A Fresh Take on Béton Brut

Carte Brute

Carte Brute

Objects

Objects

Cards & Prints

Carte Brute

Carte Brute

Cards & Prints

Cards & Prints

HEARTBRUT - IT MEANS: BE BOLD AND BRAVE. IT'S ABOUT SHARING CONCRETE LOVE IN A TOUGH WORLD.

Nude concrete – for some it is plain ugly and evil, for others it is pure love, and for some brutalist buildings make the ideal selfie-background. In Switzerland, exposed concrete is so omnipresent, it has become part of the cultural DNA. HEARTBRUT takes a fresh look at this uniquely rich and diverse heritage, connecting its signature clash of raw and refined materiality and optimistic spirit with contemporary discussions beyond architecture.

“Brutalist architecture has cultural resonance and relevance for what is happening today. These buildings are more than bold exclamation marks; they brought social ambition, creativity and courageous optimism to postwar Switzerland. They are about self-confidence, defiance, rebellion and resilience and that is why they connect so strongly to today’s reality, which is often tough and challenging, but also full of innovation and reinvention.”

Karin Bürki, Founder of HEARTBRUT

We want to make it easy to love and share our concrete heritage. With our fresh and inclusive approach, online compendium and print products we want to be your go-to companion to reconnect with this important but still undervalued piece of cultural DNA. Our message is simple: go out and discover the beauty of those concrete icons with your own eyes. We take care of the inspo and info.

Architecture is for people, not architects. It wants to be experienced, it needs to be accessible. Unfortunately, the focus in most of the output is still on architects, the technical, the academic – or the fancy coffee-table book. It isn’t very effective at connecting to new and younger audiences. We focus on you first. You don’t need any prior knowledge to enjoy our content. We use the power of strong visuals and keep our content sharp and sweet. Stick to the intros or dive deeper for the longer reads – it’s up to you. 

Yes, brutalism still polarises opinion. And yes, concrete needs to be more climate-friendly, and we’re just at the beginning of a very long journey here. But polemics don’t help the debate. By shining a light on our brutalist icons, we hope to highlight their cultural value. Why not taking brutalism’s radically forward-looking and innovative spirit as inspiration for a cutting-edge architecture that is more renewable and less polluting? HEARTBRUT hopes to add positively to these conversations.

EXPLAINER

Béton brut is French for raw concrete. The term was popularised by Swiss-French architect Le Corbusier who used it to describe the materiality of his seminal 1952 Unité d’habitation in Marseille. In response, the movement Brutalism emerged via the UK. It championed raw, unfinished materials, bold geometries and massive forms, rewriting the rules of what a building should look like. In Switzerland, brutalist references remain resonant in the pared-down, all-over-rough-design of many contemporary objects.

Switzerland embraced concrete early on. The Swiss school is characterised by a pragmatic approach, attention to detail and a commitment to high-quality craftsmanship. It boasts a rich variety of styles, ranging from stark asceticism and opulent expressiveness to the subtle and poetic.

In postwar Switzerland concrete played an important part in building a new and modern national identity. As the country began to radically modernise during the 1960, a tremendous building boom set in. Concrete, which was affordable and functional, made it possible. The numerous housing projects, schools, civic buildings, cultural centres, churches and essential infrastructure in bold exposed concrete optics bear witness to an optimistic era that looked confidently into the future. The buildings tell of a nation in motion in a time of unprecedented economic prosperity.

Switzerland has never really fallen out of love with béton brut. Nowhere is raw concrete more omnipresent and part of the everyday fabric than here. HEARTBRUT hopes to inspire you to rediscover this important, but still undervalued piece of Swiss cultural heritage.

SELECTED OBJECTS

Carte Brute

Carte Brute

Cards & Prints

Cards & Prints

CITY

Zurich, Basel, St. Gallen, Geneva Lugano and more

COUNTRY

Carte Brute

ALPINE

Carte Brute

INTERNATIONAL

Carte Brute

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