Brutalism is the bold postwar architectural movement synonymous with concrete which divides opinion, but is, in my opinion, happily and finally finding a new wave of appreciation in its stark style and functional forms. Brazenly raw, Brutalist architecture sought socialist uniformity and functionality in a postwar time, becoming the architecture of the establishment.
When I lived in London, I had a walk to work that took me past the Hayward Gallery every morning. It was remarkably ugly, with the look of a multi-storey car park, yet intriguingly beautiful. A subtle beauty in its bold angles, the shadows, and play of light. What I really loved, though, were the textures and rawness of materials – the different finishes, markings, and imprints from wood molds. I suspect this is where my love affair with concrete began. After years of living in London and really exploring places like the Barbican and Southbank Centre, I discovered St Agnes in Berlin.
The windowless structure of raw angular blocks stands, dominant, in a quiet residential corner of Kreuzberg. A utilitarian facade that opens to a serenely soft main gallery, graceful and luminous, lit from above. A uniquely striking art space. This former Brutalist church, built in 1967 by Werner Düttmann, has been reinvented by the art dealer Johann König.
König Galerie, St. Agnes, Alexandrinenstr. 118-121, 10968 Berlin.