SOS Brutalism: A Global Survey
Exhibition Catalog Essay, 2017

I was asked by the curators of the exhibition “SOS Brutalism” to concisely summarize the history of Brutalist architecture in the whole of North America as part of a book that compiles examples for every continent. My text emphasizes the political differences between the United States and Canada, as well as the geographical and cultural differences between the east and west coasts, all while introducing  characteristic buildings and the ideas of their architects. In particular, I discuss the ideological importance of individual expression and the contention by some that a totalitarian impulse was evident in modernist architecture. The buildings of Paul Rudolph, Louis Kahn, Arthur Erickson, and other less familiar architects illustrate how this mode of design was understood and propagated from the 1950s to the 1970s, and why it so rapidly declined.

Paul Rudolph’s Earl W. Brydges Public Library, Niagara Falls, New York, 1969-72.