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Contents Introduction: What is cinema? The root of the idea

Enlightenment of western Philosophy L’architecture d’Aujourd’hui: Le Corbusier and Eisenstein Villa Savoy


The architecture of Alfred Hitchcock A courtyard community Cinematic Space


Deconstructivism in a nutshell Screenplays and Manhattan transcripts Parc de la Villette

Introduction What is cinema? In his book Something Like An Autobiography, acclaimed Japanese film director Akira Kurosawa is asked “What is cinema?” and he tells the following story:

“Long ago the Japanese novelist Shiga Noya presented an essay written by his grandchild as one of the most remarkable prose pieces of his time. He had it published in a literary magazine. It was entitled “My Dog” and ran as follows: “My dog resembles a bear; he also resembles a badger; he also resembles a fox….” It proceeded to enumerate the dog’s special characteristics, comparing each one to yet another animal, developing into a full list of the animal kingdom. However, the essay closed with, “But since he’s a dog, he most resembles a dog.” I remember bursting out laughing when I read this essay, but it makes a serious point. Cinema resembles so many other arts. If cinema has very literary characteristics, it also has theatrical qualities, a philosophical side, attributes of painting and sculpture and music elements. But cinema is, in the final analysis, cinema.”[1]

What is cinematic Architecture, and why has cinema become so closely acquainted with the design disciplines, and vice versa? What valuable or significant experience can come from this brotherhood, both in terms of substantial work and in terms of representative means? Architecture, when defined as the realization of an imagined idea, comes close to the world of the cinema, as cinema provides a rich tool for exercising the imagined. This is one thing that brings Architecture and cinema together. Yet, another, and perhaps more important thing is, the change in our conception of existence and space.[2] “The production of images by cinema is the epitome of the physical construction of space by architecture.” (Pascal Schöning)[3]

This essay aims to explore connection between cinema and architecture, how cinema as an art form has changed the way we think about time and space and the experience of a person moving through it. We will find the roots of these ideas in the 18th century enlightenment of western philosophy through the work of John Locke, George Berkeley and David Humes and their views on perceived experience. We will also find it in the ideals of the Marxism and how they were expressed through the wok of Sergi Eisenstein and Jean Luc Godard. We will also examine then the film director as the programmer of space, and how the motive of an director can be as intuitive as that of an Architect. We will see this in the Examination of the work of Alfred Hitchcock, and a systematic review of films from Lars Von Trier and Gus Van Sant with regards to cinematic space. Following on from this investigation we will look at the work from architects whom have conducted similar research in cinema and how their findings has manifested themselves in the from of built projects. Here we will look to the work of Bernard Tschumi. His study’s ‘Screen plays’ and ‘Manhattan Transrcipts’ and his design of ‘Parc de le villette’ in paris, but also how his ideas came about through the teaching and writings of Jacques Derrida on deconstructivism. Through this discussion a clear picture will emerge of the relationship of cinema and architecture, both as a formulated experiential art forms.

The root of the idea Enlightenment of western Philosophy

From the latter part of the 19th century to the present day, motion pictures developed gradually from a carnival novelty to one of the most important tools of communication, entertainment and mass media in the 20th century and into the 21st century. The historic development of the representational techniques of space is closely tied to the development of architecture itself. The perspectival understanding of space gave rise to architecture of vision, whereas the quest to liberate the eye from its perspectival fixation has enabled the conception of multi-perspectival and simultaneous space. Perspectival space leaves us as outside observers, whereas simultaneous space encloses and enfolds us in its embrace. This is the perceptual and psychological essence of Impressionist and Cubist space; we are pulled into the space and made to experience it as a fully embodied sensation. The special reality of a Cezanne landscape, as well as of fragile architecture, derives from the way they engage our perceptual and psychological mechanisms. Cinema has this ability to envelop our perceptual and psychological mechanisms in the desired event or the programme of the filmmaker. But even in the 18th century before the invention of cinema such philosophers as John Locke, George Berkeley and David Humes had already begun to uncover the reasoning behind the connection that would develop between cinema and architecture as well as other design disciplines. It would come in the from of studying the exact nature of ones experiences of space and their understanding of their own environment. It was called Empiricism, and it was a school of thought that would change the way Architects would eventually address designs for humans.

