September 18th, 2019.
Brutalist Architecture is a movement that is defined by concrete. Since the 1980’s, Neometro has embraced the style in Melbourne, harnessing form concrete as a signature element of their residential developments.
Emerging in the mid-20th century, Brutalist Architecture is thought to be a direct aesthetic response to its preceding styles that heralded excess and highly decorative elements. However, in a post-war 1950’s world, the general spirit was to eschew classical abundance and instead, to support the massive urban redevelopment that was required while acknowledging a general rejection of all that was deemed hedonistic, embrace architecture that held raw, civic appeal.
The functional, muscular style of architecture swept across the globe and its influence reached Australia and began to seep into our emerging architectural language in the 1970’s. Neometro, in its infancy in the early 1980’s, readily embraced the concrete footprint of the style and began a legacy of brutalist beauties in the form of medium density residential development.
49 Wilson Street, South Yarra by Neometro.
The fascination with the stark, rigid aesthetic of form concrete in the context of residential development lies partially in the pleasing cleanliness of the lines, and the sense of blank canvas that renders a building with an anticipation for the inhabitant that will make their mark upon it. The juxtaposition that happens when stepping into the interior of a home with a facade that could harbour any or all measure of style, is both clever and exciting.
Though polarising to an extent, the brutalist inspired built environment has proven to have settled into the Melbourne streetscape beautifully. As technology improves and design freedom becomes more marked, the use of concrete is beginning to take on a form of narrative and expression that was previously absent. Although still decidedly civic and institutional in nature, a new respect and admiration for the breadth of the material is becoming apparent.
91 Wellington Street, St Kilda by Neometro
The beauty that results from pairing the imposing materiality of concrete with natural foliage introduces an astounding softness that, along with the form opportunities, structural appeal, and raw aesthetic simplicity, indicate that the last half century of brutalist architecture is evolving into a whole new urban discipline.
Neometro’s Darling Extension. Image by Derek Swalwell.
Written by Tiffany Jade.