Celebrating Reyner Banham III: The Four Ecologies

Catalina Mejia Moreno

Jorge Figueira

June 28, 2022, 17h00



Eliana Sousa SantosJorge Figueira and Paulo Providência, CES researchers,on the occasion of the centenary of Reyner Banham's birth, promote a conference series centred on three aspects of the work of this important British critic. The third conference, focusing on The Four Ecologies, features Catalina Mejia Moreno [(mis)representing ecologies: Banham in LA] and Jorge Figueira (Los Angeles: The Architecture of Four Ecologies) as speakers.

This activity will be provided through Zoom platform and does not require registration. Participation is limited to the number of places available.> https://us02web.zoom.us/j/88901660690 | ID: 889 0166 0690 | Password: 103433


“Los Angeles is instant architecture in an instant townscape. Most of its buildings are the first and only structures on their particular parcels of land; they are couched in a dozen different styles, most of them imported, exploited, and ruined within living memory. Yet the city has a comprehensible, even consistent, quality to its built form, unified enough to rank as a fit subject for an historical monograph. Historical monograph? Can such an old-world, academic, and precedent-laden concept claim to embrace so unprecedented a human phenomenon as this city of Our Lady Queen of the Angels of Porciuncula?
in “The rear-view mirror”, Los Angeles: The Architecture of Four Ecologies, p.21


Los Angeles: The Architecture of Four Ecologies

The fearless and passionate analysis of Los Angeles that Reyner Banham published in 1971 as Los Angeles: The Architecture of Four Ecologies is still the testimony of a free thinker on a strange and apparently unreachable object. Deserving a similar notoriety, which escapes it, to that of Learning From Las Vegas (Robert Venturi, Denise Scott Brown, Steve Izenour, 1972) or that of Delirious New York (Rem Koolhaas, 1978), these three works from the 1970s have in common the desire to figure out three mythical and misunderstood territories of the American nation. Of this trilogy, Los Angeles: The Architecture of Four Ecologies is perhaps the least celebrated and known, but it deserves to be read and thought about in a contemporary context, even if it belongs to a precise era. The proposal of “four ecologies” as the way in which the inhabitants of Los Angeles relate to the city – the beach, the freeways, the flatlands and the foothills – defines a stimulating cartography of the post-urban character of LA that Frank Lloyd Wright had already anticipated, here crossing the pop sensibility of Banham with the emergence of an alternative architectural history.



1. Cover of the book Los Angeles, The architecture of four Ecologies

2. Map of Los Angeles beaches, in Los Angeles, The architecture of four Ecologies


3. Map of Los Angeles free-ways and airports, in Los Angeles, The architecture of four Ecologies


Bio notes

Catalina Mejia Moreno is an architect (U Andes, Colombia) with an MA in History of Architecture from the Bartlett School of Architecture, and a PhD in Theory and Criticism of Architecture from Newcastle University. SHe is currently Senior Lecturer in Climate Studies at the Program on Space Practices at Central Saint Martins, UAL.

Jorge Figueira