‘Brutalist Plants’ is a new monograph capturing the best of eco-brutalism

'Brutalist Plants,' the new book by Olivia Broome, captures concrete architecture engulfed with nature

Brutalist Plants by Olivia Broome Les Étoiles d’Ivry, Paris, France.Architect: Jean Renaudie
Les Étoiles d’Ivry, Paris, France. Architect: Jean Renaudie
(Image credit: pp1 / Shuterstock)

‘Brutalist Plants’ is a new book featuring an impressive selection of imagery that captures the very best of the trend of 'eco-brutalism'. This texture-rich movement has been gathering attention recently, focusing on brutalist architecture that has been - to varying degrees - embraced by flora, as planting engulfs entire structures, creating a calming concrete jungle for urban living. 

Brutalist Plants by Olivia Broome is published by Hoxton Mini Press

(Image credit: Courtesy of Hoxton Mini Press)

Brutalist Plants by Olivia Broome

With its rough textures and sharp angles, brutalist structures can be divisive and omnipresent - such concrete monoliths contribute to many an urban landscape across the contemporary metropoles of the world. Yet, beauty and softness can be found within their undeniably sculptural, and seemingly harsh forms.

Mailman Center for Child Development, University of Miami, Miami, FL, United States. Architect: Hilario Candela

Mailman Center for Child Development, University of Miami, Miami, FL, United States. Architect: Hilario Candela

(Image credit: Felix Torkar)

Incorporating vegetation can be part of the design offering a new, fascinating layer to the whole - as concrete volumes are intertwined effortlessly with leafy flora, contrasting harsh and soft, and the plants' bright green tones with the material's textured grey. 

Bucharest, Romania

Bucharest, Romania

(Image credit: Bogdan Anghel)

Curated by Olivia Broome, ‘Brutalist Plants’ came from humble beginnings - an Instagram account which gained rapid traction from followers who also shared a love for eco-brutalism, and perhaps the visual juxtaposition between a monochromatic design and sweeping greenery.

Casa Alférez, Cañada De Alferes, Mexico. Architect: Ludwig Godefroy

Casa Alférez, Cañada De Alferes, Mexico. Architect: Ludwig Godefroy

(Image credit: Rory Gardiner)

Working alongside photographers, Broome curated over 150 images of brutalist structures surrounded by nature. The expansive image selection includes designs which have deliberately considered their green context, while others show greenery reclaiming its built environment.

The Barbican Conservatory, London, United Kingdom. Architect: Chamberlin, Powell and Bon

The Barbican Conservatory, London, United Kingdom. Architect: Chamberlin, Powell and Bon

(Image credit: Taran Wilkhu)

Brutalist architecture tends to be associated with a colder, more bare-boned aesthetic. This monograph provides insight into the symbiotic relationship between the style and nature, highlighting its potential within architecture. From earthy roofs to living walls, greens and cool greys provide a poetic contrast and prove that one's existence doesn't have to preclude the other.

Reinforced hillside, Aogashima, Tokyo, Japan

Reinforced hillside, Aogashima, Tokyo, Japan

(Image credit: Yasushi Okano)

Browse the book to discover the pocket garden of Le Corbusier’s Unité d’Habitation, and the lush courtyards and conservatory of London’s Barbican Centre; Broome’s selection takes the reader around the world’s beloved brutalist structures with a verdant twist.

Evangelische Friedenskirche (Peace Church), Monheim-Baumberg, Germany. Architect: Walter Maria Förderer

Evangelische Friedenskirche (Peace Church), Monheim-Baumberg, Germany. Architect: Walter Maria Förderer

(Image credit: Bildarchiv Monheim GmbH /Alamy Stock Photo)

'Brutalist Plants' by Olivia Broome is on sale from 16 May, or available to pre-order from waterstones.com. See more of our favourite new architecture books.

Tianna Williams is the Editorial Executive at Wallpaper*. Before joining the team in 2023, she has contributed to BBC Wales, Ford UK, SurfGirl Magazine, and Parisian Vibe, with work spanning from social media content creation to editorial. Now, her role covers writing across varying content pillars for Wallpaper*.