Certainly, St. Agnes church, as well as other brutalist structures, does not convey an idea of beauty nor elegance for many, but this was not the intent of its creator. Quite the contrary, Werner Düttmann wanted to question architecture’s aesthetic values of his time as well as a certain type of cultural hegemony, the one from the United States, which together with the Soviet one competed, trying to establish a building practice above the other in Europe.
Structures designed in the 1950s reflect a particular socio-economic situation of their era: due to the bombing during World War II, European cities found themselves devastated and mutilated, so – in the following years – there was a need to build new buildings at moderate costs. Brutalism was the solution: a rough and inexpensive solution. From the beginning of the Cold War, it received a great consensus from civil society, especially from the left parties supported by socialists and communists. It is no coincidence, therefore, to find buildings and brutalist architecture in countries of the former Soviet Union.
The USSR made this design style its distinctive element, since it fully reflected the ideals it promoted: solidity, functionality and economic convenience. From this point of view, many institutional and social buildings were built, capable of accommodating a large number of people, where the key element became concrete, because it was cheap and simple, capable of expressing strength and power. After USSR fall at the end of Cold War, this kind of architectural expression has been demonized and the entire world lost many examples of brutalist architecture.