A film is composed of various elements that make up a thematic setting of the story. From the color choices to the building locations, a story can flow better when paired with outstanding use of architecture as a narrative tool.
Architecture as character
More often than not, famous landmarks and architecture are almost always featured in movies to show a transition of moving from one place to another. But architecture isn’t just used for the sake of changing locations. It can also be used to explore the characters’ intentions and feelings based on how a building is presented and how it’s shot. Here are three films that you should watch on Netflix as an architect.
1. Minimalism: A Documentary About the Important Things
An essential perspective in designing is the need to address a functional concern while adding an aesthetic value to one’s work. Minimalism: A Documentary About the Important Things(2015) is Director Matt D’Avella’s journey to figuring out what about less is more in a person’s life.
A documentary on the different impacts of the movement of minimalist, it curates an understanding not just of an architect’s perspective, but also of artists, journalists, entrepreneurs, and families, who live on to find meaning in a life with less.
2. The Great Gatsby
The Great Gatsby(2013), directed by Baz Luhrmann, features Leonardo DiCaprio in the title role. An adaptation of the F. Scott Fitzgerald novel, the film is set in the roaring ‘20s, a pivotal point in American architecture, which brought out a new wave of designs breaking from the traditional form that was popular before World War I.
A combination of materials and shapes made for a fabulous Art Deco aesthetic, which can be seen in Gatsby’s extravagant mansion, which makes for a valuable contrast to the grim industrial architecture featured in the City of New York. In the film, creative liberties and shooting angles made the architecture seen in each scene as a complement to the mood and intention of the characters.
3. The Platform
The Platform(2019) is a Spanish sci-film from director Galder Gaztelu-Urrutia set in the interior of a large tower housing residents from all walks of life. The people are each assigned to a floor at random once every month, and receive food on the first floor, gradually decreasing in number as a platform lowers it down to the bottom levels.
The residents’ struggle for survival and the goal to achieve the privilege of being on a higher level makes for a dog-eat-dog way of life. The oppressive and drab architecture makes for a compelling villain as the conditions in the building force its residents to fend for themselves in a pattern that’s eerily similar to Capitalism.
As an architect, you should always be open to learning about both old and new trends in construction and design. Films are a fantastic medium that allows us to look back into the past and forward into the future to see how architecture affects our lives.