From Washington DC to London, concrete edifices arent to everyones taste, but theyre here to stay and people have learned to love these sights
Mies van der Rohe was born first, in 1886, in Aachen, Germany. Le Corbusier arrived the following year, and 250 miles to the south, in La Chaux-de-Fonds, Switzerland. Mies went on to become the godfather of the steel-and-glass international style; Corbu, enamored with the possibilities of concrete, essentially created brutalism. Which means that not only were the two architects great builders in their own right; they were also responsible for creating the greatest sibling rivalry in the history of architecture.
Le Corbusiers brutalism took an early lead, not least because of concretes cost advantage: it is cheap and abundant, the second most consumed material in the world, after water. Brutalism also had the art-historical advantage of fitting easily into a centuries-long narrative. The monumental brutalist vaulting of the Washington Metro, for instance, is uncannily similar to that found in largest concrete dome in the world the 2,000-year-old Pantheon, in Rome.