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Films And Architecture: The Latest Architecture and News

"The Environments Needed to be Abstracted": Stefan Dechant on The Tragedy of Macbeth

Stefan Dechant is a production designer with over 25 years of experience in the industry working alongside reputable filmmakers like James Cameron (Avatar), Tim Burton (Alice in Wonderland), and Sam Mendes (Jarhead). Recently, Stefan served as the production designer for the upcoming Apple TV+ film 'The Tragedy of Macbeth' directed by Joel Coen. Why did this interest us immediately? Because he had the task of creating 35 Black & White, Abstract Sets.

In the following interview with Stefan, he tells us all about the inspiration behind the aesthetic, his working process between sketches and digital, and finally the stage of building all of this. Read more below.

Jacinta Leong on Architecture in Movies: "Films Can Tell Us How Things Are and How Things Can Be"

2067. Stills. Image Courtesy of Jacinta Leong
2067. Stills. Image Courtesy of Jacinta Leong

Jacinta Leong is a Production Designer who enjoys the creative and collaborative process of designing environments for narratives. Her work on several movies looks ahead into the future - especially in relation to technology in society. She was recently the Production Designer on the film 2067; Art Director on Alien: Covenant, Mad Max: Fury Road, and Pacific Rim: Uprising; Assistant Art Director on Star Wars Episode II-III; and Set Designer in The Matrix, among others.

We've talked with Leong to get to know her thoughts on the connection between films and architecture. The following interview explores her beginnings and inspirations, as well as her work process in the era of digital tools.

Canadian Pavilion at the 2021 Venice Biennale Highlights Canadian Cities as Cinematic Doubles

Canada’s contribution to the 17th Venice Architecture Biennale explores Canadian cities’ established “career” in cinema as stand-ins for the world’s metropoles, raising questions of authenticity, architectural identity and the collective understanding of the built environment. Curated by David Theodore of McGill University and realized by Montréal architecture and design practice T B A / Thomas Balaban Architect, the exhibition Impostor Cities highlights the diversity and versatility of Canada’s cityscapes as portrayed on film.

The Canada Pavilion in Venice, Italy will be wrapped in green screen material, accentuating the Pavilion’s distinct form, creating a new, Impostor building visible across the Giardini. Image Courtesy of The Canadian PavilionImpostor Cities sound curator Randolph Jordan captures audio on the Simon Fraser University campus for a 15 channel ambisonic presentation of Canadian site-specific sound recordings, as part of the Screening Room experience. Image Courtesy of The Canadian PavilionThe Canada Pavilion in Venice, Italy, transforming into movie mode. Image Courtesy of The Canadian PavilionRendering of the wrap covering the exterior of the Canada Pavilion. Image Courtesy of The Canadian Pavilion+ 18

Felicity Abbott: "Production Design Has Been Referred to as Architecture of the Screen"

Production designer Felicity Abbott is behind the great staging of The Luminaries, a mini-series that takes place in New Zealand during the 1860s West Coast Gold Rush. In the below interview, she tells us her thoughts on the connection between films and architecture, addressing her work process and the main challenges on this set.

Luca Tranchino: "Production Design Uses The Same Language as Architecture"

Luca Tranchino is a production designer well known for his participation as an art director in Martin Scorsese’s Gangs of New York, the Aviator, Hugo Cabret, and Disney’s Prince of Persia, among many other productions. His work is designed to take us to magical and historical worlds. We recently interviewed Tranchino to look behind the scenes and uncover connections between film and architecture.

Annie Beauchamp on Designing the Overall Visual Look of Movies: "A Designer’s Work Helps to Drive The Plot"

Production designer Annie Beauchamp contacted me shortly after reading an article about Black Mirror series and what it can teach us about the future of architecture —something exciting for me since she was in charge of the visual look in Striking Vipers, the first episode of the dystopian series' fifth season. Beauchamp who has extensive experience working on major productions such as Sleeping Beauty, The Yellow Birds, Adoration, Top of the Lake China Girl, LEGO's Ninjago Movie, also served as an art director in nothing less than Moulin Rouge.

We've talked with Beauchamp to get to know her thoughts on the connection between films and architecture. The following conversation explores her beginnings and inspirations, her work process, as well as her views on the era of computer visualizations. In addition, we concluded the conversation with a couple of recommendations for a new generation interested in production design.

“The New Bauhaus” Film Celebrates the Bauhaus Movement in America

via The Bauhaus Film
via The Bauhaus Film

The year 2019 marks the centennial anniversary of the Bauhaus' founding. Founded by Walter Gropius in 1919, the school sought to reimagine material reality. Considered by many to be the most visionary school of early 20th-century art and design, the Bauhaus would spark a global movement in a period of world history otherwise marred by war and economic devastation.

In 1933, The Nazi Party took over Germany and eventually closed the Bauhaus school. Many of the Bauhaus’ leading visionaries emigrated to the United States – bringing the movement with them. László Moholy-Nagy brought the Bauhaus to Chicago, starting a new chapter in the Bauhaus’ history by establishing a school – The New Bauhaus.

