The demolitions of the Hall of Nations in Delhi’s Pragati Maidan earlier this month, and Chanakya cinema hall back in 2008, have highlighted the dire need to preserve our rich heritage of Modernist architecture. Modernism is not a single monolithic architectural style, but rather an overarching term given to many connected movements and iterations over the past many decades.
In the 1950s-80s, one of the prominent movements in modernism was known as Brutalism. This movement took the modernist idea of unembellished and unadorned architecture still further, by rejecting external decorative cladding and even paint and plaster, keeping the building’s concrete structure exposed as the finished facade. The aim was to represent brutal honesty in architectural form. In India, Brutalism gained popularity after the French architect Le Corbusier designed some of the world’s seminal Brutalist buildings in Chandigarh and Ahmedabad in the early 1950s.