The Architectural Uncanny
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The Architectural Uncanny

Essays in the Modern Unhomely

By Anthony Vidler

Anthony Vidler interprets contemporary buildings and projects in light of the resurgent interest in the uncanny as a metaphor for a fundamentally "unhomely" modern condition.

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Summary

Anthony Vidler interprets contemporary buildings and projects in light of the resurgent interest in the uncanny as a metaphor for a fundamentally "unhomely" modern condition.

The Architectural Uncanny presents an engaging and original series of meditations on issues and figures that are at the heart of the most pressing debates surrounding architecture today. Anthony Vidler interprets contemporary buildings and projects in light of the resurgent interest in the uncanny as a metaphor for a fundamentally "unhomely" modern condition. The essays are at once historical—serving to situate contemporary discourse in its own intellectual tradition and theoretical—opening up the complex and difficult relationships between politics, social thought, and architectural design in an era when the reality of homelessness and the idealism of the neo-avant-garde have never seemed so far apart.

Vidler, one of the deftest and surest critics of the contemporary scene, explores aspects of architecture through notions of the uncanny as they have been developed in literature, philosophy, and psychology from the beginning of the nineteenth century to the present. He interprets the unsettling qualities of today's architecture—its fragmented neo-constructivist forms reminiscent of dismembered bodies, its "seeing walls" replicating the passive gaze of domestic cyborgs, its historical monuments indistinguishable from glossy reproductions - in the light of modern reflection on questions of social and individual estrangement, alienation, exile, and homelessness.

Focusing on the work of architects such as Bernard Tschumi, Rem Koolhaas, Peter Eisenman, Coop Himmelblau, John Hejduk, Elizabeth Diller, and Ricardo Scofidio, as well as theorists of the urban condition, Vidler delineates the problems and paradoxes associated with the subject of domesticity.

Hardcover

Out of Print ISBN: 9780262220446 274 pp. | 9 in x 6 in

Paperback

$27.95 T | £22.00 ISBN: 9780262720182 274 pp. | 9 in x 6 in

Reviews

  • Brilliant....Anthony Vidler is a conceptual conjurer of formidable skill.

    J. Mordaunt Crook

    New York Times Book Review

Endorsements

  • An important resource for all garden historians...a wonderful book.

    Penelope Hobhouse

    Garden Writer, Historian, and Designer

  • A monumental and brilliantly illustrated physical and intellectual history of gardens since the Renaissance that belongs in every serious library; invaluable to every student of the overwhelming role of architecture in even the smallest garden.

    Henry Mitchell

    Garden Columnist, The Washington Post