The Brutalism Appreciation Society

Artdirection and Design. With: Seb Holl-Trieu. Special Tag: Forever

The Laboratory of Manuel Buerger was delighted to develop and design the communication for the exhibition: „Gesellschaft zur Wertschätzung des Brutalismus / The Brutalism Appreciation Society“ at HMKV, Dortmund. Therefore we approached the dispute of the definitions of Brutalism: The former, rather structural, definition (Banham, 1955) to a mode of aesthetic observation and celebration (The Brutalist Appreciation Society and so on, today)

The New Brutalism by Reyner Banham, 1955:
„The qualities of that object may be summarized as follows:
1, Formal legibility of plan;
2, clear exhibition of structure, and
3, valuation of materials for their inherent qualities ‘as found.’[...]
Here is a building which is uncompromisingly frank about its materials, which is inconceivable apart from its boldly exhibited structural method […]“

> Concept, Structure, Attitude
Source: Architectural Review, Archive.

Brutalist Appreciation Society (on Facebook), 2017:
What to look for in a Brutalist building:
1. Rough unfinished surfaces
2. Unusual shapes
3. Heavy-looking materials
4. Massive forms
5. Small windows in relation to the other parts

> Aestehtical approach
Source: Facebook

„The pleasure of overcoming legal restrictions“
(Arno Brandlhuber/ Christopher Roth, Legislating Architecture, Venice Biennale, 2016)

Arno Brandlhuber’s approach to architecture – „the aspects of legislation as a factor and tool in architecture respectively the production of space“ ( – was an inspiration for (de)constructing the visual image of the exhibition. By exploring the restrictions of the design, the Corporate Identity Guidelines of the umbrella institution „Dortmunder U“* became extremely relevant for the use of space.

This is the starting point to stress out the restrictions. The space (to place your „schickes plakatmotiv“, see on the bottom of this entry) is defined by the size of the „U“-logo. How far can you go? How big/small becomes the space for the design/information to fit in. The layout approach sets the „U“ to its maximum size.
* HMKV (HartwareMedienKunstVerein) is based at Dortmunder U

Corporate Identity Guideline (excerpt) of "Dortmunder U" (umberella institution of HMKV)

Whats the relationship between U-Logo and HMKV-logo and therefore the left space (red) for our information.

Used Tags

The Brutalism Appreciation Society

"The radical architectural style of Brutalism first emerged in Britain in the mid-1950s. Its hallmarks are unrendered concrete walls and exposed building materials such as metal, stone and brick. Today it is gradually disappearing from our city skylines, as the largely unlisted buildings are pulled down. At the same time, supporters of the style have started coming together – particularly online. Among them is the Facebook group “The Brutalism Appreciation Society”, which campaigns to preserve these features of 1950s and 1960s town planning, and now has more than 50,000 members worldwide.
The exhibition The Brutalism Appreciation Society, curated by Inke Arns, showcases 21 works by international artists, responding to the Brutalist architectural style of post-war modernity, as well as selected posts from the eponymous Facebook group."
> Exhibition Text, HMKV

The Ornament/ Visual Key Element:

Symbolizing social interaction with Brutalist buildings, graffiti is simultaneously an indicator of the neglect which many Brutalist buildings fear and at the same time an empty space/wall to fill. Spray-painted visual elements were incorporated into the print as well as into the exhibition design. Therefore the graffiti becomes the aesthetic layer and quite litteraly the metaphor of the fascination of the surface – the contemporary view on Brutalism.

Rozzol Melara,
Trieste, Italy
Built by Carlo Celli (1969-1982) Photos: M.B., 2016