Strangely Familiar

Image Credit (on this website): Iain Borden

Strangely Familiar was a cultural and educational initiative which aimed to explore, understand and communicate the complex intersection of architecture, cities and urban living. It did so in three ways:

•Publicly, by presenting and promoting new ideas about architecture and cities to the general public.
•Professionally, by presenting to architects and other urban design professionals new ideas about cities and urban living.
•Academically, through interdisciplinary enquires involving architectural history, art history, cultural studies, feminism, planning, sociology and urban geography.

Strangely Familiar was an affiliation of academics, journalists, designers, policy makers and other urbanists formed in 1994 by Iain Borden, Joe Kerr, Alicia Pivaro and Jane Rendell. Its programme of events occurred 1995-97.

The initial Strangely Familiar programme consisted of a touring multimedia exhibition, four symposia and three publications on the subject of architecture, urban space and urban narratives.


Exhibition London (RIBA Architecture Centre), Manchester (Cornerhouse), Birmingham (The Angle Gallery), Edinburgh (Matthew Gallery), Naples (Istituto Universitario Orientale).

Symposia RIBA Architecture Centre, London, 27 January 1996, Cornerhouse, Manchester, 20 May 1996, The Angle, Birmingham, 6 and 13 July 1996.

Publications Iain Borden, Joe Kerr, Alicia Pivaro & Jane Rendell (eds.), Strangely Familiar, 100pp exhibition catalogue, (Routledge, December 1995).

‘Talking Space with Strangely Familiar’, special issue of Scan (Photographers’ Gallery, London), n.1 (May 1996).

Iain Borden, Joe Kerr & Jane Rendell with Alicia Pivaro (eds.), The Unknown City: Contesting Architecture and Social Space, (Cambridge, Mass.: The  MIT  Press, 2001).Organisers: Iain Borden (University College London)

Joe Kerr (University of North London)Alicia Pivaro (Arts Council)Jane Rendell (Birkbeck College)

Designers: Allford Hall Monaghan Morris Architects (exhibition design), Artec (multimedia)

Strangely Familiar:
Studio Myerscough (graphic/exhibition design)

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