Above: The Brutalist Lincoln House designed Mary Otis Stevens and Thomas McNulty. Located in Lincoln, Massachusetts the concrete and glass home was completed in 1965. Photo: Julius Shulman / Getty Archives
They say it’s hard to love a Brute (I’m personally a fan of the style) and it is an important example of architectural history currently at most risk. Some Brutalist buildings have been granted heritage status (like Habitat 67 in Montreal and the Trellick Tower in London) but most end up under a bulldozer with few grieving the loss. A great example of American Brutalism was the Lincoln House designed by Mary Otis Stevens. Located in Lincoln, Massachusetts the concrete and glass home was completed in 1965 and demolished in 1999. Perhaps the biggest misconception about Brutalism lies in the name. While it is true many Brutalist buildings look ‘brutal’ the name is actually derived from the original French phrase, ‘Beton Brut’ meaning raw or unfinished concrete.
One of few women architects in America during the ’60s and ’70s, Mary Otis Stevens graduated from MIT Architecture in 1956 after a previous liberal arts education at Smith College. MIT in those years was a vibrant intellectual and artistic environment. Alvar Aalto was a visiting professor while he was designing an MIT dormitory; Eero Saarinen was a visiting lecturer while working on the auditorium and chapel; and Buckminster Fuller, who happened to be a close family friend, spent part of each spring term at MIT while Stevens was a student. “We often lunched together and Bucky spent time with my classmates which pleased them but not always the faculty, who did not welcome his geodesic domes filling up their studios!” Although at that time few women were engaged in the design professions, that did not affect the milieu that Stevens associated with in the Boston-Cambridge area, well known for its social and political activism. After briefly working for The Architects Collaborative under Walter Gropius, Stevens joined former MIT faculty member Thomas McNulty and several of his colleagues in starting an experimental architectural practice.
Mary Otis Stevens' Lincoln House. Click on image for full view.5642 false true true false true true false auto false ease-in-out 300 auto false 0 true true
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