Concrete, exciting? Exposed concrete, a piece of Swiss cultural heritage? Zurich writer Karin Bürki absolutely thinks so. But she is by no means naïve. She is well aware that the general public still regards concrete buildings from the 1960s and 1970s as “monsters” and eyesores. She wants to change that and has therefore published “Carte Brute”, a folding guide with the “50 most daring and exciting” Swiss concrete icons of the last 100 years.
The buildings of brutalism, an architectural movement that emerged in Britain in the 1950s, may seem “brutal” in the eyes of some. But the term refers to the French béton brut, which means nothing other than exposed concrete.
On the poster-sized “Carte Brute”, all 50 buildings are presented with an aesthetic image. The captions are brief: If you want to know more, you can find it on Instagram (@heartbrut) and especially on the website heartbrut.com. There, 25 concrete icons are comprehensively described and documented with numerous photos. This online compendium will be continuously expanded.
Bürki is focusing on a young, international target audience. She wants to bring Switzerland’s “unique béton-brut heritage” closer to the “digitally-savvy generation under 40”.
When making her selection, Karin Bürki paid attention to architectural and architectural-cultural relevance, but visual and design aspects were also taken into account. Of the 50 buildings listed on the “Carte Brute”, five are located in eastern Switzerland.
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Heartbrut & Carte Brute features in BZ Basel (print & online), Beobachter Magazin (No 15/21, print)