Tuesday, April 13, 2021

Brutalist architecture in Martian science fiction

Brutalism is an architectural style that emerged in the 1950s and grew out of the early-20th century modernist movement. Brutalist buildings are characterized by their massive, monolithic and "blocky" appearance with a rigid geometric style, large-scale use of poured concrete and a predominantly monochrome color palette. The style was popular in 1960s and 1970s in the West and well into 1980s in communist countries and Latin America.

As Brutalism started with an ethos of social utopianism but ended with associations of being cold, inhuman and totalitarian, no wonder it is the most dominant architectural style in dystopian fiction. But it is present also in general science fiction when envisioning a city in future.

One of the flaws of most Brutalist buildings is associated with weather effects on raw concrete, especially in wet and cold climate. Thus, despite being massive and seemingly long-lasting, most of Brutalist buildings are in poor condition today. But it's not a concern on Mars with its dry climate preserving rocks for billions of years. That is one of the reasons movies, TV series, games and art portraying human colonies and bases on Mars is filled with buildings in Brutalist style. Although the truest reason could be that Brutalist architecture with its simple shapes and monochrome colors can be easily reproduced in art, computer graphics and film sets :)

Here are some examples of Brutalist architecture in movies, TV series, video games and art set on Mars:

In movies and TV series

One of the most famous Martian movies - Total Recall (1990) - has some of the purest examples of Brutalist architecture, although most of them in scenes on Earth (filmed in Mexico City):
Brutalist architecture in Total Recall (1990) - Arnold Schwarzenegger

Brutalist architecture in Total Recall (1990)

Brutalist architecture in Total Recall (1990)

Brutalist architecture in Total Recall (1990)

Brutalist architecture in Total Recall (1990) - Pyramid Mines on Mars
Brutalist architecture both indoors and outdoors suits ideally for the militaristic Martian society in The Expanse TV series:
Brutalist Mars colony interior architecture (Asteria Naval Base) in Season 5 of The Expanse
Brutalist Mars colony architecture (Asteria Naval Base) in Season 5 of The Expanse

Brutalist Mars colony interior architecture in Season 4 of The Expanse

Brutalist Mars shipyard architecture in Season 4 of The Expanse

Brutalist apartment architecture on Mars in Season 4 of The Expanse

Brutalist Martian tunnel architecture in Season 4 of The Expanse
There is a small base on Mars in Ad Astra (2019) with long corridors of Brutalist aesthetics:
Brutalist Martian tunnel architecture in Ad Astra movie
The few exterior views in Doom (2005) reveal clear Brutalist architecture:
Brutalist Mars base exterior architecture in Doom movie
In 1990s CGI was low resolution and exterior views in Brutalist style was the most easy choice for low budget movies and TV shows. Here are some mixed-style examples from Ghosts of Mars (2001) action movie and Babylon 5 TV series:
Brutalist architecture in Ghosts of Mars movie

Brutalist Mars Dome One interior architecture in Babylon 5 TV series

In video games


The simple shapes and monochrome colors of Brutalist architecture made it the obvious choice for video games set on Mars, especially in early days.
Martian city and military base in Chaser (first-person shooter, 2003):
Brutalist Martian city architecture in Chaser video game

Brutalist Martian military base architecture in Chaser video game
Most of the structures (which all are destructible in the game) in Red Faction: Guerrilla (third-person shooter, 2009) are in Brutalist style:
Brutalist architecture in Red Faction Guerrilla video game
Orcus Patera base on Mars from Orbiter space flight simulator (2000):
Brutalist Orcus Patera base architecture on Mars from Orbiter space flight simulator
Martian habitats in Project Eagle (interactive Mars base tech demo, 2017):
Brutalist Martian habitat architecture in 'Project Eagle' tech demo
Domed Martian city in Dome City (cancelled VR adventure game, 2016):
Brutalist city architecture in Dome City video game

In art

SpaceX spaceport on Mars by Mike Winkelmann (beeple):
Brutalist SpaceX spaceport architecture on Mars by Mike Winkelmann (beeple)
Green Marsopolis by Annibale Siconolfi (Inward):
Brutalist Green Marsopolis architecture by Annibale Siconolfi (Inward)
Industrial Mars by Evgeny Kazantsev:
Brutalist industrial landscape on Mars by Evgeny Kazantsev
Mars base by George Brad:
Brutalist Mars base architecture by George Brad
 
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