A Heated Debate – Should Brutalist Architecture be Considered State Heritage?

Brutalist architecture is divisive.

You either love it or you hate it. Chances are, if you love it, you’re probably an architect or designer of some sort. Appreciating the stark materiality, the celebration of concrete and strong architectural form.  

Recently, Geelong’s State Government Offices building was added to Victoria’s state heritage register by Heritage Victoria. The building is shaped like an inverted pyramid, with the three lowest levels creating a podium and the upper three floors cantilevering more and more as the building rises. The façade is covered with a grid of diagonal placed columns, creating an exposed structural grid. The whole building is neatly symmetrical, object like in many ways.

To date, only 1% of Heritage Victoria’s Register accounts for places or objects from 1970 onwards, motivating the organization to grant heritage status in an attempt to diversify what is classed as heritage architecture.

It’s reignited an ongoing debate in the design community – should we be prioritizing the protection of brutalist architecture before developers get their hands on it all? The most famous local example is the unsuccessful battle to protect The Sirius building in Sydney.

What do you think – is brutalist architecture worth saving?