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Top 10 Architecture Movies Every Architect Must Watch

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Aakrati Akar
Aakrati Akar
Aakrati is an architectural student, from Jaipur. Her curious minds drives her into researching about various topics and gain knowledge. Her belief in the power of words and writing led her to the field of architectural journalism.

Movies in general show dialogues going among actors and the way they express their story in which buildings and landscape scenery act as background. In case of  Architectural movies, it’s the art of the director or the movie maker to show scenery in cinema, buildings, installations, landscapes in different frames.Also, to show cities from other perspective and insert people, live and feelings.

Among this realism, poetic and monumental world, there are these 10 Architecture movies that everyone should watch.

  1. The belly of an architect
     directed by Peter Greenaway, 1987
    1 3

Peter Greenaway, explores the relationship between the city and the monuments. He shows the story of Architect Stourley Kracklite, who comes from Chicago to the eternal city of Rome to curate an exhibition dedicated to his visionary architect Etienne-Louis Boullée.As follows, The exhibition takes place in the monument of Victor Emmanuel III, a pompous mass of white marble, planted in the heart of the historic city.

The director uses bitter humor to explore the Utopian side of architecture and presents all the unfinished or unrealized projects.

  1. Koyaanisqatsi
     directed by Godfrey Reggio, 1982
    2 2

The film is an impressive visual and acoustic experience that alerts us to the environmental hazards caused by humans. Stunning aerial scenes of rationalist buildings and American skyscrapers illuminated at night are captured, all with the minimalist music of Philip Glass.

  1. Manhattan
    directed by Woody Allen, 1979.

One of the best black and white movie by woody which depicts the high and lows of the skyscrapers as a poetic jostling of irony. City scenography is extraordinary and dialogues and plot are among Woody’s finest.

  1. Blade Runner
    directed by Ridley Scott, 1982.

The Sci-Fi masterpiece of the 80’s featured Harrison Ford in a world of replicas. In which, architects will discover dystopian landscapes that draw inspiration from Metropolis.

  1. The Infinite Happiness
    directed by Nathaniel Kahn, 2015.

The film spotlights the work of Danish architect Bjarke Ingels and his innovative ‘8’ housing development in Copenhagen. Therefore, the fact that sociable housing is a novelty even in Denmark, reveals the large ideological barrier that 8 seeks to overcome.

  1. 24 City
    directed by Jia Zhangke, 2008.

The movie shows three generation of characters in Chengdu, as the factory in which they are working is supposed to be demolished to build a new apartment complex.  The apartment featured in the movie is an actual apartment called “24 City”, build on an airplane manufacturing site.For the movie, Jia took interviews of people whose lives were totally dependent on the factory.

  1. Wings of Desire
     directed by di Wim Wenders, 1987.

The director depicts the city of Berlin through the eyes of two invisible angels as they spy on the stories and thoughts of the locals. It features Peter Falk and plenty of Berlin, including Potsdamer Platz and the graffiti walls that is a poetic reflection on the German capital (and life).

  1. My architect. A Son’s Journey
     directed by Nathaniel Kahn, 2003

The story is about the great architect Louis Kahn, who was found dead in a bathroom of a New York station in March of 1974. His masterpieces include the Salk Institute of California, developing the concept of monumentality, and the Philips Exeter Academy Library. Hence, the movie follows the architect’s work with his personal life, through the tale of his son, Nathaniel, the director, as he searches for the father who disowned him.

  1. Still Life
     directed by Jia Zhangke, 2006.

Another Jia Zhangke’s masterpiece. It is a movie about a town in Fengjie country which gets gradually demolished and flooded to make way for the Three Gorges Dam. Fengjie is gradually vanishing under water that forms a new changing landscape filled with the spiritual drowning of its inhabitants.

  1. The architect
    directed by Jonathan Parker, 2016.

It’s a recently released film which talks about the stereotypes that form an architect to his main character Miles Moss, who is hired to design a house for a married couple. The movie with light comedy in it makes as well aware about our profession and how people of the world sees us.

The connection of these are interesting and in some cases the results are remarkable. Newly established architects and students can get inspired by the work of these legendary architects and people who brought issues in front of people when it was necessary to become an activist.

Since all of us are siting at home. here are some movies that can keep you in touch with your work life without having to work.

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