Paper + Scissors = Concrete: Brutal London Cut-outs by Zupagrafika

Matt Shaw Matt Shaw

Brutalism gets a bad rap for its over-bearing scale and sweater-snagging rawness. Polish studio Zupagrafika wants to challenge this perception by making several brutal icons of London into small, cut-out paper models. By introducing an element of arts and crafts (the pastime, not the movement), the foldable models cast brutalism as something miniaturized and makeable.

Balfron Tower. All cut-out images courtesy of Zupagrafika.

Balfron Tower by Emö Goldfinger. Photo via Wikimedia Commons

The cut-out series features buildings from Camden, Southwark, and Tower Hamlet in London. The tower blocks and streets in the sky of Balfron Tower, the unmistakable cylinder of Space House, the controversial council estates Robin Hood Gardens and Aylesbury Estate, and the pre-fab panels of the Ledbury Estate.

Space House by Richard Seifert. Photos by Nick Weall, via e-architect

Once a cheap way of making municipal buildings from concrete – most notably large-scale social housing – Brutalism gained popularity as a formal vocabulary across the world in the 1950s-1970s. It was used for many American campus buildings, and even some government buildings in places like Washington D.C. and Boston. It also became en vogue in England, where it was popularized in pop culture.

Robin Hood Gardens by Alison and Peter Smithson. Photo via Wikimedia Commons

Ledbury Estate by GLC Architects Department. Photo via Amanda Vincent-Rous on Flickr

All of the buildings are made into illustrated models that show the details of each façade. They are printed on recycled paper and include data about the architects, construction, and demolition plan if applicable. The models are for sale on the Zupagrafika website and come in packaging as beautiful as the models themselves.

Aylesbury Estate by Hans P. Trenton. Photo via Wikimedia Commons

And here, for good measure:

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