Brutalist Architecture in D.C.

Walks in Washington… D.C. Brutalist Architecture

Walks in Washington

While walking around D.C., the city’s varying architecture has stood out for me. Down one block, one might be greeted with shining examples of Neoclassical Architecture with Roman columns and a white façade (for example, the Jefferson Memorial). The next street might contain more modern office buildings, with glass and steel, perhaps still being built. More striking for me however, were “Brutalist” structures, the buildings that bring thoughts of the cold war era and bomb shelters.

J. Edgar Hoover Building (FBI) J. Edgar Hoover Building (FBI)

From 1950 to 1970, Brutalist architecture became very popular throughout the United States, especially in Washington, D.C. Derived from the French phrase for “raw concrete”, Brutalist architecture is generally very simple, with repetitive designs and often-limited decoration. Commonly accentuated by sparse, square windows, brutalist buildings are sturdy and seemingly indestructible. This is intentional. In a time of tensions with the Soviet Union, the United States government searched for ways…

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