The elementary function of architecture is to realize building concepts with the simplest of means. The dependence of these means on the development of technology determines the laws which govern any particular way of building. The extent to which these laws are recognized and obeyed is an indication of the intelligence and strength of any particular epoch. It is not the invention of forms but the commitment to building which is essential for the development of architecture.
The perfected technology of our age has rendered it possible (for the first time in the history of architecture) to use technology in an almost unrestricted manner. Whereas architects merely employed the new possibilities to continue building formal concepts in a more simple way, the creators of anonymous technical buildings were the only ones to realize that the industrial revolution had radically changed methods of building. Bridges, dams, aeroplanes and ships are evidence of an architecture in which the spirit of our epoch is most clearly expressed. These examples also indicate that this architecture is characterised by an order which grants each individual part a certain necessity.
The attempt to examine the roots of anonymous building on the basis of examples of primitive timber and stone structures does not derive from a yearning for the primitive. The aim of this book is to free the natural results of primitive building from the isolation of tradition and to view them purely as examples of construction. Cone, cube and cylinder are recurrent elements of architecture which belong to a timeless order. These examples are intended to show how, within the limits of geographical dependence, simple ideas on building were clearly and convincingly realised.