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The Dupont Circle station in Washington D.C. The ceiling is vaulted and concrete. lulu and isabelle / Shutterstock.com

The 15 Brutalist Buildings Every D.C. Resident Should Know

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Brutalism is considered one of the least visually appealing architectural styles due to its blocky, cold concrete shapes. Because of that, it is also one of the most contentious. While architects love concrete due to its flexibility, members of the public tend to be repulsed by the dull box shapes, describing Brutalist buildings as eyesores and even atrocities. British architects Alison and Peter Smithson coined the term "Brutalism" in 1953, inspired by the French béton brut, which literally means, "raw concrete." From the 1950s to the 1970s, the architectural style flourished with angular, concrete buildings—often with an egg-crate appearance—found all over the world (and most recently in Minecraft).

British author, physician, and political commentator Theodore Dalrymple has been known to describe Brutalist buildings as "cold-hearted," "inhuman," "monstrous," and a "spiritual, intellectual, and moral deformity." Charles, Prince of Wales, spoke against the architectural style in December 1987 at the Corporation of London Planning and Communication Committee's annual dinner at Mansion House. "You have to give this much to the Luftwaffe," he said, "when it knocked down our buildings, it didn't replace them with anything more offensive than rubble." Even Buzzfeed has shown their distaste for the style, going so far as to accuse the architects of the 1960s and 1970s as having early onset glaucoma, while describing the buildings they designed as "heinous, unforgivable scars." Greater Greater Washington, on the other hand, roots for the brutal behemoths, describing the style as "long misunderstood." And of course, Swiss-born modernist and genius Le Corbusier was fairly keen on the style as well.

What caused Brutalism to become so prevalent from the 1950s to the 1970s was the low cost of concrete, a factor that especially appealed to federal, state, and local governments. In the winter 2013 publication of Preservation Magazine, David Hay wrote, "Because the style was relatively inexpensive to build, however, design was frequently sloppy. Many structures from the period—oddities now mocked on the Internet—ended up misshapen, badly proportioned, and drab." Regarding durability, concrete also falls short in that area. In cold, damp climates, moisture often streaks the concrete walls, while the steel rebar inside tends to rust.

As all movements do, Brutalism eventually came to an end. Since its demise in the mid-1980s, the buildings in Washington, D.C. have little by little either been demolished, poorly maintained, or continuously scorned. In February 2014, a Brutalist church located on the corner of 16th and K streets NW, known as the Third Church of Christ, Scientist, was razed, and there are now plans to renovate an existing office building at 1600 Eye Street NW to make it a little less blocky and unfriendly. There is still a myriad of buildings within the District that reflect the Brutalist style, from libraries to museums to hotels. In the map below, you will be able to find 15 of the most recognizable and notable examples of Brutalism in Washington, D.C.

· The 15 Neoclassical Buildings Every D.C. Resident Should Know [Curbed DC]
· It's Too Bad That None of These Brutalist Minecraft Buildings Actually Exist [Curbed Flipped]
· Things You May Not Have Known About the History of Concrete [Curbed National]
· The five best Brutalist buildings in DC [Greater Greater Washington]
· http://www.iconicphoto.com/bw-brutalist-architecture.htm [Buzzfeed]
· Brutalist Architecture of Washington DC [Iconic Photo]
· Brutalist Architecture [Saylor Academy]
· Defending Brutalism: The Uncertain Future of Modernist Concrete Structures [Preservation Magazine]

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1. Dupont Circle Metro Station

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1525 20th St. NW
Washington, D.C. 20036
(202) 637-7000
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While mapped here is the Dupont Circle station, every single station in Washington, D.C.'s Metro system is an example of Brutalist architecture. Despite commuters' many complaints on the transit system, the concrete panels and vaulted-ceiling stations have caught the eye of the American Institute of Architects (AIA) more than once. In 2014, the AIA awarded the Metro system the AIA Twenty-five Year Award. This award recognized the system for standing the test of time, architectural excellence, and excellence in function. Seven years earlier, the AIA listed the Metro as one of America's 150 favorite architecture. It was the only Brutalist design on the list.