Grit vs Globalism: What the City of Blade Runner 2049 Reveals About Recent Trends in Urban Development

There ought to be a word for this kind of film—halfway between a sequel and a reboot—but there isn't, so we just have to call it Blade Runner 2049. The film is perhaps more subtle in the way it refers to Ridley Scott's 1982 dystopian cult classic than some recent sci-fi restorations—Star Wars: The Force Awakens, I'm looking at you—but it isn't above a bit of blatant parallelism. For example, it's easy to see reflections of Blade Runner characters in 2049: private dick Rick Deckard is now the stoic, world-weary K; femme fatale Rachael is Joi, a hologram companion who straddles the line between mortal and machine; wacky Roy Batty is the single-minded, murderous Luv; not to mention a bevy of replicants passing for humans and cops with hidden agendas. In fact, one of the few prominent characters not recast is the city of Los Angeles, whose architecture is strikingly absent compared to the first film. The resulting movie feels curiously devoid of a civic soul, which is perhaps the point.

Watch Robert A M Stern Make the Case for Preserving Philip Johnson's AT&T Building

In a recent film published by Metropolis Magazine, New York-based architect Robert A M Stern explains why we should care about Philip Johnson’s controversial AT&T building. As landmark designation hearings to protect the buildings external facade continue, demolition of the lobby of this iconic Postmodern New York City skyscraper has already completed.

The designs by Snøhetta for the renovation of the building at 550 Madison Avenue have launched the building to the forefront of the debate about the preservation of Postmodern heritage. The plans include replacing the stone facade with undulating glass in order to transform the building's street presence. Should plans progress, the once prominent arched entry will sit behind fritted glass and stone covered columns will be unwrapped to create a hovering datum.

Fumihiko Maki On The Importance of Conscious Decision-Making in Design

Begin to understand the inner workings of Fumihiko Maki's architectural mind in PLANE—SITE’s latest short film from their Time-Space-Existence series. Each film focuses on the different principles which drive the practice of famous architects. Maki is known for being experimental with materials and fusing east and west culture.

4 World Trade Center. Image © TectonicMIT Media Lab. Image © Anton GrasslSpiral. Image © Toshiharu KitajimaSpiral. Image © Toshiharu Kitajima+ 17

The Rock Is Starring in a New Action Movie Called “Skyscraper,” and it Looks Crazy

Fans of absurd architecture, over-the-top action, and wrestling-stars-turned-beloved-actors are in for a treat this summer thanks to the recently-announced film Skyscraper. The movie’s central character is “The Pearl,” an imagined 1,067-meter-tall skyscraper in Hong Kong—although apparently some guy named “Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson” also plays a pretty big role with his character Will Sawyer, a former FBI Hostage Rescue operative who lost a leg in the line of duty and now reviews building security for a living.

The plot, as revealed in the trailer and a single-paragraph synopsis on the official website, sees Will Sawyer criticizing the security of the “vertical city” billed as the tallest, most advanced, and safest building in the world. His concerns are immediately shown to be well-founded, as a group of (what are presumably) terrorists set fire to the 96th floor of the building, trapping Sawyer’s family and somehow framing Sawyer for the whole thing. As a result, Sawyer must save his family while running from the law, with the trailer showing a climactic leap from an adjacent crane (we can only assume that Dwayne Johnson doesn’t fit into a ventilation duct). The film has come in for some good-natured ribbing already, with internet jokesters questioning how a 260-pound amputee makes a 15-meter jump off the end of a crane. But of course, closer inspection reveals that these concerns are just the start of the entertaining wackiness of this movie.

Architecture On Screen: Illustrated Plans From 6 Award-Winning Films of 2017

Why does a film garner critical acclaim? Is it captivating performances from its actors? Stunning tableaus and cinematic moments? Or, could it be the intricate sets where tales of drama, laughter, love, and loss play out? 

Following her stunning watercolor prints of last year’s Oscar nominees and the Netflix sensation Stranger Things, architect and illustrator Boryana Ilieva provides a glimpse into the elaborate sets of 6 stand-out films from 2017. With the Golden Globes broadcasted earlier this month and the Academy Awards only a few weeks away, the homes in these award-winning motion pictures deserve as many accolades as the Hollywood stars who inhabit them.

© Boryana Ilieva© Boryana Ilieva© Boryana Ilieva© Boryana Ilieva+ 9

How the Portrayal of Houses in Cinema Shows Uncomfortable Truths About Hollywood's Relationship to Race

This short excerpt is from Places Journal's article "Prop and Property: The house in American cinema, from the plantation to Chavez Ravine," which in turn was adapted from John David Rhodes' book Spectacle of Property. The article, which investigates the many layers of property inherent in the production and viewing of movies, investigates in particular the films Gone with the Wind and To Kill a Mockingbird, revealing how their themes of race and property are made even more complex by the practicalities of Hollywood filmmaking.

Perhaps the most mysterious and desired feature of housing is the privacy of property, and especially the property of and in the house. Property, however, is fungible and alienable. Whatever is promised by the house is radically susceptible to violation, displacement, and loss. Often the experience of property’s violation or redefinition involves an unwelcome reminder that the house is not a very private place after all. Partly we know this: we have all spent time in living rooms, on porches, or in other spaces of the house in which it is nearly impossible to say where the public ends and the private begins. But when property’s inherent instability is experienced vividly—whether in “real life” or in representation—we are forced to confront the tenuous relationship between public and private, as well as the tenuousness of all property relations as such.