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Great Buildings in a Best Supporting Role

This site is dedicated to the real life buildings which have engaged and inspired as Supporting Cast, yet have largely gone uncredited.  

Find buildings or films using the menu on the left. Below are the latest posts.

Thanks for visiting.

Tue

03

Dec

2013

The Fast and The Furious 2001 - Davis Residence

Paul Walker will probably be most often remembered for his association with the Fast & Furious series. His popularity grew with the franchise, as did the sophistication of each production. Over the years the cars became more high tech, stunts became more elaborate and the plot more extreme but it is the very first release, 2001’s The Fast and The Furious though, that is, for me, the most memorable. You guessed it – because it featured a fabulous house.

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Mon

11

Nov

2013

Body Double 1984 - Chemosphere

© Joshua White

Long missing from this discussion is a post about John Lautner’s most recognisable building – the groundbreaking, distinctive and iconic structure, The Chemosphere. Now an LA architectural landmark, the building has taken five decades to earn its status and has achieved it largely as a result of the film industry’s fascination with its futurist aesthetic. The house can be spotted in countless features on both the big and small screens and is referenced in many more - including Charlies Angels and the Iron Man series.

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Thu

23

May

2013

The Great Gatsby 2013 - Interview with Catherine Martin

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Fri

12

Apr

2013

Twilight 2008 - Hoke Residence

© Skylab Architecture

Built speculatively by Skylab Architecture in association with local developers – a method of showcasing a fledgling practice’s work without the need for a sympathetic Client (which was possible in the boom times of the early 2000’s) – the Hoke Family purchased the house not long after completion and were approached by the film production team after the house featured in an architectural publication. The decision to proceed is possibly something they have come to regret considering the fanatical nature of Twilight fans.

Whether you are a fan of the series or have reservations about telling teenagers that love is like the feeling of wanting to devour someone (surely teenage girls have enough unhealthy food associations?) this building is a standout.

 

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Mon

18

Mar

2013

El Hombre de al Lado 2009 - Curutchet House

© Aleph Media & Instituto Nacional de Cine y Artes Audiovisuales
© Aleph Media & Instituto Nacional de Cine y Artes Audiovisuales

To say this film is about a dispute between neighbours would be to undersell it completely. When one of the houses in question is Le Corbusier's Casa Curutchet and the two parties represent polar ends of the social spectrum – a pretentious, supercilious businessman and his crude, slightly menacing neighbour, this Argentinian film takes the premise to a whole other level. 

 

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Tue

05

Feb

2013

Le Mujer de mi Hermano 2005 - The Schmitz House

 © Felipe Assadi
© Felipe Assadi

Translated as My Brothers Wife, the title of this film seemingly gives away most of the plot. But don't be fooled, this is not some melodramatic soap opera with obligatory love triangle. The film plays on pre-conceived notions and stereotypes to keep the audience guessing throughout - misled by their own misconceptions about family, relationships and human behaviour and it makes for an interesting journey. The use of the beautiful Schmitz house in the film is no exception. Modern buildings in film are routinely cast as homes to cold, controlling individuals and Peruvian Director Ricardo de Montreuil uses this fact to great effect, making us believe that the occupants will fit the mould.

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Thu

31

Jan

2013

French Postcards 1979 - Villa Savoye

©Hans H. Münchhalfen/ARTUR IMAGES
©Hans H. Münchhalfen/ARTUR IMAGES

Swiss born Le Corbusier became a French institution following his immigration in 1930, and the Villa Savoye on the outskirts of Paris, stands as a testament to his pioneering architectural thinking. The first modernist building to be given historical listing in France (and interestingly the first while the original architect was still alive), the house is a beautiful example of the International style, of which the French are understandably proud custodians. All the more effective then that when the house appeared in the 1979 release French Postcards, it was filled with American kitch.

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Tue

08

Jan

2013

Never Let Me Go 2010 - Andrew Melville Hall

© DNA Films, Film 4, Fox Searchlight Pictures
© DNA Films, Film 4, Fox Searchlight Pictures

Adapted from Kazuo Ishiguro’s heartbreaking novel of the same name, Never Let Me Go is an agonising account of our world, had society chosen a particular ethical path, if human engineering technologies had become available in the 1960’s. James Stirlings student accommodation hall at the University of St Andrews in Fife, plays a tiny role in the film but it is a crucial one, not only in providing specific historical context but also commentary about human diminishment.

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Sun

23

Dec

2012

The Passenger 1975 - Casa Mila

© Roland Halbe/ARTUR IMAGES
© Roland Halbe/ARTUR IMAGES

Gaudi's famous apartment building, Casa Mila is at it's whimsical best in this film which explores identity, chance and choice. Director Michelangelo Antonioni is renown for his use of architectural landscapes and structural composition so it is no surprise that such a cinematic building would feature in one of his films.

The Passenger stars Jack Nicholson, portraying a grisled worldweary journalist, David Locke, who is sick of himself and of his situation. After chancing upon an opportunity to assume the identity of another hotel guest (whom he discovers dead) he makes a split decision to walk away from his life. Too easy? Quite. Filling in his new identity, Locke goes about keeping the dead mans appointments and duly discovers that he has become an arms dealer. 

 

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Wed

05

Dec

2012

Bottle Rocket 1996 - The Gillin Residence

©Doug Newby

Wes Anderson looked to his home state of Texas when casting the critical location for his first feature film Bottle Rocket, written with friend Owen Wilson. They needed a house which not only reeked of privilege and good breeding but could also cater for the numerous internal and external shots which were scripted to occur at the house. Enter the Gillin Residence, the last house designed by Frank Lloyd Wright and completed before his death and also his largest in the Usonian style. 

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Thu

29

Nov

2012

Transformers 3 2011- Milwaukee Art Museum

 ©Paolo Rosselli/ARTUR IMAGES
©Paolo Rosselli/ARTUR IMAGES

When casting locations for the third installment in the Transformers series, Michael Bay turned to Milwaulkee's beautiful Art Museum on the shore of Lake Michigan, to provide some aesthetic relief from the grisly mechanics of the Autobots. Santiago Calatravas first building in the United States steals the show with its' vaulted cathedral-like entrance hall and dramatic sail roof. The wings on the roof form an operable brise soleil which elegantly opens and closes throughout the day, giving Optimus Prime a lesson in grace.

 

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