The Dupont Circle station in Washington D.C. The ceiling is vaulted and concrete. lulu and isabelle / Shutterstock.com

2. Cons. Financial Protection Bureau

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1625 I St NW
Washington, D.C. 20006

The building that houses the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) is indicative of Brutalist architecture with its blocky concrete shape. The CFPB is planning a renovation on the building that is expected to cost taxpayers a whopping $207 million if all renovation options are implemented. This price is approximate to the price of a Class A office building. [Photo via Mark Plummer]

3. The Sunderland Building

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1320 19th St NW
Washington, D.C. 20036

Completed in 1969, the monolithic Sunderland Building rises eight stories. As seen in most Brutalism buildings, the windows are set deep into the walls.

4. Embassy of Canada

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501 Pennsylvania Ave NW
Washington, D.C. 20001
(202) 682-1740
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British Columbia's Arthur Erickson designed the Embassy of Canada with long horizontal shapes and wide open spaces. Despite it being Brutalist, former U.S. Secretary of State James Baker described the structure positively, saying, "I think [it] conveys the warmth and the openness of the people of Canada."

5. U.S. Department of Energy

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1000 Independence Ave SW
Washington, D.C. 20585
(202) 586-5000
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Since 1977, the James V. Forrestal building has housed the U.S. Department of Energy. It was originally known as the Federal Office Building 5. The building finished construction in 1969 and consists of three structures, each connected by two floors of underground office space. In 1964 while the building was undergoing construction, Washington Post architectural critic Wolf von Eckardt described the structure as "a work of architecture we will probably be proud of," before one year later describing the structure's great length along 10th Street SW as a "pity." New York Times architecture critic Ada Louise Huxtable believed that the design "failed miserably."

6. U.S. Department Of Labor

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200 Constitution Ave NW
Washington, D.C. 20216
(202) 693-5000
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The U.S. Department of Labor is located in the the Frances Perkins Building. Before being constructed in 1975, the federal building had to obtain air rights in order to be constructed over the I-395 freeway.

7. U.S. Department of Education

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400 Maryland Ave SW
Washington, DC 20202

Outside of L'Enfant Plaza Metro station, you can find the headquarters for the U.S. Department of Education. This expansive, blocky building is located alongside many other federal buildings in the neighborhood.

8. U.S. Dept. of Health & Human Services

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200 Independence Ave SW
Washington, D.C. 20201
(877) 696-6775
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Say hello to the Hubert H. Humphrey building. When it was renamed, this became the first federal building dedicated to a living person. Humphrey served as U.S. Vice President and as a U.S. Senator from Minnesota. This building was originally known as the South Portal Building when it was constructed in 1977.

A rectangular building with a concrete vaulted facade with many windows. There is a sign outside of the building that reads: United States Department of Health and Human Services. Photo via Getty/SAUL LOEB/Stringer

9. U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development

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451 7th St SW
Washington, D.C. 20410

The 10-story Robert C. Weaver Federal building was named after the first Secretary of Housing and Urban Development and the first African American Cabinet member. The architect of the building is Marcel Breuer, who is also known for having designed the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York City. In 2008, the development was added to the National Register of Historic Places.

10. Estelle and Melvin Gelman Library

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2130 H St NW
Washington, D.C. 20052
(202) 994-6558
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In George Washington University, you'll find this Brutalist library that rises seven stories and contains over two million volumes. The building was constructed in the 1970s and was renovated in 2012 for $16 million in order to provide more natural lighting and open space as well as a digital media lab.

11. Joseph Mark Lauinger Library

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3700 O St NW
Washington, D.C. 20057-1174
(202) 687-7452

The Lauinger Library is the main library for Georgetown University. Constructed in 1970, this library holds 1.7 million volumes as well as archival documents related to Georgetown.

12. Hirshhorn Museum

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700 Independence Ave SW
Washington, D.C. 20591
(202) 633-4674
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Gordon Bunshaft's intention when designing the Hirshhorn was to make the building stand out as much as possible by designing the museum of contemporary and modern art in a cylindrical shape made out of concrete and supported by four legs. New York Times architecture critic Ada Louise Huxtable wasn't too pleased with the design. In 1974, she wrote, "It totally lacks the essential factors of esthetic strength and provocative vitality that make genuine 'brutalism' a positive and rewarding style."

