Due to a sad twist of semantic fate, the general public paints an ever-larger diversity of buildings with the Brutalist brush. In a blog post on the Salk Institute, a writer in 2017 noted that a tour member incorrectly said the building “was a Brutalist project because it was extreme in nature.” There remains an urgency to educate people as to the ethics of Brutalism and the humanism that was intrinsic to the movement. The noun used by Kahn of the Salk was in fact “wonder,” and he stated, “presence of the sky, earth and sea is a reminder of wonder. Wonder is the beginning of all knowledge.” Both Salk and Kahn were sensitive to the power of nature to inspire art in humankind and the need to share inspiration. Yet today, the Laboratory, shares the mesa and canyon with neither the Living Place nor the Meeting Place, but with a sewage pumping station and a “sprawling parking lot.” The legacy left by Kahn is recognized as one of the greatest in the history of architecture, but his oeuvre should not be pigeon-holed into an American “monumentalism;” he was highly motivated by global trends. Jorge Otero-Pailos wrote that the phenomenologists “called into question the accepted conventions of architectural historiography… they raised the possibility that a building’s meaning might be more accurately ascertained through the direct physical experience of the building itself.” Such discussions remain relevant to our analysis of Brutalism and Kahn’s work that regularly incites a feeling of spirituality within visitors. Team X saw Brutalism as a silver bullet to reinject truth and humanity into architecture, and arguably the unbuilt Salk Institute was a distillation of these beliefs in the United States.
The author would like to thank Kyle Normandin of Wiss, Janney, Elstner Associates, Inc. for his early support of this project.
About the Author
James E. Churchill is a Funaro Scholar and graduate of the MS in Historic Preservation at the Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation (GSAPP) of Columbia University. Sharing a wide range of interests that straddle architectural history, design and material sciences. He is an active participant with the newly formed Material Sciences committee at The Association for Preservation Technology (APT), and holds memberships also at the American Institute for Conservation (AIC/FAIC), ASM International, American Ceramic Society and the Association for Iron and Steel Technology (AIST). He received an honor award for outstanding thesis in historic preservation for Decorative Monel: Historical Intent, Weathering and Analysis and has subsequently published a two part article on Historic Monel for ASM International (September 2020 issue of AM&P Vol. 178 No. 6) and an article in JOM entitled "Architectural Monel: Modernism, Counter-Modernism, and the Aesthetic of Patina" (October 2020 issue of JOM Vol. 72 No. 10).
James previously published an essay during the demolishment of the Union Church in Hong Kong, which was summarized on the Docomomo International website.
 Critics decried the coldness of Brutalism’s main material identifier, concrete. Behavioural psychologist Richard Sommer wrote “Brutal buildings are a response to a brutal society” placing it firmly in a dystopian social context. See Richard Sommer, Tight Spaces; Hard Architecture and How to Humanize It (Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice-Hall, 1974). This text will conflate the terms New Brutalism and Brutalism in the ensuing pages for convenience.
 The term gained traction with Theo Crosby, Alison Smithson, and Peter Smithson, "The New Brutalism," Architectural Design 25, no. 1 (January 1955): 1; Reyner Banham, "The New Brutalism," The Architectural Review (December 1955); Alison Smithson and Peter Smithson, "The New Brutalism," Architectural Design 27, no. 4 (April 1957): 113.
 Reyner Banham, The New Brutalism: Ethic Or Aesthetic? (London: Architectural Press, 1968), 135
 Banham, The New Brutalism: Ethic Or Aesthetic?, 44.
 José Luis Sert, Fernand Léger, and Sigfried Giedion, "Nine points on monumentality," Architecture culture 1968 (1943).
 Hadas Steiner, "Life at the Threshold," October, no. 136 (2011): 133.
 Team X response to C.I.A.M. 8 report, 1951 in Kenneth Frampton, Modern Architecture: A Critical History, 4th ed. (London: Thames & Hudson, 2007), 271. https://books.google.com/books?id=dkvFQgAACAAJ.
