Love Brutalist architecture? There are maps for that

(NYTimes) - The most visibly arresting buildings are, paradoxically, sometimes the most overlooked in the modern cityscape.

But the independent publisher Blue Crow Media celebrates unsung and anachronistic monuments. The company's series of two-sided folded maps are part design manifesto, part urban architecture guide. On one side, notable structures are plotted out; on the flip side, black-and-white photographs highlight the selection, paired with the architects' names, the dates built and the locations.

Derek Lamberton founded Blue Crow Media in 2009. The former journalist settled in London at National Geographic, then branched off on his own to create printed city maps and tandem smartphone apps. At first, he catalogued speciality coffee and craft beer venues in major cities. He published his first architectural map of London in 2015, laying out the city's Brutalist buildings, a style exemplified by imposing structures, many of them concrete.

For each chosen destination - spanning Belgrade to Sydney - he scouts a writer, photographer, designer and developer to execute a city-specific vision. The Modern Berlin Map, introduced by journalist Matthew Tempest, explores both the "neo-Classical gargantuanism of the buildings of the Third Reich" (like Tempelhof airport) and more recent edifices that transform "architecture itself into a kind of mourning" (like the Daniel Liebskind-designed Jewish Museum).

The Constructivist Moscow Map showcases the movement's experimental approach, exemplified by the rippling archways of the 1930s-era Krasnye Vorota Metro Pavilion, or the narrow hexagonal windows of the 1920s-era cylindrical Melnikov House.

Brutalist Boston, released in August, features Marcel Breuer's Madison Park High School and the blocky beauty of City Hall. Concrete New York is the latest release, including the MetLife Building, five buildings owned by Bronx Community College and the TriBeCa Synagogue.

Brutalist style is particularly polarising - as Lamberton put it, such buildings are considered either "eyesores or icons". The revived interest in the aesthetic is not simply about the rotation of the trend cycle; it's an appreciation of the thinking behind the designs.

"This is a style of architecture that embodies a liberal-leaning cultural and political ethos," Lamberton said. "Brutalism is the architecture of a functional and creative government, and a society that values things like urban life, shared space, public housing, civic design, public transport - all things that, frankly, currently seem at risk of disappearing from our culture."