CLOG Strawn+Sierralta invited to write about Betrand Goldberg’s Prentice Women’s Hospital for CLOG’s “Brutalism” issue. CLOG is a quarterly architecture . A defining architectural style of the postwar era, characterized by severe, abstract geometries and the use of cast concrete, block and brick, CLOG: Brutalism. Clog: Brutalism by Kyle May; Julia van de hout, eds and a great selection of related books, art and collectibles available now at

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Brutalists favored this instant archaeological veracity, while its compatibility with craft traditions struck a chord in Japan. Succinctly, on paper, away from the distractions and imperatives of the screen. It is considered an important icon for the city by some and an eyesore by others. What buildings should be kept, and what buildings should be demolished? In a twist of the free market, companies produce wallpaper imitating exposed concrete, right down to these signature holes.

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Concrete spread through similar forces in Japan as in Europe, revealing the fossilized craft of construction. Nearly thirty years before Hunstanton, Raymond employed skilled Japanese carpenters to build the formwork of his own concrete Rienzaka House Brutalism rallied around the imprints left by rough-hewn timber shuttering on poured concrete: Each issue explores, from multiple viewpoints and through a variety of means, a single subject particularly relevant to architecture now.

Japanese contractors are capable of casting flawless concrete, yet the holes, like impressions on a ceramic tea bowl, remain as a conspicuous badge of authenticity.

This, like the three other selected designs, approached reutilizing Prentice through hybrid strategies that hint at new ways of thinking about current historic preservation criteria.



It was also an opportunity to generate conversation around Chicago’s mid-century modern heritage. Subsequently, the Tokyo-based Czech-American expatriate architect Antonin Raymond — an ambassador for Modernism in Japan — received a flood of commissions for concrete buildings.

Clg was recognized for its innovative floor-plate layout that eliminated the need for structural support columns. Completed init was considered groundbreaking for its cutting-edge architecture and advanced engineering, as well as for what was a progressive design approach to organizing medical wards and services.

Judging by the work of many contemporary practitioners, however, the influence of Brutalism only seems to grow.

The exhibit featured all entries to the competition, along with a proposal by Jeanne Gang, and ten up and coming Chicago architects that were invited to join the conversation by the CAC. Before the wrecking balls swing, it is time to look back on, debate, understand, and learn from Brutalism.

It sparked public debate and brought forward many designs and ides from around the world.


The first place proposal by Cyril Marsollier bbrutalism Wallo Villacorta, bisected Prentice with a glassy tower that served to reflect a complete image of the structure, while adding new space. Recently, the landmark status has been denied, and the judge has allowed the preservationists to file an amended lawsuit in 30 days. Naked walls cleanse the environment of cosmetic trappings and mass produced finishes.

The jury featured Chicago’s foremost architecture, preservationists and cultural leaders, who selected three winning entries and an honorable mention, all of which ultimately preserved Prentice, though through vastly different strategies.

The competition has served its purpose. The building is owned by Northwestern University, who is planning to tear it down to build a new state of the art medical facility. Preservationists filed a lawsuit and the structure was granted temporary landmark status. The clof of plastic cones separated by a rod stabilizing opposing sheets of plywood shuttering are removed after setting, leaving circular cavities.


The Architectural Press, Today Prentice Women’s Hospital, in sound condition but in need of repair, is viewed with different opinions. Their craftsmanship so impressed him, he flog the wooden texture exposed inside and out. When is a structure too young to be protected or too old to be useful for new programatic needs?

Unfortunately, the fate of the building remains in the hands of its owners.

The curvaceous layout allowed for direct sight-lines and easy access between mother and healthcare provider at a time when a more “closed-door” approach was the norm. Uchipanashi — as exposed concrete is called — remains expedient and economical, since there are no costly interior or exterior layers. This turned out to be one of the most successful competitions the CAC has ever held, receiving seventy-one entries from thirteen countries.


Section Cut | CLOG: Brutalism

The holes — byproducts of construction — have imprinted themselves upon Japanese consumers, some of whom proudly paper them across their walls, like the aspirational logos arrayed over their handbags. Princeton Architectural Press, CLOG is a quarterly architecture journal available only in print format.

Time is running out. The concrete, cloverleaf-shaped structure was designed by visionary architect Bertrand Goldberg.