Minecraft’s Brutalist Build Yields Beauty

Created by Wuxa, image via BlockWorks

The Minecraft Brutalist Build yielded some rather attractive results as part of RIBA’s Day of Play earlier this month. The Brutalist Build was a partnership between RIBA (the Royal Institute of British Architects) and BlockWorks, a team or artists, architects and designers who specialise in Minecraft projects.

For this event a multiplayer server was set up for a week and players could log in to build their own Brutalist-inspired creation in plots of Minecraft land.

I was wondering how much of that would be a case of using the monumental blockiness I remembered from my vanilla Minecraft [official site] days and perhaps applying a monochrome effect. That’s not supposed to sound derogatory, it’s because Minecraft’s toolset actually lends itself to Brutalist-ish structures so I wasn’t sure how participants would have taken the idea – whether they would have hearkened back to that older architecture or if this would be something different entirely.

There’s a massiveness to a lot of the early blocky buildings I used to find and create. They weren’t there to be delicate and swooping, nor could they achieve that effect (hence the time I cried about a Tate project in Minecraft). There’s a sturdiness, and an abundance of concrete-like exposed materials which fits the bill when it comes to Brutalism. Bompas & Parr (an adventurous food collective) made a concrete birthday cake for the Barbican Centre once and the exposed glass-wax-in-concrete reminds me of the ore in Minecraft.

What I’m getting at with this is “and we did a version of it in Minecraft” is generally like fingernails down a blackboard to me, but there are some beautiful and effective creations in this project so hooray!

My favourites are below but you can check out the gallery BlockWorks posted on Imgur for more – some original creations and some replicas of real Brutalist architecture:

Created by Meester_Curly, image via BlockWorks

Created by RobChambers, image via BlockWorks

Created by Lindblumen, image via BlockWorks

Created by RobChambers and petitetealover, image via BlockWorks


  1. pepperfez says:

    More intentionally Brutalist architecture in games, please.

  2. Andy_Panthro says:

    A lot of my early Minecraft builds were unintentionally brutalist. So much cobblestone. Thankfully alternative building materials are easier to come by in modern Minecraft (although more variety is always welcome, but there’s always mods).

  3. geldonyetich says:

    Artistically gorgeous constructions, but I rather pine for some added functionality to go with the appearance. Looking forward to what the modding community comes up with, per usual.

  4. Robert Post's Child says:

    We had some Brutalist buildings on campus at my university – the main one looked like a Halo level, and apparently the internal layout had been specifically designed to prevent student takeover during protests, because that had been kind of a problem before. Turns out all that really meant was finding your classes first week was essentially crapshoot.

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      Phasma Felis says:

      A whole lot of (generally Brutalist) buildings on various campuses all over the US are rumored to have been designed for riot control, and generally it seems to be a myth: link to slate.com

      I can see where someone would think that, though, since with some of them I sure as hell can’t figure out any other reason to make them that way.

  5. KDR_11k says:

    Why greyscale though?

  6. padger says:

    Lovely look to these. Wonderful how people are still finding projects to do in Minecraft. I wonder if it will run forever.

  7. cpt_freakout says:

    Good stuff, but like KDR_11k above, I find the b&w annoying because it sets up the images in a way that easily reproduces all the clich├ęs that get floated around when referring to Brutalist architecture. No, it’s not always ‘oppresive’ and ‘inhuman’ and whatever… just, no.

  8. Radiancekov says:

    They look like Duke Nukem 3D levels for some reason, I love it!