Since the emergence of the modern multi-storey building in the late 19th century, screenwriters and art directors have embraced the high-rise building as both backdrop and prop in the drama of feature films. It’s easy to understand the fascination. The precarious nature of a skyscraper – their height, their reliance on competent engineering and emergency systems, and their all-controlling security – provide abundant opportunities for action and disaster. And all with a built-in view.
But while Hollywood loves a high rise, it hasn’t treated them well. Plot lines usually tap into a general scepticism about the kind of engineering feats which make them possible and often carry some underlying moral message about the dangers of technology and advancement.
Architects and students worldwide are highly anticipating the Monday premiere of Archiculture - a documentary that offers a unique glimpse into the world of studio-based, design education through the eyes of five architecture students finishing their final design projects at Brooklyn’s Pratt Institute. The film, directed and produced by two architect-turned-filmmakers Ian Harris and David Krantz of Arbuckle Industries, features exclusive interviews with leading professionals, historians and educators to help create a crucial dialog around the key issues faced by this unique teaching methodology.
Eager to learn more, we sat down with director Ian Harris for an exclusive interview. Read the interview and share your thoughts after the break.
Madrid-based architect Angel Borrego Cubero of Office for Strategic Spaces (OSS) has directed and produced the first documentary focused on the tense process that often characterizes an architectural competition. Appropriately titled The Competition, the film captures a fascinating account on how five world renowned architects – Jean Nouvel, Frank Gehry, Dominique Perrault, Zaha Hadid and Norman Foster – “toil, struggle and strategize to beat the competition.” The premise is based on a nearly forgotten, 2008 competition for a new National Museum of Art of Andorra, a small Pyrenees country nestled between Spain and France, which has yet to be realized.
As we’ve mentioned before, Irish designer Eileen Gray was undoubtedly one of the most influential, and most overlooked, designers of the 20th century. However, a new Kickstarter campaign aims to put that right once and for all. The campaign is seeking funds to help renovate Gray’s seminal house, E-1027, for the production of a feature film about the architect.
From Frank Lloyd Wright to Oscar Niemeyer and the 2013 Pritzker Prize laureate Toyo Ito, this short film features a series of excerpts from interviews, speeches and documentaries of the most influential Architects from the past 70 years who have shaped the notion of Architecture. As described by the video’s producer, viaViLi, “this accumulation of scenes some how expresses the condition of Architecture today – its moments of Glory and Misery.”
You would think that of all film genres, Science Fiction would be the one least likely to feature real buildings. It stands to reason that production designers would want to avoid connections with things so grounded in reality. But in fact, there is somewhat of a tradition of using modern architecture as a foundation for the creation of fictional film worlds.
Science fiction relies on an audience believing in the world they are presented with. Clever camera work, perspective design, and temporary materials can only do so much. What often tips the balance in favour of using real, Modern buildings – rather than a temporary set – is the authenticity and atmosphere they provide the Science Fiction genre.
Read about Modern architecture in Sci-Fi films Blade Runner, Gattaca, Aeon Flux, and more, after the break…
This article comes courtesy of Charlotte Neilson, the author of the fascinating design blog Casting Architecture. Her column, Through the Lens, will look at architecture and production design in TV and film.
The categorisation of period architecture generally remains firmly in the realm of the professional or amateur enthusiast – let’s face it, you can go through life without knowing the difference between a Corinthian and Ionic column without too much inconvenience. Oddly, however, most people are able to name a few of the main features of Art Deco architecture fairly easily – the curved corners, stylised forms, the use of bakelite and chrome, the transport motifs.
It’s interesting that this period is so much more familiar to us, considering it spanned quite a short timeframe compared to other architectural styles; the Arts and Crafts and Art Noveau movements, for example, which both occurred in a similar time frame to Art Deco, are much less known to the wider community.
It’s possible of course that Art Deco is just more omnipresent because of its universal appeal, or its uniqueness, but I think most of the credit should go to Monsieur Hercule Poirot.
Learn more about Agatha Christie’s contribution to Art Deco, after the break…
This article was written by Armen Karaoghlanian for Interiors, an online journal run by Armen and Mehruss Jon Ahi, published on the 15th of each month, in which films are analyzed and diagrammed in terms of space. It has been revised and re-published with permission.
Michael Haneke, known for his cold, disturbing and bleak films, such as Funny Games (1997), Caché (2005) and The White Ribbon (2009), goes for a little compassion with his latest, Oscar-nominated film Amour (2012). The film, which explores the private life of a married couple, Georges (Jean-Louis Trintignant) and Anne (Emmanuelle Riva), is a meditation on how individuals cope with the loss of a loved one.
Haneke sets his film within a single location, a Parisian apartment, which was constructed in a soundstage. The filmmaker, who often obsesses over the sound and production design in his films, had complete freedom with the construction of this space. In The Hollywood Reporter, we learn about how specific he was with the design of the space itself. “The crew had to install and reinstall the parquet floor to make sure it creaked just right.” In lieu of shooting on actual locations, Michael Haneke recreated an entire location according to his specifications to create the space he desired for his film.
