Breuer became known for such institutional structures. Throughout the 1960s, he and many other American architects used prefabricated concrete panels (formed in a reusable mold, instead of poured in situ) for such sturdy, large-scale constructions. In 1962, Breuer completed the IBM Research Center in La Gaude, France, and the Robert C. Weaver Federal Building in Washington, D.C., in 1968. Both buildings are curved, which allows for more light. Breuer used what Bergdoll called an “externalized concrete frame,” making concrete into not just a building material, but a finished exterior surface.
“It’s almost a reversal from the tradition of the American steel-frame skyscraper where the structure is internalized and the skyscraper can be clad in a non-load-bearing enclosure,” said Bergdoll. “His move toward the concrete facade is taking structure to the exterior and freeing up a lot of space inside.”