CUREJ - College Undergraduate Research Electronic Journal

Demolition Men: Contemporary Britain and the Battle of Brutalism

Susannah L. Grossman, University of Pennsylvania

Division: Humanities; Social Sciences

Dept/Program: Art History

Document Type: Undergraduate Student Research

Mentor(s): David Brownlee

Date of this Version: 17 March 2010

This document has been peer reviewed.



This thesis examines the contentious legacy of brutalist architecture in Britain. Once the lingua franca of post-war architecture in the UK--demonstrating the principles of modernism advocated by high-profile European architects like Le Corbusier as well as socialist ethics--brutalist architecture's legacy in Britain today is both reviled and revered. The paper, by surveying three major buildings that are classified as "brutalist": Alison and Peter Smithson's Hunstanton Secondary Modern School, Erno Goldfinger's Trellick Tower, and Denys Lasdun's National Theatre, intends to demonstrate the enduring importance of brutalist architecture in Britain. By examining the difference between architectural history and architectural heritage, and by evaluating popular and professional criticisms of Brutalism, this thesis ultimately concludes that the preservation of brutalist buildings must be undertaken in order to protect an important chapter in the history of architecture and planning in the United Kingdom.


Architectural History and Criticism | Historic Preservation and Conservation | Modern Art and Architecture | Theory and Criticism | Urban, Community and Regional Planning

Suggested Citation

Grossman, Susannah L., "Demolition Men: Contemporary Britain and the Battle of Brutalism" 17 March 2010. CUREJ: College Undergraduate Research Electronic Journal, University of Pennsylvania,

Date Posted: 18 March 2010

This document has been peer reviewed.




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