Films & Architecture: “The Belly of an Architect”

In ArchDaily we have mentioned films, whether because of its content closely related with Architecture, or because of the space, photography, atmosphere, or any other relevant feature to our practice that could mean a certain value through an Architect’s eyes.

From this week and on, we will propose a film for you to watch – enjoy – and comment if you want to share your thoughts about the movie with us. We have already a starting list which still open for your recommendations.

The first movie to introduce is a classic from the ’80, “The Belly of an Architect” by the British director Peter Greenaway.

More info after the break.


Original Title: The Belly of an Architect
Year: 1987
Runtime: 108 min.
Country: United Kingdom, Italy
Writer: Peter Greenaway
Soundtrack: Wim Mertens & Glenn Branca
Photography Director: Sacha Vierny
Cast: Brian Dennehy, Chloe Webb, Lambert Wilson, Sergio Fantoni, Stefania Casini


The American architect Stourley Kracklite has been commissioned to construct an exhibition in Rome dedicated to the architecture of Etienne-Louis Boullée. Doubts arise among his Italian colleagues to the legitimacy of Boullée among the pantheon of famed architects, perhaps because Boullée was an inspiration for Adolf Hitler’s architect Albert Speer.

Tirelessly dedicated to the project, Kracklite’s marriage quickly dissolves along with his health. His physical and social ruin in some way corresponds to the decline of his idol Boullée, who remained relatively forgotten until the twentieth century.

Kracklite becomes obsessed with the historical Caesar Augustus after hearing that Livia, the wife of Augustus, supposedly poisoned him. Kracklite assumes that his own wife Louisa has tried to do the same due to his increasing stomach pains.


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Cite: Portilla, Daniel. "Films & Architecture: “The Belly of an Architect”" 08 May 2012. ArchDaily. Accessed 23 Sep 2014. <>


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    Hi Arch Daily, Your site is well respected due to the quality of its content, its permanent inquisiveness and the frequent update it boasts.
    I would suggest the whole work of Michael Angelo Antonioni can be viewed as an architecture concerned achievement and enhancing films sets.

    La Notte, l’avventura, beyond the clouds his latest work of 1996.
    Enjoy them all.
    pierre a varreon, architect, France

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      Hi Pierre, thanks for your comment. We’ll check the films you propose so we can add them to the list. Regards.

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    I think the most prominent architectural approach in The Belly of an Architect is a kind of confrontation which is typical in Greenaway’s movies. By confrontation I mean the viewpoint of the camera/ viewer toward the scene which is through frontal long shots most of the time. This confrontation resembles a Baroque concept, be it from the viewpoint of the visitor or the building itself.

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