The Axinn Library building was dedicated in 1967 and is an award-winning example of the Brutalist style. Our celebration of Axinn’s 50th anniversary will set the building in its historical, social, and cultural context – generating understanding and appreciation for this iconic but challenging structure.
The "brutalist" label originates from the French word for "raw" in the term used by the architect Le Corbusier to describe his choice of material: béton brut (raw concrete). In 1955, British architectural critic Reyner Banham adapted the term into "brutalism" to identify the emerging style. Peter Chadwick, author of This Brutal World (Phaedon, 2016) offers this:
Often commissioned by governmental, cultural and institutional clients, Brutalist architecture was becoming a popular solution for low cost housing, shopping centres, university campus structures and government buildings. But it wasn't just economic efficiency that concrete construction and Brutalism offered. The architects who favoured it loved the material's 'honesty', the sculptural opportunities, the uncompromising modernity as well as the socially progressive intentions that lay behind the style in a climate of economic decline, political unrest and in Europe, the long decades of post-war reconstruction.
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