Assuming that your campus did have a Brutalist building, you’ve probably been told a lie about it that goes something like, “Hideous, right? The administration chose that design because it was good at preventing student riots and occupations.” The notion, apparently, is that the style’s typically complex floor plans, dazzling edifices, and oddly placed entrances would discourage those kinds of activities. I’ve heard versions of this tall tale used to explain both the International Affairs Building at my alma mater, Columbia, as well as the North Academic Center at City College, looming as it does a few blocks from my home in Harlem. Colleagues have heard similar apologies in reference to structures at schools all over the place. For years, we’ve all passively accepted this story; however, a little research shows that it is exactly that—a myth.
— sorry 2 link 2 slate, but this is extremely relevant to some of the things I have been working on and it’s also a pretty good read if you’re not that comfortable with architecture reads. of course! i have problems with it, mainly in that it skirts the very real connection between social reformism (good and bad) and brutalism’s urban vision, facilitated by talking about Paul Rudolph’s Yale instead of, for example, of course, Walter Netsch’s UIC. (what are you doing when you say the International Affairs Building at Columbia “as well as” the North Academic Center at City College?) and I think this association with highbrow elitism is a bit of a red herring.