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Brutal Boston

What is Brutalism?

Brutalism is an architectural style that flourished worldwide in the 1960s and early 1970s. The word itself comes from the French word 'beton brut', which translates to raw concrete. Brutalism is characterized by hulking slabs of unpainted concrete. The structures are imposing, bulky, and fortress-like in nature with large walls and few windows

Prominence of Brutalism in the Boston area

As Brutalism gained popularity around the world, the architectural style found a foothold in the Boston area. Boston was considered an old city with meandering slums and blight. With an interest in modernizing the city, the Boston Redevelopment Authority reclaimed neighberhoods in a controversial urban renewal project during the 1950s and 1960s. This redevelopment leveled the West End and Scollay Square, leaving behind large swaths of pristine pavement to build upon. Builders swarmed on the opportunity of a lifetime. Numerous large concrete structures were erected in an effort to modernize the city. The rush to build left Bostonians with many brutalist structures that represent a thought-provoking time in architectural history and very few structures have been built in the style since.

Brutalist structures in Boston
Name Address Construction
Boston City Hall 1 City Hall Square 1963-1968
Charles F. Hurley Building 19 Staniford St 1966-1971
Government Center Garage 50 Sudbury St 1960s