Films & Architecture: “Manufactured Landscapes”

is a Canadian photographer whose work is focused on industrial (and post- industrial) landscapes. His pictures were so inspiring that moved Jennifer Baichwal in 2004 to record a documentary based on them. The result is an impressive film full of really powerful images that questions the limits between natural and artificial.

It seems to be a premonitory view of the current development issues, where the scale of industrialisation processes is such large that is capable to generate a whole new environment. A totally new landscape.

Let us know about your ideas of these “manufactured landscapes” and what can we do with these spaces afterwards?


Original Title: Manufactured Landscapes
Year: 2006
Runtime: 90 min.
Director: Jennifer Baichwal
Cinematography: Peter Mettler
Soundtrack: Dan Driscoll
Cast: Edward Burtynsky


The film involves the photographs and videos of photographer and visual artist Ed Burtynsky’s trip through landscapes that that have been altered by large-scale human activity, captured with Super-16mm film. Most of the photographs featured in the film are pieces that are exhibited all over the world are taken with a “large format field camera on large 4×5-inch sheet film and developed into high-resolution, large-dimension prints (of approximately 50×60 inches)” While some would some call the his work beautiful, his main goal was to challenge notions while raising questions about the of interplay of environmental ethics and aesthetics.

The footage was compiled from a trip to China where Burtynsky visited factories which Western society has come to rely on for most of its appliances, including a factory that produces most of the world’s supply of irons, which is one kilometers in length and employ 23.000 workers. The film also features the Three Gorges Dam which, along with being the largest dam in the world, has uprooted more than one million people and flooded 13 cities, 140 towns and 1350 villages since the beginning of its construction in 1994. Unlike most documentaries there is very little commentary which serves to allow the viewer to take in the images and try to make sense of what they’re seeing, while at the same time “it tries to shift our consciousness about the world and the way we live in it”


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You can watch the whole documentary here…

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Previously posted on this section…

Cite: Portilla, Daniel. "Films & Architecture: “Manufactured Landscapes”" 07 Aug 2012. ArchDaily. Accessed 22 May 2015. <>