 Found in 'House and Harbor,' Louis I Kahn, "Toward a plan for midtown Philadelphia," Perspecta 2: The Yale Architectural Journal (1953): 14.
 Louis I Kahn, "Order in Architecture," Perspecta 4: The Yale Architectural Journal (1957): 58.
 See William Curtis, "on monuments and monumentality: louis i. kahn," in Modern Architecture Since 1900 (Phaidon Press, 1996), 513; Leland M. Roth and Amanda C. R. Clark, "Silence and Light: The Architecture of Louis I. Kahn," in American architecture : a history (Boulder, CO: Westview Press, 2016), 459.
 See Jorge Otero-Pailos, Architecture's historical turn : phenomenology and the rise of the postmodern (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2010).
 Peter Inskip et al., "Conservation Management Plan : Salk Institute for Biological Studies," ed. Deborah Slaton, Tim Penich, and Tiffany Olson (2016), 46.
 Louis I. Kahn, Louis Kahn : conversations with students (Princeton, NJ: Princeton Architectural Press, 1998), 18, 25.
 "The Salk Institute," Life of an Architect, updated November 1, 2017, accessed October 24, 2020, https://www.lifeofanarchitect.com/the-salk-institute/.
 Document, Abstract of Program, 030, Series II, Box A, Folder 2716, The Architectural Archives of the University of Pennsylvania.
 Inskip et al., "Conservation Management Plan : Salk Institute for Biological Studies," 280-1.
“About Salk Architecture,” Visiting Salk. Accessed February 28, 2019. https://www.salk.edu/about/visiting-salk/about-salk-architecture/
Augustyniak, Mairan and Entwhistle, Jr., Fred T. “Survey on New Brutalism,” letter to Louise Kahn dated Pittsburgh, PA, 14 April 1957. LIK 59
Bakema, Van Eyck, van Ginkel, Hovens-Greve, Smithson, and Voelker, Doorn Manifesto, Doorn: C.I.A.M. Meeting 29-30-21, January 1954.
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———. New Brutalism: Ethic or Aesthetic? Stuttgart: Karl Kramer Verlag, 1966.
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Inskip, Peter, Stephen Gee, Liz Sargent, Kyle Normandin, Ann Harrer, Kenneth Itle, and Timothy Crowe. "Conservation Management Plan : Salk Institute for Biological Studies." edited by Deborah Slaton, Penichm Tim and Tiffany Olson, Oct 2016.
Kahn, Louis I. "Monumentality." In Zucker, Paul New Architecture and City Planning. A Symposium. New York: Philosophical Library, 1944.
———. “Order in Architecture.” Perspecta 4: The Yale Architectural Journal, 1957.
———. ‘House and Harbor’ in “Toward a Plan for Midtown Philadelphia.” Perspecta 2: The Yale Architectural Journal, 1953.
Leslie, Thomas, and Louis I. Kahn. Louis I. Kahn : Building Art, Building Science. 1st ed. New York: George Braziller, 2005.
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Roth, Leland M., and Amanda C. R. Clark. American Architecture : A History. Second edition. ed. Boulder, CO: Westview Press, 2016.
Sert, José Luis, Fernand Léger, and Siegfried Giedion. "Nine Points on Monumentality 1943." Harvard Architecture Review. Spring 1984.
Smithson, Alison and Peter. “The New Brutalism.” In Architectural Design 27. April 1957.
———. "The New Brutalism,” in Architectural Design 25, no. 1. January 1955.
———. "The as Found and the Found." In The Independent Group: Postwar Britain and the Aesthetics of Plenty, edited by David Robbins. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1990.
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Steiner, Hadas. "Life at the Threshold." October 136 (2011): 133-55.
Wiss, Janney, Elstner Associates, Inc., Inskip and Gee Architects, and Liz Sargent HLA. Conservation Management Plan.
Zucker, Paul. New Architecture and City Planning: A Symposium. Philosophical library New York, 1944.