This washed-out and otherwise uninteresting shot does give a glimpse into the architectural nightmare that the 20th century was. Modern architecture, like art, needed a theory. It was no longer enough to have a building and some permits, no: your building now needed an ideology. (This differentiates it from today’s architecture, which belongs to the post-modern age. Today’s buildings need a story. And not “Christ died for your sins.” That story makes your building a church.)
Any Enthusiast over a certain age, or who’s been in various East Coast capital cities, will recognize the useless linear twaddle on the walls that signifies a Brutalist building. Like right-angled turds, these urban nasties are sprinkled over the world now; we’re tearing them down, but–I swear to you–conservationist societies have begun to fight to save them.
There’s nothing in this world you could try to get rid of without a group popping up to save it.
“Save the Middletown Shitpile!”
“Lady, it’s a literal pile of shit. Human feces slopped gloppily atop itself.”
“Someone wrote their PhD. thesis about it: it’s got artistic value.”
Besides the fact that modern architecture is just aesthetically displeasing, the guy behind most of it–Le Corbusier–was clearly full of shit in every way. Check out this bullshit right here:
“Extensions of our limbs and adapted to human functions that are type-needs and type-functions, therefore type-objects and type-furniture. The human-limb object is a docile servant. A good servant is discreet and self-effacing in order to leave his master free. Certainly, works of art are tools, beautiful tools. And long live the good taste manifested by choice, subtlety, proportion, and harmony.”
He was talking about a chair. That’s not even good bullshit: bullshit is proportional and you shouldn’t go Condition: Delta over a fucking chair. It cheapens you. Imagine what Le Corbusier would have to say about a table: you’d be there for a week and when you got the table, it would be made of poured concrete.
Concrete is where Brutalism gets its name from, not its rough looks. Breton Brut is raw concrete: ergo, Brutalism. Though, maybe Bretonism would have better situated the movement for success. Perhaps an English-speaker should have had a chat with Le Corbusier.
“Don’t call me that.”
“–you can’t call it Brutalism. It sounds like the English word “brutal” and they’re going to think that’s what it means. It doesn;t help that all your buildings look like jails from fantasy novels.”
“Zoot alors! ‘Ow can I ‘elp the ‘apless Yankee and the ‘elpless Rosbif? They will look up ze knowledge, no?”
“No. They will not.”
“Zis is silly! Merde! I need to zink deeply about a desk zis afternoon: I do not have ze time for zis ratatouille!”
“It just sounds like ‘brutal.” Can’t you think of any other names?”
“That’s not a thing.”
“It is: it means ‘method for living in harmony’ in Tagalog.”
“You don’t know that language; and, no it doesn’t.”
“Fine. Ghostface Killa-ism”
“You’re down with the Wu?”
“Corbusier rules everything around me.”
Shut it down. Too weird.