The role of architecture in great movies guide, Architectural film advice, Iconic scenes

The Role of Architecture in Great Movies

9 Dec 2021

Role of Architecture in Great Movies
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The Role of Architecture in Great Movies Guide

Buildings, monuments, and landmarks of all kinds have been used in cinema for centuries. Throughout the history of the movie industry, many scenes that are iconic owe their success to the beauty of the visuals, the framing of the environment, and the composition of architectural elements.

There are countless examples of this dynamic in filmmaking. For example; Die Hard would never be the same without Nakatomi Plaza, and Independence Day would be a lot less engaging if the White House hadn’t been destroyed. To emphasize this observation, we’ve put together seven hit movies that use architecture as a driving factor for box office success.

7. Blade Runner 2049 (2017)

Denis Villeneuve’s visual masterpiece known as Blade Runner 2049 is renowned for its screenplay, cinematography and overall production quality. The film won Best Cinematography and Best Visual Effects twice; once at the 90th Academy Awards and again at the 71st British Academy Film Awards.

From start to finish, Blade Runner 2049 transports viewers to a believable place and time. There’s a touch of ephemeral mystique in every wide shot, while interior locations lend much-needed credence to the physicality of these fictional landscapes. To execute such a high-concept storyboard so flawlessly is an achievement few filmmakers have managed to achieve.

6. The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014)

Many films take place in a singular geographic location. However, very few manage to do so as successfully as 2014’s The Grand Budapest Hotel. The movie is director Wes Anderson’s highest-grossing feature film. It led the 87th Academy Awards in total nominations, winning four out of nine categories.

The pastel-pink exterior of the titular hotel is world-famous at this point. Anderson’s inclination towards symmetrical camera angles clearly did the film justice. Every scene is a feast for the eyes, the script is of consistently high quality, and it’s clear just how important the architecture was to the success of the movie.

Role of Architecture in Great Movies
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5. Inception (2010)

When Inception was released in 2010, the mind-bending visuals instantly enraptured the collective imagination of audiences worldwide. Folding buildings and shifting city blocks had never seemed so real before. Despite this effect stemming from the use of CGI technology, the photorealism on display was nothing short of astonishing for its time.

Inception is one of a few movies that truly made the viewer question reality. The visuals were extremely beneficial in achieving this illusion. In fact, the film won several significant awards thanks to its visuals, sound effects, and world-building.

4. The Matrix (1999)

Convincing the audience that virtual reality can be as tangible as physical reality is an achievement no other film has managed as successfully. With stylish confidence in their vision, the Wachowski sisters created The Matrix in a world that was so convincing in its portrayal of fantasy, many filmgoers went as far as questioning their own reality.

From the shrapnel and debris-filled gun battles on high-rise buildings to the dark depths of the nebulous Machine City, The Matrix was brought to life thanks to incredible environments and stunning art design.

3. Mission Impossible 4: Ghost Protocol (2011)

Regardless of your opinion on the man himself, Tom Cruise’s relentless pursuit of realistic filmmaking makes him a one-of-a-kind actor. In a world full of stuntmen and CGI-filled action scenes, Cruise’s Mission Impossible methodology is a breath of fresh air. It’s oddly comforting to know that everything you see on-screen has actually happened in reality.

In Mission Impossible 4: Ghost Protocol, Cruise showcases Dubai’s highest tower, the Burj Khalifa, in a sequence that would make anyone with a fear of heights understandably uncomfortable. In a daring ascent up the tower, Cruise’s climb is made all the more impactful thanks to the knowledge that there’s no CGI, no stunt double, and no second take; everything you see is completely real.

Role of Architecture in Great Movies
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2. Parasite (2019)

The majority of Parasite takes place in one house. This is no ordinary house though. The entire structure was built specifically for the movie, evidenced by the perfect framing of almost every scene throughout the film. This was all done purely to aid the story being told.

The architecture symbolizes differences between the upper and lower classes of society. Not many stories use a house to tell the story of a poor family taking advantage of a wealthy one. Compared to the poor family’s home, the wealthy family’s house is practically a palace. With every aspect deliberately designed, the house is as compelling as the award-winning story.

1. Twilight (2008)

The Twilight franchise garnered massive success in a relatively short amount of time. Many scenes in the Edward and Bella vampire love-saga take place in and around the sparkling main character’s home. That home is none other than Hoke House, a world-famous example of contemporary architecture.

Hoke House was designed by Skylab Architecture. The house wasn’t built solely for Twilight but was simply the ideal filming location. Hoke House managed to perfectly encapsulate the style and visual presence that the Twilight crew wanted to achieve.

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Edinburgh Architecture

Vision for National Centre for Music at Royal High School
New National Centre For Music Edinburgh

Princes Street 347-bed hotel, City Centre
Princes Street Hotel Edinburgh City Centre

Powderhall Stables Building
Powderhall Stables Building

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