Talk about Brutal

CBEBuilding (1024x683)

The topic tonight is Brutalist architecture in Calgary.

There are a number of buildings in this style located in the city which were built between the 1950s and the 1970s.  The Brutalist style has been described as “polarizing” with critics who distain the style (Prince Charles being one) and champions who love it.

It is usually distinguished by the use of concrete and is often likened to a fortress.  It my opinion that much of the architecture in our cities (especially in suburbia) is distinguished by not eliciting any passionate or emotional response.  So having architecture that does this is very refreshing.  Like in all arts, when this happens it becomes worthy of looking at, regardless of which camp the observer falls into.

As stated before there are a number of notable examples of Brutalist architecture in the city:

  • Calgary Board of Education building (1969) on Macleod Trail between 5th and 6th Streets.
  • Calgary Catholic School District building (1968) Macleod Trail and 6th Avenue SE
  • Centennial Planetarium (1967) designed by McMillan and Long at the west end of downtown at the beginning of the west leg of the LRT
  • Century Gardens (1975) between 7th and 8th Avenues and 7th and 8th Streets SW
  • Mayland Heights Elementary School (1969) designed by Gordon Atkins in the community of Mayland Heights located at 2324 Maunsell Drive NE.
  • I am sure there are more that I have overlooked.

Tonight d.talks is presenting Building Iconomy: Possibilities for a Brutalist Building in the Glenbow Museum Theatre at 6:30.  A suggested donation of $5 or more to cover costs would be greatly appreciated.

The first building to be discussed is the currently vacant CBE building and the possibilities around creative-reuse for the building.

More info can be found here: