Bold Concrete Beauties
Zurich-born Karin Bürki has immortalised the most beautiful retro icons and contemporary examples in a folding map for the city and the region.
Concrete polarises. Some find it repulsive and ugly, others adore it. In architectural circles, the building material has been rediscovered for some time now; exhibitions are dedicated to it. And photographers or architecture aficionados from all over the world capture concrete buildings for Instagram, for example on the channel SOS Brutalism. Many buildings date back to Brutalism, the dominant period of concrete architecture between the 1960s and 80s, which relied on exposed materials, sculptural geometry and massive forms.
Zurich-born Karin Bürki is a fan, too. She shines a new light on her “concrete beauties”. In 2019 she founded the format Heartbrut and website of the same name “to take a fresh look at Swiss concrete icons and free the solitaires from the stubborn monster cliché”. “Concrete is a cultural asset,” says Karin Bürki.
She recently published the Carte Brute Zürich, a folding map featuring Zurich’s 40 most striking concrete icons. It represents her personal selection.
A map to take along on your next walk
Made of thick paper, the folding map can be easily taken along on a walk or used as a poster in an office space at home. It is also designed to appeal to people outside the architectural scene: 40 photos, complemented by brief details about the objects – construction period, architects, tram station – inspire to discover the concrete heritage. Why not take a building as an occasion to get some fresh air?
Entries include Ödön Koch’s sculptural wall relief on Regina department store in Dietikon (1964) and the curved Rämibühl auditorium – in Bürki’s eyes “Zurich’s most filigree concrete beauty” (1971). One of Zurich’s most popular concrete buildings is probably Triemli Tower by Esther and Rudolf Guyer…