Banham states that around the time of the First World War, European architects discovered American non-architecture, not for the first and not for the last time. He goes on to clam that the discoveries of the American factories and grain elevators that captivated European modernists not new or radical, but in fact part of a long history. Banham explains the transition of masonry wall to brick pier structure as the first in a move toward a frame type. He claims this shift to be entirely economically motivated. He continues with a description of the detailing integrated into masonry and brick pier factories to begin his speculation on the transition from a connectivity of parts to a monolithic frame.
Video Archive | Brick Pier (2)
Banham starts by demonstrating the massive difference in daylighting between masonry and concrete frame construction and states this as the motivating factor for the material transition. But the technology as well as the architectural intent followed a much longer path, and Banham describes this in detail while evaluating projects based on their architectural proximity to a true expression of a reinforced concrete frame type.