13. J. Edgar Hoover FBI Building

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935 Pennsylvania Ave NW
Washington, D.C. 20535-0001
(202) 324-3000
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The J. Edgar Hoover building has been described everything from something out of outer space by NPR's Catesby Leigh to a black hole and an urban sin by Washingtonian's Arthur Cotton Moore. It is also described as "one of the most valuable development opportunities ever to become available in downtown Washington" by The Washington Post as the FBI debates where its next headquarters will be, leaving the nearly 6.7 acre-property up for grabs.

14. Washington Hilton Hotel

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1919 Connecticut Ave., NW
Washington, D.C. 20009
(202) 483-3000
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With a double-arched design, the Washington Hilton Hotel was built in 1965 by William B. Tabler, Sr., an American architect who designed more than 400 hotels. Since the hotel opened, it has hosted events like the White House Correspondents Association annual dinner as well as musical performances by artists like The Doors and Jimi Hendrix. In March 30, 1981, the hotel was also the site of an assassination attempt on U.S. President Ronald Reagan.

15. The Watergate Hotel

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2650 Virginia Avenue Northwest
Washington, D.C. 20037
(202) 827-1600
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This hotel is known for scandal, a still unexplained garage collapse, and a fairly pricey renovation that is expected to give the Brutalist building's guest rooms an "urban resort" feel.

An aerial view of the Watergate hotel. The hotel has an oval shape and a facade with concrete balconies. There is a swimming pool in the central part of the hotel in a courtyard. Photo via Wikimedia Commons/Library of Congress

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1. Dupont Circle Metro Station

1525 20th St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20036
The Dupont Circle station in Washington D.C. The ceiling is vaulted and concrete. lulu and isabelle / Shutterstock.com

While mapped here is the Dupont Circle station, every single station in Washington, D.C.'s Metro system is an example of Brutalist architecture. Despite commuters' many complaints on the transit system, the concrete panels and vaulted-ceiling stations have caught the eye of the American Institute of Architects (AIA) more than once. In 2014, the AIA awarded the Metro system the AIA Twenty-five Year Award. This award recognized the system for standing the test of time, architectural excellence, and excellence in function. Seven years earlier, the AIA listed the Metro as one of America's 150 favorite architecture. It was the only Brutalist design on the list.

1525 20th St. NW
Washington, D.C. 20036

2. Cons. Financial Protection Bureau

1625 I St NW, Washington, D.C. 20006

The building that houses the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) is indicative of Brutalist architecture with its blocky concrete shape. The CFPB is planning a renovation on the building that is expected to cost taxpayers a whopping $207 million if all renovation options are implemented. This price is approximate to the price of a Class A office building. [Photo via Mark Plummer]

1625 I St NW
Washington, D.C. 20006

3. The Sunderland Building

1320 19th St NW, Washington, D.C. 20036

Completed in 1969, the monolithic Sunderland Building rises eight stories. As seen in most Brutalism buildings, the windows are set deep into the walls.

1320 19th St NW
Washington, D.C. 20036

4. Embassy of Canada

501 Pennsylvania Ave NW, Washington, D.C. 20001

British Columbia's Arthur Erickson designed the Embassy of Canada with long horizontal shapes and wide open spaces. Despite it being Brutalist, former U.S. Secretary of State James Baker described the structure positively, saying, "I think [it] conveys the warmth and the openness of the people of Canada."

501 Pennsylvania Ave NW
Washington, D.C. 20001

5. U.S. Department of Energy

1000 Independence Ave SW, Washington, D.C. 20585

Since 1977, the James V. Forrestal building has housed the U.S. Department of Energy. It was originally known as the Federal Office Building 5. The building finished construction in 1969 and consists of three structures, each connected by two floors of underground office space. In 1964 while the building was undergoing construction, Washington Post architectural critic Wolf von Eckardt described the structure as "a work of architecture we will probably be proud of," before one year later describing the structure's great length along 10th Street SW as a "pity." New York Times architecture critic Ada Louise Huxtable believed that the design "failed miserably."

1000 Independence Ave SW
Washington, D.C. 20585

6. U.S. Department Of Labor

200 Constitution Ave NW, Washington, D.C. 20216

The U.S. Department of Labor is located in the the Frances Perkins Building. Before being constructed in 1975, the federal building had to obtain air rights in order to be constructed over the I-395 freeway.

