Monday, May 14, 2012

Heroic Concrete from Boston to Orange County to Central Texas

(c) Kim Barker

At the San Antonio Conservation Society's seminar Mid-Century Modern: It's about Time, Heroic Concrete was mentioned as a new, alternative term for Brutalism. Brutalism is a style of architecture that was popular from the late 1950s to 1970s. The term comes from beton brute or "rough concrete." A few years ago a group of architects in Boston organized a show to highlight the beauty of concrete buildings of this era. They dubbed this period of concrete buildings - the era of Heroic Concrete.

There are prominent efforts to save iconic examples of Brutalism (or Heroic Concrete), including an effort to save the Orange County Government Center in California from demolition. The "Brutalism is Beautiful" image above is a screen print of this building designed by Kim Barker, who is a local preservationist who lives and works in Austin.

Central Texas examples of brutalism include the School of Nursing building at the University at Texas at Austin, the First Baptist Church at 901 Trinity St. in Austin, and the Institute of Texan Cultures in San Antonio. What are other good examples of heroic concrete in Central Texas? Please comment below.


  1. Another recent post on this topic at Design Observer,

  2. Great job. I think this is a very insightful post.