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What's Your Opinion of Brutalist Architecture?

For discussion and debate about anything. (Not a roleplay related forum; out-of-character commentary only.)

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Senkaku
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Postby Senkaku » Tue Jan 24, 2023 7:32 pm

Forsher wrote:
Senkaku wrote:You might call Notre Dame or the Colosseum or the Pyramids or Chichen Itza “dreary totalitarian structures” while you’re at it— imposing state-supported monuments, let’s just get rid of them! Don’t you think there might be a reason why humans have a drive to come together to create monumental structures, and valid reasons for enjoying them beyond reveling in the oppression of the masses? I suppose joyful proletarian architecture will consist purely of modest suburban homes and low-rise offices, but done communistly— what, 15-30% more murals on back alley walls?


It seems I owe Ifreann an apology... his interpretation of the word "totalitarian" is not as absolutely insane and disconnected from how everyone else understands it as I believed. Oh well. You live and learn.

The Colosseum is literally a vast masonry & concrete structure built by an absolutist military autocracy for the purpose of slaughtering humans and animals en masse as public spectacle and entertainment. If it’s a treasured masterpiece of classical architecture that we should be thankful was preserved from being completely quarried, but the Boston City Hall is “dreary totalitarianism” given form, then I think we can maybe admit that brutalism’s harshest and broadest critics have verged slightly into hyperbole.
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Postby El Lazaro » Tue Jan 24, 2023 7:36 pm

Senkaku wrote:
Forsher wrote:
It seems I owe Ifreann an apology... his interpretation of the word "totalitarian" is not as absolutely insane and disconnected from how everyone else understands it as I believed. Oh well. You live and learn.

The Colosseum is literally a vast masonry & concrete structure built by an absolutist military autocracy for the purpose of slaughtering humans and animals en masse as public spectacle and entertainment. If it’s a treasured masterpiece of classical architecture that we should be thankful was preserved from being completely quarried, but the Boston City Hall is “dreary totalitarianism” given form, then I think we can maybe admit that brutalism’s harshest and broadest critics have verged slightly into hyperbole.

TIL fingerprinted heroic realist art is a gajillion times less totalitarian than anything drawn with a paintbrush made in a Chinese sweatshop.

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Postby United Engiresco » Tue Jan 24, 2023 7:46 pm

Six words: The United Kingdom in the 1950s.

I hate the utter disgusting look of it. It's "modern", but God is it ugly. I'd rather have Neogothic architecture. At least it looks nice.
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Postby Forsher » Tue Jan 24, 2023 7:49 pm

Senkaku wrote:
Forsher wrote:
It seems I owe Ifreann an apology... his interpretation of the word "totalitarian" is not as absolutely insane and disconnected from how everyone else understands it as I believed. Oh well. You live and learn.

The Colosseum is literally a vast masonry & concrete structure built by an absolutist military autocracy for the purpose of slaughtering humans and animals en masse as public spectacle and entertainment. If it’s a treasured masterpiece of classical architecture that we should be thankful was preserved from being completely quarried, but the Boston City Hall is “dreary totalitarianism” given form, then I think we can maybe admit that brutalism’s harshest and broadest critics have verged slightly into hyperbole.


Totalitarianism didn't exist until the 20th Century. It couldn't exist until the 20th Century.

Now, should the Colosseum evoke absolutism? dictatorship? tyranny? oppression? execution? savagery? Maybe. But it should not evoke totalitarianism. It's neither associated with a totalitarian regime nor does it look like totalitarianism made concrete. If there's some other way of identifying architecture with totalitarianism except by those two means, I don't see it.
Last edited by Forsher on Tue Jan 24, 2023 7:49 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Kerwa
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Postby Kerwa » Tue Jan 24, 2023 7:56 pm

I think many people overlook the possibility that at the time period they were going up many of these buildings reminded former conscripts of pill boxes and other fixed defenses. And even if not that, then industrial coal bunkers at steel mills and yards, or pithead baths and such.