200 Constitution Ave NW
Washington, D.C. 20216

7. U.S. Department of Education

400 Maryland Ave SW, Washington, DC 20202

Outside of L'Enfant Plaza Metro station, you can find the headquarters for the U.S. Department of Education. This expansive, blocky building is located alongside many other federal buildings in the neighborhood.

400 Maryland Ave SW
Washington, DC 20202

8. U.S. Dept. of Health & Human Services

200 Independence Ave SW, Washington, D.C. 20201
A rectangular building with a concrete vaulted facade with many windows. There is a sign outside of the building that reads: United States Department of Health and Human Services. Photo via Getty/SAUL LOEB/Stringer

Say hello to the Hubert H. Humphrey building. When it was renamed, this became the first federal building dedicated to a living person. Humphrey served as U.S. Vice President and as a U.S. Senator from Minnesota. This building was originally known as the South Portal Building when it was constructed in 1977.

200 Independence Ave SW
Washington, D.C. 20201

9. U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development

451 7th St SW, Washington, D.C. 20410

The 10-story Robert C. Weaver Federal building was named after the first Secretary of Housing and Urban Development and the first African American Cabinet member. The architect of the building is Marcel Breuer, who is also known for having designed the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York City. In 2008, the development was added to the National Register of Historic Places.

451 7th St SW
Washington, D.C. 20410

10. Estelle and Melvin Gelman Library

2130 H St NW, Washington, D.C. 20052

In George Washington University, you'll find this Brutalist library that rises seven stories and contains over two million volumes. The building was constructed in the 1970s and was renovated in 2012 for $16 million in order to provide more natural lighting and open space as well as a digital media lab.

2130 H St NW
Washington, D.C. 20052

11. Joseph Mark Lauinger Library

3700 O St NW, Washington, D.C. 20057-1174

The Lauinger Library is the main library for Georgetown University. Constructed in 1970, this library holds 1.7 million volumes as well as archival documents related to Georgetown.

3700 O St NW
Washington, D.C. 20057-1174

12. Hirshhorn Museum

700 Independence Ave SW, Washington, D.C. 20591

Gordon Bunshaft's intention when designing the Hirshhorn was to make the building stand out as much as possible by designing the museum of contemporary and modern art in a cylindrical shape made out of concrete and supported by four legs. New York Times architecture critic Ada Louise Huxtable wasn't too pleased with the design. In 1974, she wrote, "It totally lacks the essential factors of esthetic strength and provocative vitality that make genuine 'brutalism' a positive and rewarding style."

700 Independence Ave SW
Washington, D.C. 20591

13. J. Edgar Hoover FBI Building

935 Pennsylvania Ave NW, Washington, D.C. 20535-0001

The J. Edgar Hoover building has been described everything from something out of outer space by NPR's Catesby Leigh to a black hole and an urban sin by Washingtonian's Arthur Cotton Moore. It is also described as "one of the most valuable development opportunities ever to become available in downtown Washington" by The Washington Post as the FBI debates where its next headquarters will be, leaving the nearly 6.7 acre-property up for grabs.

935 Pennsylvania Ave NW
Washington, D.C. 20535-0001

14. Washington Hilton Hotel

1919 Connecticut Ave., NW, Washington, D.C. 20009

With a double-arched design, the Washington Hilton Hotel was built in 1965 by William B. Tabler, Sr., an American architect who designed more than 400 hotels. Since the hotel opened, it has hosted events like the White House Correspondents Association annual dinner as well as musical performances by artists like The Doors and Jimi Hendrix. In March 30, 1981, the hotel was also the site of an assassination attempt on U.S. President Ronald Reagan.

1919 Connecticut Ave., NW
Washington, D.C. 20009

15. The Watergate Hotel

2650 Virginia Avenue Northwest, Washington, D.C. 20037
An aerial view of the Watergate hotel. The hotel has an oval shape and a facade with concrete balconies. There is a swimming pool in the central part of the hotel in a courtyard. Photo via Wikimedia Commons/Library of Congress

This hotel is known for scandal, a still unexplained garage collapse, and a fairly pricey renovation that is expected to give the Brutalist building's guest rooms an "urban resort" feel.

2650 Virginia Avenue Northwest
Washington, D.C. 20037