the factory is an architectural masterpiece


Owen Williams, Boots Packed Wet Goods Factory, (1930-1932)

 Owen Williams’s most successful daylight factory — one for which he is justifiably famous — is also the first project for which he served as both architect and engineer. It is considered a masterpiece of the Modern Movement. However, its style did not emerge from the European modernist line but from American concrete technology and industrialized construction methods.

 Williams’s atrium roof — a steel truss with cast concrete purlins and a concrete slab punctuated with cylindrical glass block skylights — was to become a Modern Movement standard. His use of slender steel framed glazing, where coupled frames are used to create ribbons of glass, was a new development that also became central to the Movement.