Surely that’s more than reason enough to object to the aesthetics for some and has nothing to do with fascism.

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Senkaku
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Postby Senkaku » Tue Jan 24, 2023 7:59 pm

Forsher wrote:
Senkaku wrote:The Colosseum is literally a vast masonry & concrete structure built by an absolutist military autocracy for the purpose of slaughtering humans and animals en masse as public spectacle and entertainment. If it’s a treasured masterpiece of classical architecture that we should be thankful was preserved from being completely quarried, but the Boston City Hall is “dreary totalitarianism” given form, then I think we can maybe admit that brutalism’s harshest and broadest critics have verged slightly into hyperbole.


Totalitarianism didn't exist until the 20th Century. It couldn't exist until the 20th Century.

Now, should the Colosseum evoke absolutism? dictatorship? tyranny? oppression? execution? savagery? Maybe. But it should not evoke totalitarianism. It's neither associated with a totalitarian regime nor does it look like totalitarianism made concrete. If there's some other way of identifying architecture with totalitarianism except by those two means, I don't see it.

Do you make the distinction when you look at a building? Does Tempelhof evoke only totalitarianism, but not absolutism, tyranny, oppression, or savagery? If you looked at the School of International & Public Affairs in New York, does it evoke dreary totalitarianism to you, but not oppression and dictatorship, even situated within and built as a monument for the capital city of both of liberal democracy and the atrocities of American empire? Did the Colosseum at its height not aesthetically suggest the same vast institutional power as any modernist or brutalist monument? (Can you even make the distinction between the two styles?)
Last edited by Senkaku on Tue Jan 24, 2023 8:01 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Senkaku
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Postby Senkaku » Tue Jan 24, 2023 8:03 pm

Kerwa wrote:I think many people overlook the possibility that at the time period they were going up many of these buildings reminded former conscripts of pill boxes and other fixed defenses. And even if not that, then industrial coal bunkers at steel mills and yards, or pithead baths and such.

Surely that’s more than reason enough to object to the aesthetics for some and has nothing to do with fascism.

Fortifications have always been decorated and celebrated for monumental and aesthetic reasons, you might as well say we should deface the Alhambra if that’s your line of argument.
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Forsher
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Postby Forsher » Tue Jan 24, 2023 8:08 pm

Senkaku wrote:
Forsher wrote:
Totalitarianism didn't exist until the 20th Century. It couldn't exist until the 20th Century.

Now, should the Colosseum evoke absolutism? dictatorship? tyranny? oppression? execution? savagery? Maybe. But it should not evoke totalitarianism. It's neither associated with a totalitarian regime nor does it look like totalitarianism made concrete. If there's some other way of identifying architecture with totalitarianism except by those two means, I don't see it.

Do you make the distinction when you look at a building?


What distinction? Distinguish between what?

Does Tempelhof evoke only totalitarianism, but not absolutism, tyranny, oppression, or savagery? If you looked at the School of International & Public Affairs in New York, does it evoke dreary totalitarianism to you, but not oppression and dictatorship, even situated within and built as a monument for the capital city of both of liberal democracy and the atrocities of American empire? Did the Colosseum at its height not aesthetically suggest the same vast institutional power as any modernist or brutalist monument? (Can you even make the distinction between the two styles?)


Why on earth would it matter that [building] evokes a set of things? How is that at all relevant to anything?
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Senkaku
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Postby Senkaku » Tue Jan 24, 2023 8:13 pm

Forsher wrote:
Senkaku wrote:Do you make the distinction when you look at a building?


What distinction? Distinguish between what?

You JUST introduced it! Lmfao

Does Tempelhof evoke only totalitarianism, but not absolutism, tyranny, oppression, or savagery? If you looked at the School of International & Public Affairs in New York, does it evoke dreary totalitarianism to you, but not oppression and dictatorship, even situated within and built as a monument for the capital city of both of liberal democracy and the atrocities of American empire? Did the Colosseum at its height not aesthetically suggest the same vast institutional power as any modernist or brutalist monument? (Can you even make the distinction between the two styles?)


