our 8 favourite architectural books about concrete
The best books for your wish list when you’re obsessed with beautifully brutal concrete architecture.
1. concrete by leonard koren and william hall (phaidon press)
Featuring 180 buildings, this mini tome presents a comprehensive, visually driven history of the use of concrete in architecture since the days of ancient Rome.
2. raw concrete: the beauty of brutalism by barnabas calder (william heinemann)
An exploration of the controversial Brutalist movement of the 1960s (and beyond) this book presents both a British-focused history – and an impassioned defence – of this often-maligned style of architecture. Expect to see raw concrete with new eyes after reading this one…
3. this brutal world by peter chadwick (phaidon)
A more global view of the Brutalist movement is provided by this book, which also includes gorgeous black-and-white photographs of many of the buildings mentioned. It features works by contemporary architects as well as 20th-century icons such as Louis Kahn, Marcel Breuer and Le Corbusier.
4. brutal london by simon phipps (september publishing)
Focused – as the title suggests – on Brutalist buildings in London, this is one for real concrete aficionados. Featuring highlights of the city’s post-war buildings, arranged in groups according to the London boroughs in which they are situated, it is beautifully photographed and celebrates a number of buildings that have previously been neglected or ignored.
5. concrete concept: brutalist buildings around the world by christopher beanland (frances lincoln)
This global survey features 50 different ‘Brutalist beasts’ around the world, all built between 1950 and 1970, to reveal the architectural genre at its most distinctive and compelling.
6. the architecture of paul rudolph by timothy m rohan (yale university press)
The first book to be devoted to the work of US architect Paul Rudolph (1918-1977), this title explores his best-known buildings – from Florida houses designed in the 1940s to East Asian structures created in the 1990s – as well as unearthing the ideas that informed them.
7. concrete: pure. strong. surprising by chris van uffelen (braun)
Aiming to cast a light on concrete used in a variety of ways – from minimalist to opulent – this book looks at the range of different uses to which this versatile material can be put. An overview of outstanding contemporary architecture projects is included in order to illustrate its overall point.
8. sacred concrete: the churches of le corbusier by flora samuel and inge linder-gaillard (birkhäuser)
Le Corbusier has long been known as a master of the use of concrete in architecture, but this book is the first comprehensive survey of his religious architecture in particular. The architect designed and built a number of churches and chapels, and was profoundly interested in religion and faith. The authors also examine how his work has influenced church architecture up to the present day.