We often find ourselves engrossed in movies. Movies are part of visual media, and mood-setting is according to how viewers accept it emotionally. Architecture plays a huge role in the mood setting of a movie. The art of designing space reflects the mood of the users psychologically. The built environment is essential for the actors to get into character and helps in effectual storytelling. The success of any movie is when an intended message is conveyed, or at the very least, it is enjoyable to the audience. What elements of architecture help in this process? How does visual graphics play with the mind of viewers? 

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Movie set design©httpsthespaces.comexplore-forgotten-legacy-spanish-hollywood

Architecture and Humans | Moods in Movies

Designing a space is a difficult task. It needs to fulfil basic standards and the user’s requirements to make the stay comfortable.

Lighting, ventilation, colour palette, utility, accessibility, acoustics, and aesthetics are some of the main factors affecting the mental status of the occupant. Places we spend our maximum time in have a long-term effect on our mental health. It affects our productivity and energy levels as well. 

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Pscychology behind architecture of horror©httpswww.academicstudiespress.comasp-bloghow-places-creep-us-out

Proper separation of space is an important aspect. It is done based on the activities carried on the particular space. For example, bedrooms are sometimes designed in a darker tone than the living area. The user immediately gets into a lethargic or active mood according to the space they are in. Composition, scale, proportion, and cultural and historic aspects also affect architecture. It represents the people who are part of that built environment. The psychology behind architecture is determined by a lot of factors. Architecture serves to provide shelter and comfort to its users.

Architecture and Movies

Every movie is a story at a different time. Setting, location, and production design support the movie to match its genre and script and act as a narrative. Architecture helps to provide depth to any scene. The power of architecture lies in how versatile each style is. It could transform between historical, medieval, and contemporary according to the event created in the scene.

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Tangled movie- Location in narrative ©httpswww.pinterest.compin309552174364925068

Fictional movies are given life thanks to clever architectural ideas. Animations are enjoyable to children due to their bright colour tones, grabbing their attention. Adults who enjoy animated movies view them from a deeper perspective, including the storyline, context, and plot development.

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Inception Movie- Dream bends reality ©httpswww.pinterest.compin309552174364925068

Audiences are brought into the realm of enjoyment because of the characters and the environment surrounding them. Futuristic settings are often seen in movies and obtained from artificial sets and technology. Again, these settings are carefully designed to achieve a film set related to the movie.

Setting up a scene

Ever thought about why art directors play a vital role in movie shoots and what art and architecture do in movies? Professional actors get tremendous support from the acting coach and the entire filming crew to get into the role. The scene played, and the built set always match the pace. Performing in a lively atmosphere while shooting a horror movie is unimaginable. Architecture comes into play in such cases.

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Film setting©httpswww.filmdoo.comblog20200902film-financing-in-the-age-of-covid-19

Temperature, lighting, props, etc. are implemented and adjusted according to the need of the set to get the actors into the mood. Actors need to channel their emotions while playing the characters, some even resort to method acting. Architecture plays a supporting role when it comes to sustaining those emotions. These emotions are what bring a character to life. When these factors align, the movie scene is set to be filmed. 

Mood settings in movies | Moods in Movies

There are several films where actors themselves have admitted to having a seamless flow of action due to the atmosphere created around them. Mood setting in movies helps in setting the theme of the scene, to that of the situation expressed. 

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Home alone House©httpsmashable.comarticlehome-alone-airbnb-christmas

The spirit of Christmas is brought forward in many movies. Home alone is certainly one of them. The comedic acts of the actors have engaged the audience and have successfully brought over a Christmassy mood to the audience. The house is one of the main characters, bringing forward the joy and colours of Christmas.

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Jodhaa Akbar ©https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0449994/

Architecture helps to set the timeline of the story. Jodhaa Akbar is a great example to prove this statement. The movie plot revolves around the life of Mughal ruler Akbar and his Hindu wife, Jodhabhai. The location was set in Amer Fort in Rajasthan, influenced by the background of the character being a Rajput.

Harry Potter- Dinner Hall ©https://www.bestproducts.com/fun-things-to-do/news/a2183/harry-potter-valentines-day-dinner-at-hogwarts/

The scale and proportion in architecture address even the tiniest character. We all have wanted to be a part of the Harry Potter movie franchise at least once. The grandeur and warm colour tone of the Great hall are important parts of the Hogwarts Academy. Deciding the houses, dinner and graduation were all celebrated in the great hall. Whenever the hall was shown, in widespan, it showed the enormous number of students in the academy (thus addressing all the characters). 


Architecture is an art that plays with the space around us. Movies often cast architecture as the main character since it engages the viewer in the scene. As a viewer, our emotions change from scene one to the next. It goes up and down as the story develops. The architecture captures the essence of the movie and passes it to the viewer. The overall experience during any movie is more than just the plot. There is music, imagery, character, set, costume, lights, etc. There is a lot of work behind the scenes that need to be appreciated, architecture and art being among them.


Team, E. (2020). In Discussion: Architecture and Film | RMJM Insights. [online] RMJM. Available at: https://rmjm.com/architecture-and-film/.

Project Helping. (2018). How Building Architecture and Layout Affect Mood: A Guest Post by Gary Ashton. [online] Available at: https://projecthelping.org/architecture-layout-mood/.

Romullo Baratto (2017). How Architecture Speaks Through Cinema. [online] ArchDaily. Available at: https://www.archdaily.com/872754/how-architecture-speaks-through-cinema.

Allplan (n.d.). Architecture in film: When buildings play the leading role. [online] blog.allplan.com. Available at: https://blog.allplan.com/en/architecture-in-film.

Times of India Blog. (2019). Architecture in cinema. [online] Available at: https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/blogs/space-conception/architecture-in-cinema/.

By PDH Academy (2017). Architecture and its Effect on Mood and Physical Well-Being – PDH Academy. [online] PDH Academy. Available at: https://pdhacademy.com/2017/11/06/architecture-effect-mood-physical-well/.


Based in the Dubai, Akshaya Ashok Kumar is a young Architect keen on exploring the integrity of architecture as a profession . She believes that architecture is more than just building spaces and structures. Being an introvert by nature, she voices out her thoughts through words.