Loving Brutalism

People tend to either love or hate Brutalism. We’re on the side of loving it, especially since it serves as an iconic reminder of D.C. in the 1960’s and 70’s.

If you are not too familiar with the Brutalist style, just go look at the Metro:

©Angela N.

And after looking at the Metro, go above ground and find all the buildings that look just like the Metro (hint: L’Enfant Plaza is the best place to start):

©Rob Klug

There’s a wonderful new exhibit on Brutalism at the National Building Museum (through Feb. 17th 2025).

The exhibit contains a rich amount of archival material, historic photos, and some models.

And for both fans and haters of Brutalism, the exhibit also has re-imagined what seven Brutalist buildings in D.C. could be transformed into, tapping the creativity of major architectural designers.

Two of our favorite things about Brutalism

1. People and Brutalism

The harsh bareness of Brutalist structures form a great contrast with the humanity of people.

Hirshhorn Plaza ©Victoria Pickering
©Miki Jourdan
L’Enfant Plaza ©Victoria Pickering
©Victoria Pickering
Park Police by the Hirshhorn ©Angela N.
Shadow/Casters live performance in the windows of the Hirshhorn. ©Victoria Pickering

2. The geometry

©Rob Klug
L’Enfant Plaza ©Angela N.
Hirshhorn ©Miki Jourdan
©Rob Klug
FBI Building ©Angela N.
©Rob Klug
The Farragut Building. ©Victoria Pickering
©Rob Klug
Washington Hilton ©Victoria Pickering
©Rob Klug
©Rob Klug

To see more photos of Brutalism in D.C., check out our previous article – it also has a listing of the major Brutalist buildings in D.C., including their locations, when they were built, and the architects who designed them.

©Miki Jourdan

Join the Conversation


  1. You’ve not quite convinced me to love brutalism, but I’d do love the photos. They nicely capture the style in so many different ways. Thanks!

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