The Brutalist Playground

14 Jan — 30 Apr 2017 at the Vitra Design Museum in Weil am Rhein, Germany

The Brutalist Playground. Courtesy of Vitra Design Museum
The Brutalist Playground. Courtesy of Vitra Design Museum
16 MAR 2017

Brutalist architecture is a controversial movement that originated in Britain shortly after World War II, bringing rise to expressive structures made of raw materials with an uncompromisingly rugged aesthetic. Throughout the country, preeminent architects erected large residential complexes, primarily in concrete, some of which featured unconventional play designs. For this exhibition the architectural collective Assemble (winner of the 2015 Turner Prize) and artist Simon Terrill have used archival material from the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) to recreate now demolished »Brutalist« playgrounds in hybrid architectural installations and walk-through sculptures for adults and children.

The international phenomenon of Brutalism is currently being rediscovered and widely discussed. Many buildings are in a state of disrepair and threatened by demolition. Architects, historians and preservationists are revising the superficial understanding and evaluation of Brutalism. The interactive presentation of »The Brutalist Playground« allows visitors to explore the original spatial concepts of this architectural style. In the exhibition, children can let their imaginations run wild, as architects once advocated, and adults are likewise invited to immerse themselves in the surrealistic playscapes of the post-war era and experience a new, unmitigated view of Brutalist architecture.

The exhibition was originally commissioned by the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA). All participants will be present at the opening, with introductory talks by Marie Bak Mortensen, Head of Exhibitions at the RIBA Architecture Gallery, and Jane Hall, a member of Assemble.