Empiricism is a theory of knowledge that asserts that knowledge comes only or primarily from sensory experience. One of several views of epistemology, the study of human knowledge, along with rationalism, idealism and historicism, empiricism emphasizes the role of experience and evidence, especially sensory perception, in the formation of ideas, over the notion of innate ideas or traditions. Phenomenalism is a radical form of empiricism and, hence, its roots as an ontological view of the nature of existence can be traced back to George Berkeley and his subjective idealism, which David Hume further elaborated. John Stuart Mill had a theory of perception, which is commonly referred to as classical phenomenalism. This differs from Berkeley’s idealism in its account of how objects continue to exist when no one perceives them. Berkeley claimed that an omniscient God perceived all objects and that this was what kept them in existence, whereas Mill claimed that permanent possibilities of experience were sufficient for an object’s existence.[4] These theories gave the first indication of objects being broken down and deconstructed into our own perceptions of them and when the medium of cinema arrived in the early 19th century it was as if they were reconstructed into this augmented reality through an existential experience of watching a film. But further more it was measured and was a formulated medium. So for the first time with the aid of a film camera designers and architects alike had a new tool in which to formulate space through the existential praxis of cinematic space. This is almost the exact psychological instrument John Locke describes when he explains human knowledge of an environment formulating ideas through a sensory experience rather than any innate ideas.

L’architecture d’Aujourd’hui: Le Corbusier and Eisenstein

Le Corbusier pictured with Sergi Eisenstein and Andrei Burov in 1928

The relationship between film and architecture was been made implicit since at least as far back as Le Corbusier’s film, L’architecture d’Aujourd’hui, in 1927 (bear in mind that the motion picture was invented around 1895 by the Lumiere brothers), it maybe worth positing that the fundamental point of intersection between these two fields is upon the meta-representational idea of media. Insofar as film can be conceived of and interpreted as an examination and rumination upon the very nature of perception, thus it can be extrapolated to also relate to an architecture that is also concerned with the project of perception. Thus, it is worth noting at this point that the ideas of architecture concerned with perception may be inextricably linked to the ideas of film.

One such idea developed by Karl marx , but originating from Georg Wilhelm Fredrich Hegel was that of transcendental idealism, and the idea things can only be understood as they appear to us, and although this may be the restriction of our understanding of space only by the objects surrounding it, transcendental idealism is the begin of the representation of time and space in cinema. A notable example of this being Eisenstein’s film editing through the Kuleshov Experiment and the development of montage. Eisenstein believed that film montage could create ideas or have an impact beyond the individual images. Two or more images edited together create a “tertium quid” (third thing) that makes the whole greater than the sum of its individual parts.

At the moment that cinema was invented it was part of a wave of technological innovation at the beginning of the 20th century that changed the way we conceive of space— the airplane, automobile, Einstein’s general and special theories of relativity, quantum mechanics, even the bicycle, were all invented nearly coincidentally. This superseded the single-point perspective conception of space as inherited since the Renaissance. It also superseded the conception of time as a linear construct. This became explicit in the work of Sergei Eisenstein and Jean Luc Godard both Marxist filmmakers. Marxist film theory is one of the oldest forms of film theory. Sergei Eisenstein and many other Soviet filmmakers in the 1920s expressed ideas of Marxism through film. [5]

Jean luc Godard elaborated on this in his work, he lead the new wave French cinema with what was then a radical approach to film editing. Splicing and repeating in quick succession, he embodied the 60’s cinematic style. But what he had done with this new cinematic aesthetic was shown us that rooted in every frame of film was the allusion to an infinite number of moments. This created a free association of moments in time, and we stopped thinking about time as a linear concept but only as a perceived sequence of moments to each individual being.

