Brutalist architecture is a form of modernism that flourished in the 1940s and 50s. The term originates from the French word for “raw” and was used by famed architect, Le Corbusier, to describe a building material he favored – béton brut (raw concrete). Brutalist also hints at totalitarian regimes where edifices like this have stood for generations.
Brutalism has been criticized as disregarding the social, historic, and architectural environment of its surroundings – often appearing out of place and alien. That appears to be the case here. It’s hard to tell what this modernist building is from the outside. Set back off the busy street, it has a secluded entry under an overhang that juts out like a jet wing.
“Buildings like this are on almost every block in Berlin,” says Libby Farr, PhD, a Hollywood Towne House resident who teaches History of Architecture at Marylhurst College and has led many tours of European cities.
Rising eight stories near one of Bus 75’s busiest stops (Hollywood Transit Center), the Hollywood Towne House offers apartments with balconies and an outdoor pool. Directly across the street is an exit ramp from I-84, a 24-Hour Fitness facility, and a Trader Joe’s.
It’s hard to tell what this modernist building is from the outside. Set back off the busy street, it has a secluded entry under an overhang that juts out like a jet wing.
Every floor features faux wood paneling and dark, drab hallways with large images of Hollywood (LA not PDX) icons. But once you enter an apartment, the dark gives way to light that fills the room through spacious windows and a double-wide sliding glass door.
“It’s a nice, quiet place,” says Farr. “It surprises me how much it feels like a house. All my art fits the walls and I can stand on my deck and watch the sun set.” Across the street, Farr sees homeless people panhandle drivers coming off I-84. “I wonder where they sleep at night. Where do they go? I’ve heard there’s a homeless camp nearby.”
Besides leading tours of Europe, Farr has also given local tours of Dignity Village. “We need more affordable housing and places for the homeless to go, like Dignity Village.” she says. “We need to preserve our history and build economic housing for the future.” In today’s modern, affluent age, it would be brutal not to.