like concrete, brick, steel & sometimes glass; iteschews circular designs for angular geometric shapes, & the finished work is often raw, unpainted &/or monochromatic.

After reading the article, it was time to discoverBrutalist Architecture in the MetroABQ. Turns out, there is lot of it. I visited 20 Brutalist structures, mostly onthe Main UNM Campus, & Downtown. There are many others that dot the city landscape, possibly found in areas of the city that grew up from the 1950's to the 70's, even in residential neighborhoods, like this Brut-Mod box-on-a-box Tetris Home in Four Hills.

One of my favorite Brutalist structures in Albuquerque lives on the main University of New Mexico Campus. The centrally-located Humanities Building, built in 1974 & seen above, is "composed of abstracted cubic forms." Itis surrounded by a raw brutalist concrete network of raised walkways that encircle the massive building & also encompass two adjoining buildings.The image below is the Humanities Building from the south side, featuring the seemingly unfinished, elevated 2-story striated-concretewalkway.

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