The Elements of Modern Architecture Understanding Contemporary Buildings

Antony Radford, Amit Srivastava, Selen Morkoç

This book presents some of the world’s greatest modern buildings, from 1950 to the present, dissected and analyzed through specially commissioned freehand drawings.

This ambitious publication, now revised and expanded, analyzes what makes buildings meaningful and enduring. Organized chronologically, influential buildings from the past seven decades are presented along with detailed consideration of their key characteristics: site and surrounding, space and massing, details and ornamentation, and fenestration and natural light. The wide-ranging case studies cover everything from residences to opera houses and include sites from every continent. The Elements of Modern Architecture reflects on why each building is a memorable contribution to the field of architecture based on its innovative forms, inventive construction, and/or exemplary responses to climate, surroundings, local traditions, and culture.

In an age where computer imagery has become commonplace, the over 2,500 painstakingly hand-drawn images presented in this book help readers return to the core values of understanding memorable architecture: looking with the eyes, engaging through direct physical experience, and questioning how the design responds to place, people, and construction.


Antony Radford


Dr. Antony Radford is an urban designer and emeritus professor of architecture at the University of Adelaide, Australia. His recent books include Understanding Sustainable Architecture and Digital Design: A Critical Introduction.

Amit Srivastava


Dr. Amit Srivastava is an architectural historian at the University of Adelaide who has lived and worked in India and Australia.

Selen Morkoç


Dr. Selen Morkoç is a writer and critic who has practiced and taught architecture and theory in Turkey and at the University of Adelaide, Australia.