Scenes in a Concrete Deserta

Factories are uniquely powerful spaces defined by an interior and virtual horizon line produced by the protective extra coat of paint located in the lower half of the columns and reaching up to a person’s eye-level. This accidental datum, unique to this type of building when it is completely empty, makes visitors feel as if they were in an interior desert.

In his last two books, Scenes in America Deserta (1982) and A Concrete Atlantis (1986), Reyner Banham presented two complementary arguments regarding the agreements and disagreements between Modern Architecture and two American idiosyncratic spaces: the desert and the daylight factory. Although it seems that Banham had been thinking about the desert since 1970, both titles were finally written and published after he had moved to the United States in 1976.

Scenes in a Concrete Deserta explores the mismatching encounters described by Reyner Banham through the manipulation of this interior space by transforming the virtual horizon line into a series of homogeneously distributed virtual volumes.

Project Data

Speculative project


Sergio Lopez-Pineiro
Wesley Lam
Stephen Shchurowsky (Physical models)


Mehrdad Hadighi, ed., Banham in Buffalo