Architects and Movies

Just as the world is developing, all the fields of work are pushing their envelopes and challenging new elements. The case with architecture is similar. There used to be a time when an architect was only associated with house designing. In this age of digitization, young minds are coming out of the conventional nutshells and ripping apart any constraints that might have existed. Emerging as a very lucrative option for budding architects is the film industry. In fact multiple genres of films like historical as well as Sci-fi movies continuously pay for the services being provided by an architect.

Courtesy of Tino Schaedler

Courtesy of Tino Schaedler

According to Russell Baker, ‘Architects are the professional, artistic, and technically skilled creators, inventors, and designers of much more than just residential housing. An architecture student must become a “jack-of-all trades.” We must apply a plethora of knowledge to employ in our thought processes in order to not only use in our design, but in our communication of our ideas to our clients.’

Just imagine a movie like Transformers but with buildings having artificial intelligence or a horror movie in which the building in itself is sentient. The potential and perspective which an architect could provide is limitless. Every time-skip movie needs an architect because in order to create a different era on screen, it is necessary that the buildings compliment it. If a director is showing a scene from 1800s but the buildings are from anther era, the desired impact won’t be possible.

Courtesy of Screen Themes

Courtesy of Screen Themes

In recent years, high profile news outlets like The New York Times and CNN have featured architects’ struggles by citing the dire unemployment statistic of 13.9% for recent graduates, the highest of any college major. Since architecture graduates have so little window to perform,they are exploring their options. And what has attracted the attention the most is the field of special effects and animation especially in Hollywood.

The transition of architects towards film industry is not recent. Architects in the end are creative people and a fictions are all about creativity. Architects have enjoyed enormous success in the film making industry over the last 80 years as actors, set designers, or directors. Whether it be popular actor James Stewart or Indian Actress Aishwarya Rai, famous set designer Tino Schaelder or director Ben West, they have set an example for others on how the skill set of architect is not a hindrance, rather a quality in this industry.

Scene from 'Fugu & Tako', a film by an architect 'Ben West'- Courtesy: www.vimeo.com

Scene from ‘Fugu & Tako’, a film by an architect ‘Ben West’- Courtesy of Ben West

This cross over of profession into the field of animation is probably due to the fact that both the professions include similar software knowledge of software like Maya, 3ds max, Cinema 4D etc. which are also used in creating visual effects (VFX) in movies. Thus architects are subtly yet strongly creating an impact on how films are being made and this is turning out to be a very successful venture for both architects as well as filmmakers and what is most significant is that audience is enjoying this cocktail the most.

By: Vaibhav Sharma

Leave a Reply