villa savoy

One of the first examples of the of this explicit connection between architecture and cinema can be seen in the villa Savoy by Le Corbusier in two distinct architectural elements, the stripe window and the architectural promenade. The passage through light spaces is an important issue for both cinema and architecture. As le Corbusier put it, building his notion of the architectural promenade: “the architecual specitale offer itself consecutively to view; you follow an itinerary and the views develop with great variety; you play with the flood of light,” Despite its personal program and private demeanor, the Villa Savoy played a public role in the “controversy of the window” waged between August Perret and le Corbusier in Parisian journals of 1923. In brief, le Corbusier assert that the major positive consequence of Domino concrete frame construction was the strip window, which could continuously and conveniently distribute light within an interior where it was most needed, at eye level. At Vevey, this window is the rhetorical centre piece of the house, Une petite Masion, le Corbusier presents the window as the inevitable and scientific response to the first “given” the sun, its zenithal path, and its relation to “the horizontal eye” this resulting window is a south-facing, eleven-meterlong slash in the wall, which bears no strict relationship to the division of rooms.

On the other hand, Auguste Perret, a father of concrete construction and mentor to the young le Corbusier, dismissed the strip window as decorative and contrary to use. For him, the horizontal window destroyed the definition of interior space by eliminating threshold and eclipsed the experience of the exterior space by cropping the view of foreground and sky; it degraded all perspectives into cubist composition. [7] But Eisenstein and Le Corbusier admired each other’s work and shared common ground in many ways, as the architect once acknowledged in an interview. Claiming, “architecture and film are the only two arts of our time,” he went on to state that “in my own work I seem to think as Eisenstein does in his films.” Beattriz Colomina a Spanish historian, in her study of architecture as a mass media, demonstrates that le Corbusier’s views were, indeed cinematic. Further developing the idea of the promenade architecturale, le Corbusier stated that architecture “is appreciated while on the move, with ones feet…; while walking, moving from one place to another… A true architectural promenade constantly offers us changing views, unexpected, at times surprising.” Here, again architecture joins film in a practice that engages seeing in relation to movement. As “site-seeing,” the moving image creates its own architectural promenade, which is inscribed into and interacts with architecture’s narrative peripatetic’s and “streetwalking”. In this way, the route of modern picturesque is constructed.[7] As we will see later this “unexpected” and “surprising” aseptic that le Corbusier describes, develops into the basis for “The pleasure of architecture” by Bernard Tschumi and his fragmented views on our stimulating, erotic and seductive perception of space.

Investigations The architecture of Alfred Hitchcock

Given that we have shown the roots of why cinema has become connected to design disciplines. Will now look at the apparatus of filmmaking. And an architectural examination of films can lead to an intuitive understanding of space that is informed by place, event, character, and emotion. We will see how cinematic space can engage, more broadly, our psychological mechanism then real architectural space often does. We will first look to Alfred Hitchcock once referred to as the Architect of anxiety, his career in film began in the design sector as a set designer. Space in Hitchcock,s films is far from neutral and architecture plays an important role in his films. According to Camile Paglia, Hitchcock even expressed his partiality for architecture in his own peculiar world view and portrayal of mankind. As Pagilia noted, “Hitchcock’s vision of architecture as the grand but eternally provisional frame of human meaning is evident everywhere in his major films, from the glass-skinned tower of north by northwest and the arched suspension bridge of vertigo to the cantilevered brassieres designed by Barbara Bel Geddes in the same film.Hitchcock has being quoted on saying “a rule I have always followed is: never use a setting simply as a background. Use it one hundred percent. You’ve got to make the setting work dramatically. You can’t just use it as a background, in other words the locale must be functional”

“Psycho” does not only deal with an uncanny house but also with what’s underneath. The climax, after all, is situated in the basement of the Bates house were the mommy? Mummy is discovered. The uncanny house is literally connected with death and function as a funerary monument. The discovery in the basement makes clear the entire house, and the mother’s room in particular, makes up a tomb. Like an Egyptian pharaoh, mother has been mummified and buried with her household belongings. Given this perspective, the crammed Bates house incarnates the womb/tomb rhyme that preoccupies house-building in many cultures. The Bates mansion is such a powerful image since it is archetypal forms of early Neolithic domestic architecture , in which the dead are buried under the floors of their bones incorporated into the substructure of the house.[8]

