Skip to main content

Step Inside 5 Brutalist Homes that Prove Concrete is Anything But Cold

Brutalism Binh header
What images does the word “Brutalism” bring to mind? Most likely, you are thinking cold, dark, and uninviting. And from the outside, Brutalist homes fit the bill. Concrete blocks with no character. Utilitarian structures that evoke a sense of a post-apocalyptic future. Except that’s the Brutalism of the past. There’s been a slow resurgence — and with it, a rethinking — of Brutalist architecture in recent years. Here are five houses that prove Brutalism is back, and it’s amazing.

TDA House

Brutalism TDA

Built in 2006 by architectural firm Cadaval & Sola-Morales, the TDA House in Puerto Escondido is a stunning example of new wave Brutalism. The color of the concrete is more taupe than gray, the warm tone helping the simple structure to fit into its tropical environment. The cantilevered second floor adds unexpected visual interest, a playful touch not seen in Brutalist structures of the past. With warm wood accents throughout the home, mobile walls that allow rooms to become open air, and bright red hammocks sprinkled throughout, TDA House shows us that concrete can be beautiful — an important aspect of Brutalist designs.

Related Videos

Jungla Moderna

Brutalism Jungla Moderna
Boutique Homes

Deep in the heart of Costa Rica sits Jungla Moderna, an over-the-top vacation rental that takes full advantage of the jungle views (hence the name). This home is Brutalism at it’s finest. The concrete is used in a variety of ways, making the space far from boring. From polished concrete on the floor to walls of concrete blocks to rough concrete support pillars, the varying textures add endless visual interest. The strength of concrete allows for a massive, two-story family room that faces a wall of glass, which offers plenty of natural light and unobstructed views of the jungle. A key concept of Brutalism was incorporating “found” materials, meaning only using supplies native to the area the home is built. This is seen in the solid wood dining table, bamboo flooring in the kitchen, and rough stone mosaic tile in the bathrooms.

Maralah Cliff House

Brutalism Maralah

Brutalism and cars don’t seem to go together, but when Infiniti approached architect Laertis-Antonios Ando Vassiliou to design a home as part of a promotion for their new QX80, that’s exactly what he gave them. Maralah Cliff House is a concept home set into a cliff in Calgary, Canada, overlooking the Bow River. Cold and sleek, yet natural and rugged, the design is a darker, sexier take on new wave Brutalism. The Brutalist movement developed from the Modernist movement of the 1950s and ‘60s and, as such, incorporates many of the same principles. This can be seen in Maralah Cliff House, where the man-made structure is designed to blend in seamlessly with its natural surroundings. The rough exposed stone of the cliff makes up one wall of the cabin, steel and glaze combine to create a glass cube bedroom overlooking the water, and the concrete used throughout was left raw, letting the naturalness of the materials shine.

House Van Wassenhove

Brutalism Wassenhove

An original Belgian Brutalist, House Van Wassenhove is getting its second act thanks to the renewed interest in this style. Built near the end of the movement in 1974 by architect Juliaan Lampens, the home strayed away from some of the Brutalist principles. While the dramatic V-shaped concrete entry certainly wows guests, the overall structure of the home is a simple stepped style, not the wild shapes Brutalism had come to be known for. The concrete exterior is similar in shade to stone, allowing it to blend in with its wooded surroundings. Inside, wood accents reflect the Brutalist ideal of using locally sourced, natural materials.

Binh House

Brutalism Binh

The newest addition to the Brutalist revival movement, Binh House from VTN Architects, caught the world’s attention by proving Brutalism has a place in contemporary design. The most refreshing aspect of this new take on an old style is the focus on incorporating greenery into the design. Binh House features cut outs in the facade of the building, allowing places for miniature gardens to pop up. Inside, a tree set into a rock garden acts as a room divider. This literal combination of man-made and natural elements is a new take on a core principle of Brutalism. Whereas in the past we saw nature being used as a material (like wood flooring), Binh house allows nature to take center stage in this unusually shaped concrete structure.

Editors' Recommendations

This Barn-Inspired Home Blends Historic Architecture with Contemporary Style
silvernails mountain house

Remember when you were young, being yelled at by dad to “Close the damned door, we don’t live in a barn?” Well joke’s on you dad, because Amalgam Studio’s Silvernails Mountain House is a barn that’s meant to be left wide open.

The creation of Amalgam Studio founder architect Ben Albury, Silvernails Mountain House has everything we would want in a barn-turned-house, but without any of the hassle like dirt floors and no insulation. Because it’s new construction, Albury was able to create a stunning home inspired by traditional New England barns that also meets Passive House standards.

Read more
Razor Bluff: A Luxurious Hillside Hideaway Fit for a Supervillain with Swagger
razor bluff house photos 7

Gone are the days of dark underground hideaways. Today’s modern villain has sophistication and style. These ne’er-do-wells now have options like Razor Bluff - a 10,000 square foot maze of concrete and glass that is the perfect spot for plotting world domination … or just taking in the stunning California sunsets.

Razor Bluff, located in the hills of La Jolla, is the creation of famed American architect Wallace E. Cunningham. Known for designing opulent homes with unique forms, Cunningham is a master of turning concrete into fluid, bright, and airy structures. His homes open up to the outside to create a strong connection to nature and often the home's building site dictates the design. Such is the case with Razor Bluff.

Read more
Into the Wild is a Tiny Cabin that Let’s You Edit Your Views of the Forest
ark shelter into the wild tiny cabin 3

Ark-shelter - prístrešok v prírode Kysúc

Just when we think we’ve seen it all when it comes to tiny cabins in the woods, Ark Shelter has developed a unique concept that turns their simple shelter into an immersive experience. The Into the Wild tiny cabin has hidden secrets that allows visitors to edit their interior environment, resulting in changing views of the surrounding forest.

Read more