The Familiar and the Unfamiliar in Twentieth-Century Architecture

Author: Jean La Marche
Re-examining some of the most important western architecture of the twentieth century
Paper – $40
Publication Date
Paperback: 08/25/2008
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About the Book

This ambitious study uses the concept of the familiar and the avant-garde practice of defamiliarization to reexamine some of the most important buildings of the twentieth century. In approaching the history of twentieth-century Western architecture from the perspective of the architectural subject--the person architects imagine experiencing their work--Jean La Marche reveals new insights into the ways humans are imagined in relation to architecture.

The Familiar and the Unfamiliar in Twentieth-Century Architecture examines the work--written and built--of four seminal twentieth-century architects and firms: Frank Lloyd Wright, Le Corbusier, Aldo Rossi, and the partnership of Robert Venturi and Denise Scott Brown. In separate chapters devoted to analyzing the early writings and architecture of each architect or firm, La Marche uncovers assumptions made about the ways they expect their works to be experienced. Matching the texts the architects wrote with the buildings they were designing contemporaneously, he focuses on the language employed in discussing the subject to reveal the author-architects' distinct voices and points of view. In addressing how the meaning of the familiar and the unfamiliar are altered when we imagine the influence architecture can have on its subjects, La Marche provides a fresh framework for delineating the politics and ethics of the discipline.

About the Author

Jean La Marche, an associate professor of architecture at the State University of New York at Buffalo, is the author of several articles on architectural theory.


"La Marche's assertions are challenging, his bibliography impressive, and his citations thoughtful."--Azure


“The topic of The Familiar and the Unfamilar in Twentieth-Century Architecture is an important and provocative one that has not been fully explored in architecture. The book is well written, clear, articulate, and logically organized. . . . Jean La Marche’s use of language is fresh and without jargon.”--Dana Cuff, author of Architecture: The Story of Practice