Read more about how the spaces in Amour allow for the story to unfurl, after the break…
1960’s Chicago: cars zooming down Lake Shore Drive, crowds heading into the Opera House, people observing artworks in the Art Institute, and Chicagoans laying around Grant Park on a sunny day. These are just a few of the scenes captured by amateur filmmaker Margaret Conneely in her film The City to See in ’63. The people, neighborhoods, and architecture of Chicago are all captured in this well-crafted 12-minute, 16mm color film taped in 1962.
The film captures some key architectural sites in Chicago, including the construction of Marina City. In addition, there are clips of a few buildings that no longer exist such as the Chicago Sun-Times building, demolished in 2004; White Sox Park, demolished in 1991; and the first McCormick place, wrecked in 1967.
Conneely also covers different neighborhoods of Chicago including Lincoln Park, Logan Square, Garfield Park, and old Maxwell Street.
As shown in the film, Chicago has always been known for its spectacular array of architecture. To see more current architectural sites in Chicago, view our Architecture City Guide: Chicago.
This article comes courtesy of our friend and cenephile Charlotte Neilson, the author of the fascinating design blog Casting Architecture, which discusses architecture and production design.
The life of a building – a few hundred years, if a building is lucky – is just a blip when compared to the billions of years required to shape the natural landscape. Even briefer is the work of a film maker: a pursuit created for momentary entertainment, which reaches completion in just a couple of hours. Strange then, that film has often stepped in to preserve buildings who have met an early demise.
While Architecture and Film have always had an uncomfortable relationship (be it the movie industry’s portrayal of modern buildings as cold and soulless – and usually associated with less than savory occupants or the stereotyping of Architects themselves as delicate, impractical types), the inclusion of a building in a feature film can often become an important part of a building’s story. And sometimes its last bastion.
More on Architecture preserved on Film, after the break…
With awards season in full swing, Hollywood’s sparkly razamtaz occupies our television screens. But what about the unsung, architectural heros of film? What about the films that are less ‘Schindler’s List’ and more ‘Schindlers Hauser’, less ‘Wrath Of Kahn’ and more ‘Louis Kahn’. We look past the panoply of stars to bring you 30 of the best Architecture Documentaries which will provoke, intrigue and beguile in 2013.
This article comes courtesy of ArchDaily friend Charlotte Neilson, the author of the fascinating design blog Casting Architecture, which discusses architecture and production design. Charlotte is not only a dedicated cinephile but also an honours graduate of the University of Newcastle, Australia.
We all know that psychopaths prefer contemporary design. Hollywood has told us so for decades. The classic film connection between minimal interiors and emotional detachment (see: any Bond adversary) or modern buildings and subversive values is well documented – and regrettable. The modernist philosophy of getting to the essence of a building was intended to be liberating and enriching for the lives of occupants. Hardly fair then that these buildings are routinely portrayed with villainous associations.
What the representation of Modernist architecture in film tells us about our society, after the break…
Alred Hitchcock (13 August 1899 – 29 April 1980), who would have turned 113 today, is often known as the “Master of Suspense.” But we here at ArchDaily would like to tweak that moniker slightly, to the Master Architect of Suspense.
Hitchcock, who actually worked as a set designer in the 1920s, not only maintained meticulous control over his film sets as a director (many of which were mounted in studio), but incorporated many architectural themes into the narratives themselves.
More on Hitchcock’s use of Architecture, after the break…
This October, Manhattan will play host to its first Architecture & Design Film Festival. This exciting 4 day festival will be held at the Tribeca Cinemas on October 14-17. 2010 and will appeal to both the professional and the sophisticated design enthusiast.
ADFF’s programming will offer a diverse selection of films including feature-length, documentary and shorts that explore how architects and designers think, work and create. The films profile visionary architects and designers, explore urban, social and environmental issues as well as the creative design process and product development.
Individuals or organisations can submit one or several proposals without any length or geographic restrictions. Submissions are free and NTSC encoding only. For more information, click here. Seen at Bustler.
The first film festival celebrating the creative spirit of architecture and design will be held in Waitsfield, Vermont during the height of fall colors. An exciting selection of films, including feature-length films, documentaries and shorts will engage the audience with how architects and designers think, work and create. The films profile visionary architects, the creative design process, environmental issues and the brilliant designs that we see and use every day. The program includes conversations with filmmakers, architects and designers.
The Architecture & Design Film Festival will benefit the Yestermorrow Design/Build School. Yestermorrow inspires students to create a better and more sustainable world by providing an architectural education that integrates design and building into one continuous process.
More information and the complete list of films on the festival on the official website.
Many of us, long before we even knew about architecture dreamed about a fantastic world in a galaxy far far away. Nowadays, Star Wars continue to surprise people all around the world, and we can now see the movie with a different eye. Perhaps, the architect’s eye.
At The Architect’s Journal, they selected the best Star Wars buildings. The top ten, after the break.