The scene situated in the cellar-a a dark space where, according to Gaston Bcahelard, fear are difficult to rationalize- adds a third level to the house as a result of which Slavoj Zizek, in his “perverts guide to cinema (2006), is able to read the tripartite structure of the Bates houses as a representation of Norman’s mind; on the ground floor lives the ego; the second floor is the space of the (maternal) superego; whereas the id dwells in the basement. However, more important than the tripartite structure of the Victorian house is its juxtaposition to the motel. Zizek even goes so far as to trace Norman Bates psychotic split to his inability to locate himself between the anonymous modernist box of the motel and his mothers gothic house on the hill. According to Zizek, it would take a deconstructivist architect such as Frank Gerhy to mediate between such two opposites, which are often obfuscated in the postmodern architecture of New Urbanism characterized by the tagging of the cozy atmosphere of small town family life. “if the Bates motel were to be built by Gerhry,” Zizek writes, “directly combining the mother old house and the flat modern motel into a new hybrid entity, there would have been no need for Norman to kill his victims, since he would have relieved of the unbearable tension that compels him to run between the two places, he would have a third place of mediation between the two extremes.

But whatever about Hitchcock’s architecture relating to Freudian theories, although this was made somewhat explicit in such film as Spellbound. His architecture also had being create a from a static but often moving perspective point. Steve Jacobs speaks of this when retrospectively formulating the plans for the Norman Bates house. “Often the drawings contain rooms or outside space which could be indicated only partially. Such drawings articulate the negative ‘absent’ or invisible spaces in the plan, a feature that is also important in the Hitchcock narrative not coincidentally, particularly in a film characterized by extensive point of view cutting. The drawing shows fragmented constructions highly determined by line of sight” Steven Jacobs We will also see this in Bernard Tschumi’s sreenplays where a girded constant surrounds and interjects the “events that make the spaces in his drawings. But also this Absence Jacobs speaks of here goes someway in explaining what Tshcumi describes as the “Architectural Paradox’ and the two conditions of design in architecture of the ‘Pyramid’ and the ‘labyrinth’.

A Courtyard community

As an exercise and another investigation, in response to a brief requiring high-density housing I designed a scheme which took inspiration from another Hitchcock film, ‘Rear Window’. The aim was to achieve a higher understanding of the demands of the brief through the conditions set out in the film, both in terms of dimension and of social interaction. This was the piece I wrote for the design:

A Courtyard Community “High density housing can be a curious place to live. You can be only a few feet away from your neighbours at any time and know very little about them. As depicted in Alfred Hitchcocks film “rear window” high density housing can be a colorful and thriving hub of activity, and although the film is about the real suspicious lives that were hidden in a seemingly perfect America, post World War II. It also depicts the triumph of a strange, diverse, vertical community in the heart of New York.

In recent years, Irish apartment design has strived to achieve privacy in urban conditions in the hope that it would attract diverse occupants, young and old as well as families and couples, to live together harmoniously. This focus on privacy diminished any sense of community. Coupled with economical apartment layouts led to a very static city occupant profile of young couples and individual tenants in shared apartments. Living separate lives and seldom having to deal or relate to one another. This project aims to play on the obscured relationships that occur in high density housing, and embrace the social aspects of city living that has been lost in Ireland. By creating a checkered grain of apartment blocks and over looked courtyards, programmed by community amenities, a situation occurs where social interaction is enabled. Furthermore each block contains interlocking apartments, each occupying a corner of the block and an area of an open air communal core. Here, chance encounters are encouraged and privacy becomes a choice with the simple Hitchcockian device, a curtain.”

What resulted in the design and an emphasizes on communal areas, there was two scales of common area, the courtyard and the core which was more like a vertical street with small garden for each resident. For me tracing the root of the design to any filmic notion was somewhat of a lie, at best the contribution of studying rear window was making clear an imagined sense of place. And although the film brought me to the concept of courtyards and blocks dimensioned loosely on that of the film. I could not say for definite that the success of the plan of each block or the fragile solution of privacy in the form of elaborate curtains could be directly linked to the study of the film. Perhaps the problem was in studying the artifact rather then the art.