Why on earth would it matter that [building] evokes a set of things? How is that at all relevant to anything?

You’re literally arguing that the Colosseum should evoke a set of things that excludes totalitarianism because of its political historical context, and that this therefore permits a unique criticism of brutalism as giving form to a uniquely modern totalitarian aesthetic. I’m saying people don’t distinguish between the evocation of totalitarianism in the modern sense and oppressive or imperial scale in the timeless sense when looking at a monument or large structure. We can write about the distinction, and it might be useful to consider historically, but it isn’t something that springs to mind when you’re actually experiencing a space.
Last edited by Senkaku on Tue Jan 24, 2023 8:22 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Postby Washington-Columbia » Tue Jan 24, 2023 8:16 pm

To me, It looks more of bleak, boring and ugly to me if done badly. You could do Brutalist Architecture decently, but for the most part, it seems plain & charmless, to my view.
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Postby Umeria » Tue Jan 24, 2023 8:16 pm

The United Penguin Commonwealth wrote:
Umeria wrote:That's not what I said

you implied that hostile architecture is brutalist as part of your overall argument that brutalism is bad. what else were you trying to say?

The exact opposite?? Look at the post I was responding to. My whole point is that you shouldn't judge a style or people who like the style just because it was used for bad things. I have never argued that "brutalism is bad".

Senkaku wrote:
Umeria wrote:Obviously a lack of benches isn't architechture at all. Talking about the rows of metal spikes under highways and stuff.

How is that architecture either, if bench placement in large designed spaces isn’t, and how would it be “brutalist” if you consider it as such?? Are the anti-pigeon spike strips on apartment windowsills “brutalism”? Jesus fucking Christ lol

Cmon man, you know what I meant.
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Senkaku
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Postby Senkaku » Tue Jan 24, 2023 8:19 pm

Umeria wrote:
Senkaku wrote:How is that architecture either, if bench placement in large designed spaces isn’t, and how would it be “brutalist” if you consider it as such?? Are the anti-pigeon spike strips on apartment windowsills “brutalism”? Jesus fucking Christ lol

Cmon man, you know what I meant.

I literally fucking don’t. You’re nonsensically labeling hostile architecture and interior design, or just stuff you don’t like, as “brutalist” without a shred of aesthetic, architectural, or historical justification. It’s complete gibberish and you wouldn’t make such a pathetic reply if you didn’t know it on some level too.

Washington-Columbia wrote:To me, It looks more of bleak, boring and ugly to me if done badly. You could do Brutalist Architecture decently, but for the most part, it seems plain & charmless, to my view.

Plain and charmless as opposed to what?
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Kerwa
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Postby Kerwa » Tue Jan 24, 2023 8:27 pm

Senkaku wrote:
Kerwa wrote:I think many people overlook the possibility that at the time period they were going up many of these buildings reminded former conscripts of pill boxes and other fixed defenses. And even if not that, then industrial coal bunkers at steel mills and yards, or pithead baths and such.

Surely that’s more than reason enough to object to the aesthetics for some and has nothing to do with fascism.

Fortifications have always been decorated and celebrated for monumental and aesthetic reasons, you might as well say we should deface the Alhambra if that’s your line of argument.


The Alhambra was a fortified palace, not the Siegfried line. And it certainly wasn’t a coal bunker.

I suppose expecting anyone to empathize with the people who had to use those shitty bus stations or live in the crappy blocks of flats is too much.

Edit: I imagine castles wouldn’t look so good to conscripts that had spent years besieging them either.
Last edited by Kerwa on Tue Jan 24, 2023 8:33 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Umeria
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Postby Umeria » Tue Jan 24, 2023 8:28 pm

Senkaku wrote:
Umeria wrote:Cmon man, you know what I meant.

