This site is dedicated to the real life buildings which have engaged and inspired as Supporting Cast, yet have largely gone uncredited.
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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.
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.
Having been a tourist in the US capital recently I was interested to see it featured in the new Spielberg release Lincoln, starring Daniel Day Lewis. An excellent film, but with a somewhat confusing depiction of the US Capitol Building whose real-life presence is diminished by an underscaled dome. Intended by the production team or not, it is clear that the architecture in the film missed out on the attention to detail applied to other areas of the production as architectural historian Richard Chenoweth explains:
In making Lincoln, Steven Spielberg took extraordinary efforts to capture the looks and sounds of the Civil War years. He tracked down the pocket watch that President Abraham Lincoln used and got permission to wind it and record its ticks. He recorded other sounds of Lincoln's time, like the ring of his church bell and the closing of Lincoln’s carriage door. Costume designers traveled across the world to get the right materials and found Mary Todd Lincoln's jewelry at the Library of Congress. But Spielberg's missed opportunity was in his depiction of the story's central building, the U.S. Capitol, where Congress passed the Thirteenth Amendment outlawing slavery.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Commissioned by the Stahl family as part of the Case Study house scheme (a program sponsored by Arts & Architecture magazine throughout the 1950 & 1960’s, which was intended to bring modern design to the middle classes), this house has been used in countless film and television productions, in part as a result of an iconic photograph taken of the house in 1960 by Julius Shulman.