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In his essay, “On Trial 1: The situation. What architecture of technology?,” published in1962, Reyner Banham called the suspended ceiling a “Utopian or a Dymaxion dream.” He maintained that suspended ceilings had achieved a degree of industrialization, flexibility, and interchangeability of parts—accommodating a range of services such as heating and cooling, ventilation, lighting, sound, fire-extinguishing, acoustic control, etc.—that far surpass the limited functions of exterior paneling or curtain-wall systems. “Taken grosso modo, one-offs, off-the-pegs, standardized and specialized,” he wrote, “all together, suspended ceilings represent probably the greatest achievement to date in accommodating technology to architecture.” Yet, despite its remarkable all-pervading presence, in Banham's view, the suspended ceiling had been unremarked in the mythologies of modern architecture. “No one is for or against suspended ceilings,” he argued, “and yet they constitute one of the most sophisticated elements in the technology of architecture.”  View more View full description
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