I literally fucking don’t. You’re nonsensically labeling hostile architecture and interior design, or just stuff you don’t like, as “brutalist” without a shred of aesthetic, architectural, or historical justification. It’s complete gibberish and you wouldn’t make such a pathetic reply if you didn’t know it on some level too.

I'm making pathetic replies because I've had a very long day. See above response to Penguin commonwealth. I'm not crusading against brutalism as you seem to believe, my stance on the issue is that I personally find older-style architechture more pleasant to be around but the idea that brutalism is some kind of scourge on society is silly. Which is what I was going to post until I saw folks treating this as some culture war litmus test with as much fervor as the retvrn folks they're mocking.
Last edited by Umeria on Tue Jan 24, 2023 8:29 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Kerwa
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Postby Kerwa » Tue Jan 24, 2023 8:29 pm

Washington-Columbia wrote:To me, It looks more of bleak, boring and ugly to me if done badly. You could do Brutalist Architecture decently, but for the most part, it seems plain & charmless, to my view.


The former Whitney was alright. It got demolished though.

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Senkaku
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Postby Senkaku » Tue Jan 24, 2023 8:32 pm

Kerwa wrote:
Senkaku wrote:Fortifications have always been decorated and celebrated for monumental and aesthetic reasons, you might as well say we should deface the Alhambra if that’s your line of argument.


The Alhambra was a fortified palace, not the Siegfried line. And it certainly wasn’t a coal bunker.

I suppose expecting anyone to empathize with the people who had to use those shitty bus stations or live in the crappy blocks of flats is too much.

The Alhambra is a massive hilltop fortress that’s faced multiple sieges. I suppose expecting reactionaries to develop a consistent line of cultural critique rather than shifting like chameleons and playing to the crowd is too much. Shall we demolish Carcassonne next, perhaps?

Umeria wrote:
Senkaku wrote:I literally fucking don’t. You’re nonsensically labeling hostile architecture and interior design, or just stuff you don’t like, as “brutalist” without a shred of aesthetic, architectural, or historical justification. It’s complete gibberish and you wouldn’t make such a pathetic reply if you didn’t know it on some level too.

I'm making pathetic replies because I've had a very long day. See above response to Penguin commonwealth. I'm not crusading against brutalism as you seem to believe, my stance on the issue is that I personally find older-style architechture more pleasant to be around but the idea that it's some kind of scourge on society is silly. Which is what I was going to post until I saw folks treating this as some culture war litmus test with as much fervor as the retvrn folks they're mocking.

The retvrn folks are the only people turning this into a cultural litmus test, and not standing up to them about it is ridiculous. I‘m hardly saying all non-brutalist architecture should be proscribed; I like some of Hundertwasser’s work! I just don’t see any need to treat reactionaries’ efforts to proscribe all post-19th century culture and art as degenerate and without value as serious aesthetic criticisms. I want to live in cities with architectural and aesthetic diversity, where architects can create beautiful things at scale, and I just happen to think there’s a place for brutalism in such a future.
Last edited by Senkaku on Tue Jan 24, 2023 9:56 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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Postby Galactic Powers » Tue Jan 24, 2023 8:34 pm

Didn't know NS cared so much about architecture lol. I guess it its an excuse to get into economics, it gets talked about.

I really dislike it based on the looks. I appreciate the efficiency and functionality, but when it's so depressing, i'd think its worse off for everyone.
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Postby Forsher » Tue Jan 24, 2023 8:38 pm

Senkaku wrote:
Forsher wrote:
What distinction? Distinguish between what?

You JUST introduced it! Lmfao


WHAT DISTINCTION?

What the fuck are you talking about? What is being distinguished between?

I DO NOT WANT TO REPEAT THIS QUESTION AGAIN. I have no fucking clue what you are saying. Not a fucking jot.

You’re literally arguing that the Colosseum should evoke a set of things that excludes totalitarianism because of its political historical context, and that this therefore permits a unique criticism of brutalism as giving form to a uniquely modern totalitarian aesthetic.


