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Considered: At the Movies

The Vision Thing I
Metropolis, 1927
In what may be the great-grandaddy of all architecture movies, the era’s visionary architecture slips reality into this otherwise full-throttle dystopian extravaganza.

The Architect Archetype I
(Solitary Artist)
The Fountainhead, 1949
The specter of the bombastic Howard Roark continues to torment real architects.

Buildings as Characters (Hollywood Edition)
Vertigo, 1958
Alfred Hitchcock’s masterful use of the built environment makes heads spin.

Buildings as Characters (European Edition)
Last Year at Marienbad, 1961
In this French art-house classic, a couple is infatuated, haunted, and smothered by their pasts—a problem shared by the ornate getaway that they can’t seem to get away from.

The Vision Thing II
Bladerunner, 1982
Genetically engineered robots learn how to love (and hate) in teeming, spectacular dystopian sci-fi cityscapes of real and imagined architecture.

The Architect Archetype II
(Sensitive Romantic Lead)
Jungle Fever, 1991
Spike Lee’s iconic interracial relationship drama features an architect, his secretary, a failed promotion, and angst galore.

The Architect Archetype IIIA
(Dysfunctional Family Girl)
One Fine Day, 1996
In one of the only portrayals of female architects on screen, Michele Pfeiffer plays a stressed-out single mom who (yawn) chooses between kids and career.

The Architect Archetype IIIB
(Dysfunctional Family Guy)
My Architect: A Son’s Journey, 2003
Louis Kahn was an acclaimed architect and educator, and the father of three, somewhat simultaneous, families.

The Real Housekeepers of Bordeaux
Koolhaas Houselife, 2008
A great architect and a great client create an extraordinary house in France. But the cleaning lady is the true star of this marvelous documentary.