When it comes to a list compiling of movies for architects or related to architecture, m sure most of us including architects and architecture students have seen it all. Though, they all are very informative and interesting, they are mostly educational or a documentary at most. So, breaking the streak is a list of certain mainstream movies which will speak to the architect in you in terms of the set designs or the visualizations. Architecture plays a major role in the story telling aspect of a movie, it sets the tone while also playing an integral part to the screenplay, something that was evident in the recently acclaimed South Korean movie, Parasite. Here is a list of some other movies with a brief description from the perspective of an architect.
1. The Lake House
This is the most unusual movie in the list, a Romcom. The plot revolves around a lake house. The house was built on a lake in Wisconsin and designed by famed Architect and production designer, Nathan Crowley and was demolished once the production was over. The protagonist is an architect and the movie deals with different facets of life of an architect and the house itself, which is essential a glass box with some elements derived from the Regency period of England, it also incorporated some elements of greenhouses too.
2. Blade Runner Series
No other movie is so deeply revered by artists as the Blade Runner series did, the first movie is a cult classic and the visualization and sets were way ahead of its time. The story is set in a dystopian Los Angeles and the architecture reflects the theme of the story and color grading along with other elements like Augmented and mixed reality. The series is credited of kickstarting a design movement popularly known as “Cyberpunk” The architecture is marked by gigantic overpowering skyscrapers each following a prominent geometrical form existing in contrast with the revival architecture, historical buildings and debris of the previous urban sprawl. The overall theme is brutalist in nature with structural and service elements extended and jutting out of the old structures and retrofitted.
Inspired by Santiago Calatrava’s City of Arts and Sciences in Valencia, Tomorrowland tells the story of a futuristic utopia which can be accessed by a selected few. Contrary to the other movies which are set in the distant future, Tomorrowland has an optimism to it and the projected future is utopian in nature contradictory to the dystopian setup of other movies. The shape of the structures is more organic in nature straying from geometrical shapes which is usually the underlying theme for most movies set in the future. The differences end here as the transportation system is navigated by flying vehicles and the expansion is vertical in nature.
The mind-bending flick revolves around architects and their ability to design buildings, augment environments and in other people’s dreams. The kinetic screenplay and set designs coupled with the parallax visualizations sets it apart from other science fictions.
5. The Great Gatsby
No other movie has been able to depict the grandiose and opulence of the roaring twenties as The Great Gatsby. Staying true to its time, it depicted the Gothic Revival and Art Deco styles in its full glory. The screenplay uses the architecture to tell the story, With the large number of rooms and high colossal structures describing the opulence while poverty is depicted with small rooms unable to fit large furniture, the growth of the city and the economy. The movie is nothing sort of a visual spectacle, coupled with a captivating tale and exhilarating performance, it’s a must watch for every artist.
6. The Grand Budapest Hotel
Set in a fictional country, the movie is set in a hotel with heavy influence of Eastern European architecture matched with Art Nouveau and Art Deco designs. The color palette is a riot with a bright pink exterior and the interior dominated by shades of pinks, reds and purples. The set is beautifully and intricately design and gives a fresh perspective on the hidden life of a hotel design.
7. Minority Report
The film is a departure from eccentric depiction of the future and visualizes a credible future based on the predictions of today. It is based on Washington of 2054 which has evolved into three distinct zones: the Washington Capitol area, The bedroom community and decaying part of the city.
Another sci-fi film set in the future, Elysium deals with political and sociological themes is set in a future where the Earth citizens live in poverty while the Elite reside in a space oasis which is derived from the Stanford Torus design, which was one of the proposed design for a space habitat for NASA summer study in 1975.
9. Star Wars series
The Star Wars series has always been leagues ahead of its times with depiction of various civilizations and their environment and architecture. As the plot unfolds, the series shifts between Tatooine, which is a desert planet with its vernacular and primitive desert architecture to Coruscant, a modern metropolis with gigantic urban history, it’s a futuristic concrete and electric jungle with the nature and vegetation replaced by technology. The architecture has a distinct aesthetics of glass and aluminum. There are glimpse of other hypothetical planets and cities like Hoth, Naboo, Bespin etc. The series also incorporates other futuristic features like levitating vehicles and dynamic structures.
10. Aeon Flux
An Avant Garde Sci-fi movie which is set in a walled city in the future. While most movies of the future are set in hypothetical sets and visualizations, this movie uses existing buildings in Germany, notably the Berlin Windkanal and the Benjamin Franklin Conference center Kongresshalle.
Some Honorable Mentions
11. Midnight in Paris
This movie is a montage of Paris thru the lens of Woody Allen showing the viewers the captivating views of the Iconic tourist sites of the city.
12. Vicky Cristina Barcelona
The movie revolves around the city of Barcelona in Spain and gives you a visual walk thru the beautiful city and the works of the ingenious artist and architect, Antoni Gaudi and glimpses of the structures of Santiago Calatrava, who interestingly is the neighbor of the director of the movie, Woody Allen.