Ethic Lost: Brutalism and the Regeneration of Social Housing Estates in Great Britain
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Between the late 1940s and the 1970s, the New Brutalism attempted to establish an ethical architecture befitting post-World War II Britain. For this reason, it became a popular style for public buildings, including social housing. Brutalist social housing estates were conceived by progressive post-war architects to house Britain’s neediest. Through an analysis of the utopian roots of Brutalism and the decline of the style and its ethic in scholarship and popular culture, I analyze the current redevelopment of three seminal Brutalist housing estates and the rediscovery of the Brutalist aesthetic by contemporary scholars and consumers alike. In this thesis, I argue that due to multiple factors, including a housing shortage across Britain, rising real-estate values and a general consumer interest in mid-century design, these estates are undergoing such regenerations. My thesis enhances our understanding of how social and political influences have shaped post-war British social housing up to the present.