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May 30, 2009 Brutalist, Preservation

Roger Lewis: ‘The Triumph and Decline of a Truly Brutal Style’

Post columnist Roger K. Lewis, a practicing architect and a professor emeritus of architecture at the University of Maryland, gives some of the history of brutalist architecture and tells preservationists not to worry too much over the Third Church of Christ decision.

“[P]reservationists should not panic,” he writes in today’s column. “This was a special case involving tough issues: private property rights, freedom of worship, economic hardship, a structure difficult to adapt to new uses, and, conversely, the government’s right and duty to advocate for and enforce historic preservation.

Thus the church’s fate is not a harbinger of things to come. The need to act sustainably and create greener architecture will ensure survival of most unloved concrete buildings, preserving the energy and resources already invested in them. And with a creative facade makeover, even the brutal can be made beautiful.”