BRUT BUT BETTER I Column 1 I By Karin Hunter Bürki /


Why brut matters

© / Karin Hunter Bürki

I’ve got a confession to make: I’m not that much into architecture. People often ask whether I’m an architect, which always comes as a bit of a shock. If I were, I wouldn’t be dedicating so much time on a non climate-friendly style that has been dead since the eighties. Real architects wouldn’t take pictures of brutes in the heavily stylised manner of a fashion shoot, using long-lenses. So no, I’m just a writer and photographer with a background in art and fashion. Here’s the real reason why I #HEARTBRUT:

The sight of brutalist concrete fills me with instant joy. I love it for its hard-edged attitude and loudness, its absolute refusal to please, the stark geometry, the spare sculptural shapes, and for the fact that all this makes brutalism so very photogenic. It still polarises opinion, but in this day and age this is an asset. And there’s more to it than a nostalgic “brutal-blast-from-the past” appeal. Which takes us to brut and why it matters. But first, a (admittedly totally subjective) redefinition:

*Brut; attitude, state of mind, way of life, strategy: nicked from brutalism to deal with today’s tough realities and challenges. Taking heart & showing guts. The art of leaving imperfections exposed. Eating naked pasta. Giving brutes the cold shoulder. Never losing sight of beauty.

Being brut is essentially the opposite of being a brute. Facing a reality that is both brutal and beautiful is part of my daily routine and most probably of yours, too. How to make it through the often maddening contradictions and challenges? A dose of feelbrut happiness might be a good start.

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