Builders have never been so prolific as they are today. And never have there been so many technical and design-related options available to architects. Yet contemporary architecture often creates a sense of unease. In their book, Sergei Tchoban and Wladimir Sedow show how the balance between prominent buildings and the buildings around them in the background has been lost in the modern era. Every building strives to assert itself over others - to drown out its peers. At the same time, contemporary architects are capable of developing 'a sense of harmony full of contrasts'. They have a wealth of options at their disposal to this end. After prowling through 2,500 years of architectural history, the authors arrive at what makes modern buildings so particular. They show what contemporary architects must consider in order to create buildings with a satisfactory, harmonious appearance in a new way. 'Sergei Tchoban and Wladimir Sedow do not write about beauty in this essay - certainly not in the sense of defining the term or putting forth a conceptual history. Rather, they write about the relationship between prominent buildings and the nameless buildings around them - the buildings in the background. Or to put it another way, they write about the relationship between architectural monuments and ordinary buildings'.