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The 17 Most Beautiful Brutalist Buildings in the World

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When it comes to easy-to-spot styles, brutalist architecture is one of the few that come to mind. After all, it’s simple in both appearance and composition: block-like concrete structures that are often stacked atop one another. But there’s something unique about brutalism that its more traditional counterparts lack. There’s an element of futurism that makes looking away from a typical brutalist monolithic structure quite difficult. Principal of her eponymous firm, AD100 architect Elizabeth Roberts would agree when it comes to the unexpected attraction to brutalism. “My first real encounter with brutalist architecture was during my years as an undergraduate studying architecture at UC Berkeley’s College of Environmental Design in Bauer Wurster Hall,” Roberts explains. “The building is an unadorned concrete structure and was designed by the then dean, William Wurster.” 

The circa 1964 building is not famous for its look, to say the least. In fact, Roberts admits that some consider it one of the university’s least attractive structures, “but to many of us—including myself—the building and its intentional lack of decoration, and honesty in form and materials seems the perfectly neutral environment to learn all there is to know about architecture,” she continues. 

That’s the thing about brutalism: It’s not beloved the way Baroque or midcentury modernism is, but there is such an obvious beauty in its rigid geometry and unquestioning simplicity. Below, AD surveys 17 of the most beautiful brutalist buildings from around the globe.

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