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Films & Architecture: "The Architect"

The Architect, is not a renowned film. We have to admit that there’s not that much unique about it in terms of cinematography. However, for us the plot of this movie is quite relevant. The director uses an specific example, one built utopian residential complex in United States to illustrate the issues that were not considered during design of these uniformity-driven blocks.

Tell us your thoughts about this topic, and what is the kind of responsibility that relies on architects, or on the whole profession of architecture?


Original Title: The Architect Year: 2006 Runtime: 82 min. Country: United States Director: Matt Tauber Writer: David Greig, Matt Tauber Cinematography: John Bailey Soundtrack: Franz Waxman Cast: Anthony LaPaglia, Isabella Rossellini, Viola Davis, Hayden Panettiere, Sebastian Stan, Walton Goggins, Paul James


Architect Leo Waters’ life is in trouble and in order to have some sense of control he attempts to laud over the other members of his family. His career appears to be going nowhere; his wife Julia (Isabella Rossellini) is a bored housewife who spends her time tending to the luxurious modern house he has designed for them; their son Martin drops out of college, and has no interest in taking up his father’s dream of also becoming an architect; their daughter Christina has entered her mid-teens, and her father has started staring at her maturing body in an unfatherly way.

Tonya Neely (Viola Davis) is a black community organizer who lives in the high-rise public housing Leo designed several years before. Her own son committed suicide, her eldest daughter just sits at home all day while her youngest daughter has managed to get a scholarship at a fancy school in a middle-class neighborhood where she lives with a wealthy black family, and feels ashamed of her background and even her own mother. Many of the residents in the housing block want the projects razed, but the local gangs are content to control the blocks where they sell drugs. One day Tonja turns up at one of the lectures Leo gives at the local university school of architecture – where he comes across as a jaded teacher – to confront him over his work and to ask him to sign her petition calling for their demolition. He initially defends his own work, but later comes up with his own idea of how to improve the housing blocks by the addition of glass and artworks. Tonya arrives at his house to see the scheme but is appalled at his approach, especially as he has not even bothered to visit the area to see how it has failed. His wife turns to support Tonya.

Martin had been sitting in the lecture hall when Tanja confronted his father and becomes intrigued enough to visit the area, and begins a friendship with a black boy, Shawn, who turns out to be a gay prostitute, and who initially thinks Shawn has come to the area to pick up men. They end up having sex, anyway. In the meantime, Christina has realised that her own father has started looking at her maturing body too closely: she wishes to escape his overbearing control yet also seek affirmation of her own maturity, for which she puts herself at risk by going to a bar, getting picked up first by a young student but then ditching him for a lorry driver to whom she offers to have sex, but which he refuses. Things come to a head when Julia announces that she is leaving Leo. He goes to the housing block and meets Tonya; he agrees to sign her petition, but she informs him that the authorities have already agree to demolish them. Leo walks to the roof of the block where he unexpectedly bump into his own son.


Previously posted on this section…

Cite:Daniel Portilla. "Films & Architecture: "The Architect"" 14 Aug 2012. ArchDaily. Accessed . <>