Since 70’s, XX century architecture is trying to get rid of the regulations established by the modernist paradigms and is seeking inspiration in painting, music, sculpture and other art fields. Composite structure of Cubist paintings, literary fragments of Heraclitus, Bach Preludes are inspiring architectural projects, however this heightened interest in the arts and other areas, these efforts to expand the vision to some extent indicate the uncertain future of architecture as art.
Architecture’s recent interest is directed towards film, which stands closest to it with its spatial principles and above all the fact that cinema and architecture both create and conserve culture and a certain kind of lifestyle, determine existential space and dimension, form empirical scenes of everyday life situations. Modern representatives of architectural avant-garde – Rem Koolhaas, Bernard Tschumi and Jean Nouvelle note that cinema played an important role in shaping their approach to architecture. It is equally interesting what role architecture plays in the cinema, what is the metaphorical meaning of the space, in which images form. It is less important whether the city, building or room in the movie are real, as the film architecture is itself fiction, tailored to a particular picture with its psychological, spiritual spaces. Filming location itself with its lighting and shadows, is an emotional architectural space, which can represent one and the same phenomenon in completely different ways. Stanley Kubrick uses symmetric spaces in his film “The Shining”, which frighten the viewers, while Andrei Tarkovsky’s films perhaps create the most poetic and breathtaking environment.
“Metropolis” is a futuristic, urban-style film, which was directed by Fritz Lang and is a masterpiece, one of the best science fictions ever. Metropolis is a 21st century city governed by rich technocrats using working class living below the city. With the architecture shown in this movie, the director decided to illustrate human conflict. Although Metropolis architecture indicates a general aim to create a single, powerful city, which ratiates power and wealth, conflict is inevitable. Architecture in this film emphasizes the city’s strength, shapes values, which are constantly evolving and leading to something bigger-scale.
Metropolis clearly shows the mediating role of architecture in ideologies, value conflicts which lead to cultural pluralism and at the same time social unity. On the other hand, it emphasizes a city sensitive to human interests.
City “Metropolis” is an unfamiliar place for us, which exists beyond the real world, in our own fantasies.The cities, which are close to us, bring certain memories, evoke associations. On the contrary, “Metropolis” has a sterile architecture wearing a single mask pattern, which disregards so-called principles of Weak architecture. Weak architecture in itself is necessary as it does not dominate the environment, is not aggressive, but is manageable, tangible and weak.
Metropolis and Le Corbusier’s “City of the Future”
Le Corbusier’s city of the future is intended for 3 million inhabitants with 60-storey skyscrapers, metal-framed, glass covered office buildings, rectangular shape parks. In the city center, there is a transportation hub with several tiered parking for buses and trains, while on top of the building is an airport. Le Corbusier completely ignored pedestrian sidewalks along the road. Metropolis planning was pretty much affected by Le Corbusier, because these are obvious parallels between the two cities, both of the cities basic principle is vertical zoning and both of them is carrying architectural ideas of futurism from 20’s.
Hugh Ferris’ “Future Metropolis”
Hugh Ferris (1889 – 1962) was an American architect who is the author of skyscraper illustrations. Although he never worked on a separate building, his works greatly influenced the architecture and Pop Culture. Gotham City from Batman comics was inspired by Hugh Ferris’s skyscrapers. During the Great Depression skyscrapers emphasized the distinction between social classes, illustrated the rich’s citadel, that was inaccessible to ordinary people. Therefore, Hugh Ferris drew a series of skyscrapers, which is cold, monumental and abstract. Hidden in the darkness, tomb-like buildings really stand close to Metropolis’s haughty, inhuman attitude.
Movie Architecture is often inspired by the works of the architects, however sometimes on the contrary, fictional architecture of the films becomes real architectural inspiration. You can almost never come across a film, which does not contain at least some elements of architecture. It does not matter whether the film has footage of the buildings, as framework, scale, lighting determination means certain spatial arrangement and spatial arrangement in itself is the main aim of architecture.
Author: Tamta Jugashvili