Exhibition Details


Private View Thursday 22nd February 2018, 6 – 9pm. RSVP essential via rsvp@rise-gallery.co.uk


A style that flourished from the 1950s to the mid-1970s, and has more recently seen a rebirth, Brutalism continues to divide people to this day; you either love or you hate it!


‘A Journey Through Brutalism’ is an exhibition presenting artistic homages to the versatile and majestic architectural form through a wide range of media.


With artwork, tours, film screenings and special talks, this month-long ode to Brutalism is sure to give you a fresh perspective on those towering monoliths of concrete you may avert your eyes from on your morning commute!


Originating from the French word for “raw” and Le Corbusier’s description of his material of choice, béton brut (raw concrete), the term ‘Brutalism’ came into wider use in the UK after British architectural critic Reyner Banham titled his 1966 book, ‘The New Brutalism’.

Brutalism became popular with governmental and institutional clients, because of concrete’s cost advantage: it is cheap and abundant, the second most consumed material in the world, after water. Architects of the era shared these ideals, and Croydon is one of the only London boroughs where you can see so many examples of their creations, with no less than 45 office blocks (mostly skyscrapers) built – an impressive 6 million square feet in all!

Today, Croydon’s reputation remains largely based on the Brutalist footprint of yesteryear. This exhibition looks at Brutalist architecture; past, present and future, with a particular focus on the London Borough of Croydon and celebrating its architectural heritage.


Exhibiting artists include:


  • Adam Halliday
  • Charlie Lang
  • Glenn Foster
  • Jonathan Meades
  • Louise Gough
  • Laurent Bompard
  • Mark McClure
  • Owen Calvert

Special Guest Speakers at the Private View

Jonathan Meades:


Jonathan Meades has written and performed in some 60 television films of such topographical, architectural and political subjects as French nationalism, the lure of Belgium, the Baltic, plotlands, the architecture of Hitler, Stalin and Mussolini.


His two part series on brutalism was transmitted on BBC4 in 2014. He is the author of three works of fiction among them Pompey and The Fowler Family Business, a hymn to south-east London, several collections of essays e.g. Museum Without Walls and most recently an anti-cookbook The Plagiarist in The Kitchen.


John Grindrod:


John Grindrod is the author of Outskirts: Living Life on the Edge of the Green Belt (2017), Concretopia: A Journey Around the Rebuilding of Postwar Britain (2013) and the forthcoming How to Love Brutalism (April 2018). He grew up in New Addington, lived in Croydon for 30 years and has written extensively about his home town. He runs the website dirtymodernscoundrel.com and can be contacted on Twitter @Grindrod.


National Trust Walking Tour:


RISEgallery have teamed up with The National Trust to deliver a series of walking tours throughout March 2018 which will delve into the contemporary heritage of Croydon and shine a spotlight on the borough as one of the most important examples of Brutalist and Modernist architecture. In fact, Croydon is one of the only London boroughs where you can see so many of these examples of post-war optimism.


As Croydon continues to undergo such rapid change, join us as we celebrate its brutalist landscape on a 60 minute guided tour. Spaces are limited.


Please book via Eventbrite

Exhibition dates
23rd February - 31st March 2018
Opening Times
Tuesday - Friday 10am - 6pm, Saturday 10am - 4pm
7-9 St. George's Walk, Croydon CR0 1YH