This site is dedicated to the real life buildings which have engaged and inspired as Supporting Cast, yet have largely gone uncredited.
2007’s release Fracture, starring Ryan Gosling and Anthony Hopkins didn’t receive many industry accolades. Surprising, given the stellar performances and the stylish production. Reviewers complained that it should have been better than it was, or that the plot was unoriginal or predictable. No matter. To those with an interest in the built environment, the casting of Peter Tolkin’s Sherman House made the film infinitely watchable. Restrained and elegant, the house provided the perfect crime scene, complicit in the murder of its hostess.
This film pits the generations against each other. An upstart young lawyer (Gosling), against a methodical aeronautical engineer (Hopkins) charged with the murder of his wife. For the most part, generation Y comes off inadequate and ill prepared, outplayed by the more experienced party.
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.
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.
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.
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.
I am a qualified architect and registered project manager, delivering construction projects in sunny Queensland, Australia. I write in my spare time about things that interest me.
Casting Architecture all began as a list. Many architects have them – a list of all the beautiful buildings to visit at some point. My list always had a large portion of buildings I'd seen in movies. Possibly more than a serious architect would reasonably have. Or admit to.