Béton brut (French pronunciation: [betɔ̃ bʁy) is a term used to describe a type of concrete casting in which the raw material is left unfinished. The surface may often show signs of formwork.

 

The Architectural movement of The 'New Brutalism' is said to find its origins here. 

 

 

Kimberley Jane Harris

Architect, Documentary Photographer

BSc Hons, MArch, DipArch, RIBA

 

1945 onwards, Britain saw what has been frequently referred to as a 'Golden age' in Architecture and Planning. The blitz had left most major cities in need of re-building; London, Plymouth, Coventry to name a few. Architects turned to advancements in prefabrication and system building developed during the war. 

 

‘The Housing Act, 1930’ (Greenwood Act) enabled councils to borrow funds for the clearance of Victorian slum housing. Councils became landlords in the truest sense, using capital from rent to feed further development projects. There was a strong belief held by Politicians, Architects and Urban Designers alike, that the health and happiness of the nation were dependent on the provision of good quality housing.

 

Council housing in the 1960s was highly desirable, due to the implementation of new Architectural thinking. Housing quality standards drastically improved through government research committees such as Parker Morris, who aided in the formulation of 1960’s housing standards such as- ‘Space in the Home’. 

 

The late fifties and early sixties were dominated by ‘high rise’ and ‘system building’, but towards the end of the 1970’s, the Golden Age came to an abrupt end. ‘The Housing Act, 1980’ gave tenants the ‘Right to Buy’ their own homes. The issue of council budget shortfalls (given the loss of rent) or the level of remaining council homes for allocation to those in need, was something that the Thatcher’s manifesto never sought to explore. 

 

Today we find ourselves in a position where local authorities struggle to provide homes given budget cuts and a lack of overall resourcing. Long gone are the days of City Architecture departments. Reliance on third parties to build affordable housing leaves many local authorities open to exploitation. 

The Welsh School of Architecture

(2003-10) | Architecture

Ffotogallery Wales

(2017- Current) | Photography

Southbank Magazine

(Spring/ Summer 2018) | Photography

Events

'Concrete Capital' at the London Festival of Architecture

(2018) | Photography

 

 

Want to use an image in an exhibition or publication? Please contact info@betonbrut.london

 

 

Memberships

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