World famous architect Frank Lloyd Wright has influenced the American culture and global architecture with his characteristic style. The list of his built works includes more than 500 structures most of which are houses. Wright’s style may have notably changed throughout his career, but his architecture never failed to be unique and inspirational. The inspiration extended from architects to movie makers and directors who were motivated to use his architecture as a setting for their films or TV Show episodes. Some even went to the extent of recreating items and elements from the architect’s work in their filming studios. Here are 6 Frank Lloyd Wright Buildings That Featured in Popular Movies and TV Shows.
1. Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum
Frank Lloyd Wright designed Manhattan’s iconic landmark in the Upper East Side in the mid-40s, and the building was completed in 1959. The museum is famous for its interior which features a spiraling ramp that starts from the ground floor and reaches to the upper most floor. It is also known for its massive glass dome on top of a 92-foot-high atrium. Artists and museum visitors back in the time did not seem to perceive the unconventional design in a positive manner. However, as time passed, the museum received its fine share of fame, and it became a source of inspiration. Here are some popular movies which had scenes filmed in the Guggenheim Museum.
Men in Black (1997)
The International (2009)
Mr. Popper’s Penguins (2011)
Penguins Surf the Guggenheim Spiral Ramp – Courtesy of 20th Century Fox
2. Ennis House
Frank Lloyd Wright designed the exotic Ennis House for Charles and Mabel Ennis in 1923 and built it in 1924. It is one of four houses which Wright built around the same time in Los Angeles California, known as the ‘textile block houses’. In these houses, he used interlocking pre-cast concrete blocks, carrying Mayan-inspired patterns. The architectural style of these houses came to be known as ‘Mayan Revival’, not only because of the pattern but also owing to their Mayan Temple-like appearance. The house’s interior and exterior façade have featured in several movies throughout the past 80 years. Here are some of them;
Blade Runner (1982)
House on Haunted Hill (1959)
Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1997-2003)
The exterior of Ennis House made an appearance in the fantasy TV series, under the name of Crawford Street Mansion. It was inhabited by antagonist vampires Angelus, Spike, and Drusilla.
The house’s interior also features in a number of films, like Karate Kid III, Rush Hour, Grand Canyon, and Black Rain.
3. Marin County Civic Center
This civic center in San Rafael, California was Frank Lloyd Wright’s last commission and largest public project. He was hired in 1957 to design the center that serves both Marin County and San Francisco, which has been recently linked to the county via the Golden Gate Bridge. Wright did not just design the building but also went through with every single detail, designing the furniture, signs, doors, and all. He intended for the building’s massive roof to be colored in gold, but that turned out to be impossible, and Wright had died before the construction was finished. So, his wife Olgivanna Wright decided to have it colored in light blue, believing that color would blend with the sky and the building’s natural surroundings.
The building seemed to catch the interest of Sci-fi writers and movie directors in particular, and it was used as a setting for these two films.
THX 1138 (1971)
Some elements from the building were recreated and included in the design of Planet Naboo structures in Star Wars Universe.
4. Millard House
This is the first of Wright’s four Textile block houses, built in 1923-24 for rare-book dealer Alice Millard. The house marks Wright’s deviation from the famous Prairie style which characterized most of his houses before then. It introduces his new approach towards nature, in which he experimented with natural materials and built from the surrounding resources. He used sand, gravel, and minerals from the building’s site to manufacture the concrete blocks which he used to build the house. Thanks to its unconventional style and building materials, the Millard House design can be described as timeless. More than 90 years have passed since its completion, and yet it managed to retain a modern up-to-date look.
The house featured as the alien villain “The Albino’s” house in:
Star Trek: Deep Space Nine (1993-1999)
It was also a source of inspiration, along with Frank Lloyd Wright’s other Mayan revival masterpieces, for the architecture of the Meereen palace, in the TV series:
Game of Thrones (2011- )
5. Storer House
Here is another house from Wright’s four textile block houses. He built it on a Hollywood hillside location in 1923 for physician Dr. John Storer. Wright tried to fit the house within its natural context using patterned concrete blocks. Like the two other houses, the Store House design introduces Mayan revival elements. Its façade is characteristic for the Mayan columns and long narrow windows. In 1984, Joel Silver, producer of The Matrix movie franchise, acquired the long-neglected house. He worked on its restoration under the supervision of Wright’s grandson Eric Lloyd Wright and restoration architect Martin Eli Weil.
Although the house itself may not have been in any movies, yet one of its patterned blocks was used as the logo of Silver Pictures from 1991 to 2005.
Among the movies that featured the Storer House-inspired logo at the end are The Matrix Trilogy, Swordfish, Conspiracy Theory, Romeo Must Die, Cradle 2 the Grave.