Early design of reinforced concrete buildings took little account of the structural possibilities peculiar to the material, and it was treated much like steel or masonry, formed into either frames or loadbearing cross-walls. The Arup/Tecton designs for flats broke away from this approach and treated the external wall as part of the structure, so eliminating many columns and beams and facilitating a greater freedom in planning, while, at the same time, achieving economies in construction. However, it seems that architects more used to planning on regular grids took little advantage of this freedom. Later, postwar designs by Tecton used Amp’s ‘box-frame’ structure where internal walls, still not on a regular grid, were loadbearing and where the corresponding elevated treatment was an expression of the absence of structure in the external walls.
D.T. Yeomans and D. Cottam