The Windowless Wonder or known by its real name the Buffalo City Court Building, designed by Pfohl, Roberts, and Biggie has been called by some the “epitome of Brutalist architecture.” With its modular design and exposed concrete exterior, it closely follows the Brutalist style, characterized by fortress-like structures, and exposed concrete construction. Brick construction has also been used in some instances in combination with concrete.
Perhaps the most Brutalist aspect of the Buffalo City Court Building is not a specific architectural element, but the imposing feeling you can get from it, which is a common theme among Brutalist architecture.
Unique to this building are its narrow windows, nearly invisible from a distance, they were conceived to remove distractions from the courtrooms and judge’s chambers.
Charles, Prince of Wales was a notable critic of the Brutalist style, calling some of the buildings “piles of concrete.” Despite his comments and the criticism of others, the Brutalist style was popular from the 1950s to the mid-1970s and examples still remain today in countries around the world. It is thought that architects adopted the style because they resonated with its honesty and sculptural qualities.
The Brutalist style also was easy to use at a low cost so this could also have been a motivation for architects. This is especially significant considering the time period, after World War II many countries needed to rebuild so a popular style that cost less would have certainly been attractive. For this reason, Brutalism gained considerable popularity in the United Kingdom.
Brutalist architecture was used mainly in educational buildings, government projects, high-rise housing and shopping centers. Although it has not been used much since the 1980s, some think the style originally gained popularity as a reaction to the carefree, optimistic, and frivolous style seen in the 1930s and 1940s architecture.