No, it allows some buildings to evoke totalitarianism. It doesn't allow Brutalism to uniquely evoke totalitarianism. Some other architectural style could, too, just not anything pre 1900 because it precludes anything from prior to the 20th Century from evoking totalitarianism.

I’m saying people don’t distinguish between the evocation of totalitarianism in the modern sense and oppressive or imperial scale in the timeless sense when looking at a monument or large structure. We can write about the distinction, and it might be useful to consider historically, but it isn’t something that springs to mind when you’re actually experiencing a space.


Is this your fucking distinction? Distinguishing between things that aren't the same and have no reason to be imagined as the same?

People don't think Brutalism = totalitarianism because they're analysing all the individual concepts it does evoke and doing something "well, this makes think of tyranny, oppression, savagery, control etc and all those things make me think totalitarianism". They're looking at a Brutalist structure and gong "well, this makes me think of totalitarianism, oppression, control, tyranny etc". Totalitarianism is not a second order concept but a first order concept, same as "savagery" or "tyranny".

This is clearly rooted in your weird (if shared with Ifreann) understanding of totalitarianism. For you, there is nothing specific about totalitarianism, but most people have very specific ideas about totalitarianism and those ideas quite simply are radically different to how they imagine "imperial" in the sense of even people like Nero or Napoleon. You and Ifreann have a concept of totalitarianism which is incredibly broad and is capable of embracing Nero and Napoleon.
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Postby Forsher » Tue Jan 24, 2023 8:41 pm

Senkaku wrote:The retvrn folks are the only people turning this into a cultural litmus test, and not standing up to them about it is ridiculous.


How is Nilokeras not making Brutalism a litmus test?

Nilokeras wrote:Hating brutalism is usually a good litmus test for having bad opinions about architecture and public spaces, particularly since brutalist public architecture was one of the last movements to actually incorporate any public amenities in the spaces they built. Complaints about its ugliness are usually followed by mushy outpourings about some neoclassical pile built by a guy who hated Jews and bulldozed a minority neighbourhood to build their thing of choice.

Also 'brutalism' is not about being brutal in the sense of being purposefully ugly or offensive, it's merely a translation of the french word for 'raw' - ie the unadorned concrete used in brutalist construction.


He's literally used the expression "litmus test"?

Or are you saying Nilokeras is part of the alt right?
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Postby Kerwa » Tue Jan 24, 2023 8:42 pm

Senkaku wrote:The Alhambra is a massive hilltop fortress that’s faced multiple sieges. I suppose expecting reactionaries to develop a consist line of cultural critique rather than shifting like chameleons and playing to the crowd is too much.


So what. It’s still a palace. You can see the fucking palace. It’s right there.

And “line of cultural critique”. Fuck me. I’m pointing out why people of the time period might not like the aesthetic of raw concrete. Middle class leftists, not even once.

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Postby Kerwa » Tue Jan 24, 2023 8:45 pm

Galactic Powers wrote:Didn't know NS cared so much about architecture lol. I guess it its an excuse to get into economics, it gets talked about.
.


They really don’t. It’s why everyone keeps misusing neoclassical. They’ll probably start talking about Art Deco next.

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Postby Senkaku » Tue Jan 24, 2023 8:48 pm

Forsher wrote:For you, there is nothing specific about totalitarianism, but most people have very specific ideas about totalitarianism and those ideas quite simply are radically different to how they imagine "imperial" in the sense of even people like Nero or Napoleon. You and Ifreann have a concept of totalitarianism which is incredibly broad and is capable of embracing Nero and Napoleon.

I understand that modern totalitarianism is distinct from the autocracies of antiquity or early modernity; the sole thing I’m trying to explain to you is that standing within the monuments of these politically distinct regime types is an almost identical aesthetic experience. You’re still inside a huge concrete space that was carefully designed to show off the power and prestige of a powerful and brutal regime; the specific political characteristics of that regime are not relevant. Had it been built, the Volkshalle would not have been an experience distinct from walking into St. Peter’s or the Pantheon, it just would’ve been bigger. (And it still wouldn’t have been brutalist!)

