Running time: 22 minutes
The late Reyner Banham, architectural historian and "eminence grise", was Professor in Art History at the University of California at Santa Cruz at the time of this talk. He went there from Buffalo, where he had chaired the Department of Design Studies in the School of Architecture after a long reign at London University's Bartlett School of Architecture.
His claim to fame came in 1960 with the publication of his doctoral thesis under the title "Theory & Design: The First Machine Age". It was the beginning of a series of best-sellers from his pen, some written while he was still an editor at the Architectural Review in London. These included "Guide To Modern Architecture", "Architecture Of The Well-Tempered Environment", "Los Angeles" and "Megastructure". He also had a devoted following for the articles on all manner of subjects which he contributed over the years to the New Statesman and then to New Society.
In his talk, he discusses the grain elevators of North America and how they constitute a kind of monumental vernacular of the early twentieth century around which gathered powerful myths. It was Walter Gropius (see The Victory Of The Modern Approach Is Sure) who first drew attention to them in an article on the development of modern industrial architecture, yet he, along with most of the early modern architects of Europe, had seen the buildings only in photos.
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