Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation Buildings – Lisbon
Architects: Ruy Athouguia, Pedro Cid & Alberto Pessoa
Brutalism is often considered harsh, cold and unfriendly. Indeed when it needs to be, it can be. Sheffield Magistrates Court for example stands like a menacing concrete fortress, complete with its own drawbridge. With the Gulbenkian however, we see Brutalism’s softer side. The structures are situated around the small lake at the centre of Gulbenkian Park and are surrounded by lush greenery. Plantings on the buildings themselves help them blend into the surroundings. Large concrete slabs form paths which wind through tranquil woodland to connect the buildings. The resulting effect is almost picturesque, with the concrete structures resembling blocky rock formations rising from forest floor.