Béton brut

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Boston City Hall, an example of brutalism using béton brut
Detail of the Royal National Theatre showing the grain of the formwork

Béton brut (French pronunciation: ​[betɔ̃ bʁy], raw concrete) is a smooth architectural surface made out of concrete. The concrete is left unfinished or roughly-finished after casting and it remains exposed visually. The final surface often shows the forms and structures of the formwork.[1]

History and characteristics[edit]

The use of béton brut was pioneered by Auguste Perret and other modern architects. It was used in such buildings as Unité d'Habitation in the early part of the twentieth century. It flourished as a part of the brutalist architecture of the 1960s and 70s. This largely gave way to structural expressionism as steel structures became more advanced and viable. Wood-imprinted concrete is still very popular in landscaping especially in some of the western European countries.

Exposed concrete surfaces can be varied with different formwork shetting (e.g. board shuttering, smooth formwork, form liner, form moulds, filter fleeces) or with surface processing techniques (e.g. washed concrete surfaces, photo concrete, acidified surfaces).[1] Particularly high quality poured concrete, achieved by leaving enough room between the formwork and the reinforcing bars for the concrete to flow freely, is called Sichtbeton in German, cemento a vista in Italian. This translates roughly into "concrete for viewing."


See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Exposed concrete. In: Weyer, Angela; Roig Picazo, Pilar; Pop, Daniel; Cassar, JoAnn; Özköse, Aysun; Vallet, Jean-Marc; Srša, Ivan, eds. (2015). EwaGlos. European Illustrated Glossary Of Conservation Terms For Wall Paintings And Architectural Surfaces. English Definitions with translations into Bulgarian, Croatian, French, German, Hungarian, Italian, Polish, Romanian, Spanish and Turkish. Petersberg: Michael Imhof. p. 46. 

External links[edit]