Since you seem not to have understood the distinction you introduced here, I’ll quote you back to yourself so you can proofread it.
Forsher wrote:Now, should the Colosseum evoke absolutism? dictatorship? tyranny? oppression? execution? savagery? Maybe. But it should not evoke totalitarianism.

That is a distinction! A set of things that excludes totalitarianism?

Forsher wrote:It's neither associated with a totalitarian regime nor does it look like totalitarianism made concrete.

Have you been inside the Colosseum, or Lenin’s Tomb, or St. Peter’s, or the Great Hall of the People, or One World Trade, or the Pantheon, or SIPA, or the Palais Trocadero? What distinguishes the “look” of totalitarianism made concrete from pre-20th century autocracies’ monumentality? Is it just the association with the regime? I’m asking what people actually feel and see when they’re in these spaces!
Last edited by Senkaku on Tue Jan 24, 2023 9:09 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Senkaku » Tue Jan 24, 2023 8:50 pm

Forsher wrote:
Senkaku wrote:The retvrn folks are the only people turning this into a cultural litmus test, and not standing up to them about it is ridiculous.


How is Nilokeras not making Brutalism a litmus test?

Nilokeras wrote:Hating brutalism is usually a good litmus test for having bad opinions about architecture and public spaces, particularly since brutalist public architecture was one of the last movements to actually incorporate any public amenities in the spaces they built. Complaints about its ugliness are usually followed by mushy outpourings about some neoclassical pile built by a guy who hated Jews and bulldozed a minority neighbourhood to build their thing of choice.

Also 'brutalism' is not about being brutal in the sense of being purposefully ugly or offensive, it's merely a translation of the french word for 'raw' - ie the unadorned concrete used in brutalist construction.


He's literally used the expression "litmus test"?

Or are you saying Nilokeras is part of the alt right?

They’re saying the blanket, unsophisticated hatred of all of brutalism is a good litmus test for reactionary opinions about design & urbanism, which it is, as you and others are continually demonstrating for us. Trad/reactionary types have folded a hatred for all buildings of this style— regardless of their actual aesthetic value— into a broader program of cultural repression. It’s not hard to absorb.
Last edited by Senkaku on Tue Jan 24, 2023 8:51 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Pevaritu » Tue Jan 24, 2023 8:51 pm

Brutalism heavily reminds me of dictatorships or totalitarianism.
I can imagine that Orwell book 1984 coming to life just from seeing brutalist architecture.

Concrete. Not much windows? Overimposing. Aged much.
Pretty much how I would describe concisely.

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Postby Forsher » Tue Jan 24, 2023 8:53 pm

Senkaku wrote:
Forsher wrote:
How is Nilokeras not making Brutalism a litmus test?



He's literally used the expression "litmus test"?

Or are you saying Nilokeras is part of the alt right?

They’re saying the blanket, unsophisticated hatred of all of brutalism is a good litmus test for reactionary opinions about design & urbanism, which it is, as you and others are continually demonstrating for us. Trad/reactionary types have folded a hatred for all buildings of this style— regardless of their actual aesthetic value— into a broader program of cultural repression. It’s not hard to absorb.


Once again, you have no fucking idea what I think about Brutalism and clearly haven't bothered to look it up; I'm beginning to get the impression you're never going to, no matter how many times your complete ignorance is pointed out to you.

But, good, you've demonstrated that Nilokeras is using Brutalism as a litmus test and that you don't think Nilokera is a retvrner.
Last edited by Forsher on Tue Jan 24, 2023 8:53 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Stop making shit up, though. Links, or it's a God-damn lie and you know it.

The normie life is heteronormie

We won't know until 2053 when it'll be really obvious what he should've done. [...] We have no option but to guess.

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