Star Wars is one of the most successful science-fiction franchises in history, for obvious reasons of course. The 1977 movie had set a benchmark for science-fiction movies for at least a few decades. One of the most striking qualities of the Star Wars franchise was its other-worldly architecture. From the first movie to the latest live-action series, The Mandalorian, the architecture of the Star Wars franchise has always been fascinating.
With all the wars and alien invasions going on, one can’t help but admire the amazing setting of the franchise.
The architecture of this ever-growing franchise has always inspired architects and designers. However, most of the buildings drew inspiration from real-world locations. As architects, you may recognize the traditional architecture from around the world, including Spain, and other parts of Europe, Africa, America, and so on.
We get to see those traditional buildings in a different light. It is interesting to see those buildings with a science-fiction setting. This bold idea has only been adopted by George Lucas, who claims to be a fan of Victorian artifacts and all kinds of old things.
Here, we will explore the architecture of a few places shown in the Star Wars Franchise.
1. Planet Coruscant
It was known as the Imperial Center during the rule of the Galactic Empire. The beautiful planet is a combination of futuristic and traditional architecture. Both completely different styles are designed in such a way that they both complement each other. We see high skyscrapers that are combined with elements of Art Deco or Art Moderne architecture.
Additionally, there are re-imagined pyramidal buildings. Meanwhile, the Jedi Temple there is covered with pseudo-Gothic ornamentation. In a way, the temple shares similarities to a European cathedral, more like somewhere in Vienna, Austria. The Jedi Temple has five towers; the tallest is called Tranquility Spire. It is similar to the minarets surrounding the Hagia Sophia in Istanbul.
2. Planet Tatooine
It is the homeland of Luke Skywalker and one of the few places we saw in the first Star Wars movie. The place was covered in a desert land and it showed earthy and charming architecture. The entire place was covered domed adobe buildings, reminiscent of Berber granaries of Tunisia such as the Ksar Ouled Soltane. The dwellings are surrounded by large courtyards and the bedroom and kitchen are cave-like spaces with ragged windows and storage nooks.
3. Planet Naboo
It is a bountiful planet and home to the Gungan species and a population of humans known as the Naboo. The scenes were shot in a few places in Spain and Italy. Compared to the outskirts of the planet, the capital of Naboo in the Star Wars had more traditional and classical architecture. For the City of Theed, Spain was chosen as its location, where the franchise featured a beautiful Spanish Square that was semicircle in design.
The open-to-air plaza was covered with fountains, a canal, and an elegant colonnade. The area was designed by Spanish architect Anibal Gonzalez for the 1929 World Exhibition in Seville. The architectural style of that place is traditional revival. Meanwhile, the interior scenes of Theed Royal Palace were filmed in the 18th-century Italian palace.
The real name of the palace is the Royal Palace in Caserta, which is located near Naples in Italy. The palace is covered with arching doorways, iconic columns, and marble corridors.
4. Battle Cruisers
All of the battle cruisers featured in Star Wars are said to be examples of Suprematist architecture. It is an art movement that focuses mainly on geometric forms like circles, squares, lines, rectangles, and other shapes that are painted in a limited range of colors.
The term “suprematism” refers to an abstract art based upon “the supremacy of pure artistic feeling”, rather than on the visual depiction of objects. It was developed by Russian artist Kazimir Malevich in the 1910s. This art movement is somewhat related to the Cubo-futurist movement that also took place in the 1910s.
The architecture of Star Wars was not only limited to buildings, rather it was a whole combination of cities, buildings, ships, and other structures. Take the Death Star for example. It is estimated to have been housed by 1.7 million military personnel and 400,000 droids. Both the first and the second Death Stars represented the classical symmetry and Brutalist infrastructure. It is these details that made the Star Wars franchise so popular.
The architecture in Star Wars blends in with the scene so perfectly that it seems like the architecture is where it is supposed to be.
However, it is not only these real-life architectural styles and art movements that inspire the architecture of the Star Wars franchise; the opposite is true as well. In 2017, Disney announced their plans to build the world’s largest hotel inspired by the Millennium Falcon, which was set to open in 2020, but was delayed due to several issues and is still under construction. Moreover, there is a galactic family home in Taiwan, which drew inspiration from an imperial ship.
When we think about the link between real-life architecture and Star Wars architecture, the latter doesn’t seem so outer-spatial.
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