Construction History: Psychology

People’s emotional reaction to pretty much anything may not be rational. For example, there is a widespread hatred of brutalism that seems to be connected more to the use of exposed rough concrete than to the architectural forms. And the aesthetics of the appearance of concrete are purely subjective.

Rough, cold and politically charged: why do we love to hate concrete?” by Vyta Baselice is an attempt to discuss that kind of emotional reaction. I don’t know if I agree entirely, but her argument makes sense.

The picture above, part of the Carol Highsmith archives, predates brutalism. Its title, in its entirety, reads: “An abandoned building in Concrete City, near Nanticoke, Pennsylvania, an early example of International Style architecture built as company housing in 1911 for select employees of the Delaware, Lackawana and Western Railroad’s coal division in Nanticoke. It was eventually taken over by the Glen Alden Coal Company that, uninterested in paying for required improvements and unable to demolish it due to its robust construction, abandoned the property in 1924.” Concrete endures.

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