How can the raw materials of the built environment affect and shape our sense of ourselves?

Alison and Peter Smithson, Robin Hood Gardens, 1972 © Cristina Ricci

“The business of Architecture is to establish emotional relationships by means of raw materials.” – Le Corbusier

This essay examines the ways in which the built environment – specifically concrete architecture – affects our relationship with the world. Case studies for this research consist of two buildings and one sculpture: Le Corbusier’s Unité d’Habitation in Marseille (1947-52) and Notre Dame du Haut (1955), and Rachel Whiteread’s House (1993). On the other hand, culturally represented acts of violence emerged from post-war Brutalist buildings and can be seen in Alison and Peter Smithson’s Robin Hood Gardens (1966-72) and Stanley Kubrick’s movie A Clockwork Orange (1971).

About the author:
Cristina Ricci is an MA Contemporary Art Theory student at Goldsmiths, University of London, where she graduated with a BA in History of Art in 2017.

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