Habitat 67 is built on a peninsula which sits on the edge of the Old Port of Montreal, Canada. When designing the concept for Habitat 67, Moshe Safdie applied one of the truest symbols of stability – the cube – to his basis. Made up of 354 cubes of brilliant greyish beige concrete, Habitat 67 forms 146 residencies almost floating, garishly in the sky. It is this garishness that finitely adds to the character of Habitat 67, also known as Habitat, along with its futuristic interiors, pedestrian streets, suspended terraces, aerial spaces and huge elevator pillars.
Moshe Safdie wanted to offer a “fragment of paradise to everyone”.
YALE Art & Architecture building is one of the best known brutalist structures in America and possibly one of the earliest examples. It sits awkwardly on the corner of a street in New Haven, Connecticut but kind of warms to the surrounding environment with it’s masses of textured concrete and steel-framed windows. It was designed by Paul Rudolph and showed Modern Architecture how to find its way out of the dull design of the late 1950’s.
Huge wharfs of brushed concrete rise above the neighbouring buildings, interjected by heavy slabs crossed with thinner waifs. This complex structure also shaped the interior of the building and as you go round you can see the dramatic scapes and levels which make this building so special. The concrete inside was cast in place and bush-hammered to expose the aggregate – forming pretty cool indentations and lines.
I guess what I love most about this building is its genuine personality, from its wrinkles to its subtle red tones and accents throughout the interior. It isn’t trying to be “something” and it’s honest, just how brutalist buildings should be.
As a brutal-enthusiast-ist when I saw the opportunity to tour Balfron Tower appear on the National Trust website I almost cried cemented tears. Before the grade II listed building – the predecessor to his famous Trellick Tower – designed by Ernö Goldfinger is refurbished, the National Trust have revamped Flat 130 where he lived. Goldfinger lived in the building for 2 months to prove the desirability and practicality of high rise living, which was intended to offer modernity to those trapped in overcrowded ghettos and slums.
This pop-up presents a rare chance for people to see the true identity of a dissonant yet exuberant structure, which has moulded the sky and towered over all for 47 years. The National Trust commissioned the Hemingways to furnish the property to a standard relevant to the 1960s, but it’s the little details that are left, like the door handles and small light switches which really create the atmosphere.
Tickets for the tour cost £12 for adults and £10 for students and last a worthwhile 75 minutes – but be quick it’s only open for two weeks, October 1st until October 12th. Buy them here.