Through the unraveling years, the famous director and the one who is known for his captivating storytelling and groundbreaking movies Christopher Nolan has acquired a visionary approach that is beyond the imagination. Yet Nolan might have never embarked on an artistic pathway if he had sought his creative skills in architecture. In this envisioning, we will investigate how Nolan’s individuality, working area of focus, and specific expression of devastation might materialize in the world of architecture, traveling our minds into the kinds of structures he could build.

Christopher Nolan as an Architect-Sheet1
2006 the Prestige_©

However, Nolan’s films may still suffer from difficulties that audiences are familiar with when trying to interpret events due to the complexity, non-linear narratives, and immersive experiences that they make use of. Likewise, his buildings could defy design conventions and would serve as an especially playful and new experience for users on a space and form path. Like his films did, Nolan’s design would stimulate your mind, move your feelings, and break the limits of imagination.

Staying true to Nolan’s liking for vagueness and sophisticated storylines, his designs could include complex spatial layouts with hidden alleys, as well as interesting changes between light and darkness, creating suspense. These places would garner exploration and contemplation; therefore, the passersby would obtain new viewpoints and stories by winding themselves through this site.

Christopher Nolan as an Architect-Sheet2
Dunkirk Christopher Nolan Best Movie 2017_©

Nolan relies on the human perception that reality is a blend of reality and illusion, which sometimes makes the viewers wonder which is true reality and what doesn’t. For architecture, this means creativity is limitless, seeing buildings that tinker with perception by means of optical illusions, reflections, and changing geometry that put people inside the immersive and surreal experience.

What is more interesting is the fact that Chris Nolan’s architectural style is also a blend between the modernism of a stylish architecture and the intriguing depth of otherworldly tales, separating Nolan’s cinematic stories from the others. Similar to the secrets that are smartly incorporated into his movies, Nolan’s design would most certainly boast abstract lines, and simple standpoints which would point to more profound meanings and the hidden truths. With the combination of square and clean geometrical shapes, together with the undertones of sublet detailing and intricate textures, there will be an ambience of the atmosphere surrounding the building.

Christopher Nolan as an Architect-Sheet3

Nolan sees each space and architecture as text-space, where all lines and angles infuse narrative. Each excerpt creates a vivid canvas for the storytelling. It is the dominant objects within his creations that stand as the representations of power and mystery therefore, one by one is being taken into a mysterious, never-ending world. The streets of this city, which fill you with a feeling of grandeur and authority from the outside, also hold secrets, which you can discover only inside the buildings.

It is easy to envision oneself in a Nolan-designed architectural world where you will be moving among mysterious photographs and through narration that will make you feel the underlying anxiety and frustration more and more. Every room displays an intriguing lure that carries one into that placeless space, able to generate questions and multiple interpretations. The play of light and darkness adds to the overall atmosphere too, revealing the shadows hiding in darkness and illuminating objects in the dark.

Nolan’s architectural style is, in a nutshell, a balanced blend of purpose and excellence, where all the elements are in sync, and there is a sense of continuity, as each element plays its part in the unfolding story. It makes some of the traditional conceptions of space and design in a way, waver and really, to urge the viewers to look beyond their boundaries and be accepting. Through the way he creates his structures, Nolan puts a stop to the fine difference between reality and illusion and asks us to open our minds up and to dig deeper into the secrets of our imagination and soon realize that inanimate objects may have underlying meanings.

Drawing from Nolan’s cinematic style his buildings could possibly be quite powerful and geometrical but somewhere there would be small details that could be seen as clues to what may have happened in the past. As the structures are not merely functional but they also create experienced based spaces that engages the senses and sparks contemplation. The structure of these buildings would be similar to Nolan’s works, dabbling between real and unreal, creating an ambiance that would make the guests address their immediate surroundings and unearth their secrets within the building.

By outlining the proximity of Nolan’s vision with the works of Frank Gehry or Zaha Hadid, who used the sculptural forms and the fluid geometries, respectively, one may be enthusiastic to use the similar effect. Similarly to these inspiring architects, Nolan will work on new notions of design and space, which will be the cornerstones of a new epoch in architecture: one of experimentation and innovation.

In the end, this would be the evidence to ascertain his incredible capacity as a creative person, an architect, and a storyteller. Such buildings would not only change the material landscape but also make a mark on our way of thinking and how we interact with our surroundings. Just as his films, they would leave a unique heritage and a footprint for future generations, opening new ways to understand architecture and the essence of human existence. While we begin this speculative quest into the world of Nolan-architecture, we remember that we are at the core of the limitless plausibilities perched at the intersection of the image and the design.


Editor, I.A.F. (2021) Masterclass: I am Christopher Nolan, I AM FILM. Available at:

Drake (2020) The 109th best director of all-time: Christopher Nolan, The Cinema Archives. Available at: 


Lara Tikenogullari, a wandering mind immersed in the infinite subtleties of architecture, seeks to explore and share the intricate delights with fellow architects and those who embrace a common love. This journey will host myriad discussions, not only about the field of architecture in terms of design but also its relationship with humanity, time, history, and so much more.