Cinematic Space

In this chapter will deal with the elements of cinema and architecture have in common such continuity, movement, dimension, depth and perspective, time, experiencing space and framing space, with respect to two films, Antichrist (2009) by Lars Von Trier and Elephant (2003) by Gus Van Sant. I have chosen these films in particular because of the way in which they is made and the intend in both to put the viewer in a particular space. In a interview by Julien De Smedt, Benedict Clouette and Jesse Seegers from JDS Architects with Lars Von Trier, they draw several connections and distinctions between how Von Trier works and their practice in architecture. The restrictive nature by which Von Trier works can be very telling about the cinematic space that he creates. Various cinematic moves he makes can be mapped to a rule or restriction he set out for himself or was externally imposed on his work. “If I were an Architect, I think I would like to just work with one kind of brick, and just see what i could make with it” (Von Trier)

Elephant(2003) is part of Gus Vant Sant’s “Death Trilogy” including Gerry (2002) and Last Days(2005) . In an interview with his friend and architect Brad Cloepfil they too draw several distinctions between the disciplines. Notably, designing from point of view, moments of inspiration and elements of their process that amplify the work. Rather then work working from restrictions they speak about what they use or search for to make quailiy work. By looking at the work of these filmmakers we can clarify their approach to designing space and the principles by which they make it and so give an architectural insight to one of the most dynamic and enguaging artforms.

Von Triers approach to filmmaking

Lars von Trier and Thomas Vinterberg created the “Dogme 95 Manifesto” in 1995. These were rules to create filmmaking based on the traditional values of story, acting, and theme, and excluding the use of elaborate special effects or technology. “I swear to the following set of rules drawn up and confirmed by Dogme 95: Shooting must be done on location. Props and sets must not be brought in. The sound must never be produced apart from the image or vice-versa. The camera must be handheld. Any movement or mobility attainable in the hand is permitted. The film must be in color. Special lighting is not acceptable. Optical work and filters are forbidden. The film must not contain superficial action. Temporal and geographical alienation are forbidden. Genre movies are not acceptable. The film format must be Academy 35mm. The director must not be credited. Furthermore I swear as a director to refrain from personal taste. I am no longer an artist. I swear to refrain from creating a ‘work’, as I regard the instant as more important than the whole. My supreme goal is to force the truth out of my characters and settings. I swear to do so by all the means available and at the cost of any good taste and any aesthetic considerations.”

The Dogme 95 rules have several implications on how the viewer perceives cinematic space in a Dogme film. For instance, “Shooting must be done on location. Props and sets must not be brought in.” this means the setting cannot be created by the director, like in (2001: A Space odyssey) where Kubrick creates a completely original revolving cinematic space and so captures it appropriately with a revolving camera. Instead the space can be taken to be natural or man made, and even designed by an architect. The rules also strive to create a sense of place by stating, “The sound must never be produced apart from the image or vice-versa.” And “Temporal and geographical alienation are forbidden.”. The point of view is predetermined as that of a bystander, “The camera must be handheld. Any movement or mobility attainable in the hand is permitted.” an honesty in capturing a persons experience from only places people can be, i.e. not floating in space or passing through walls. Ultimately the Dogme manifesto can be agued to an architectural approach to filmmaking in that its strives for a truth in place, this being of primary concern to much of architecture. “My supreme goal is to force the truth out of my characters and settings.”

Approach to space in Antichrist Von Triers approach to layering space In a frame is predominantly focused on the foreground. The foreground is where he keeps his actors and the viewers attention for the most part. The background remains somewhat burred. It appears around the characters as abstracts at an undeterminable distance.

The use of blurring could be seen as a device to ignore the cinematic space but rather for Lars it is a way of creating a metaphorical or symbolic space in which the characters float and find themselves lost. He puts the viewer in that space at the end of a handheld camera, with nothing left out. The frame shakes when it’s in the back of a hearse, or when it passes through a doorway. You almost feel as though the actors have to negotiate their way around the camera in scenes. In his earlier film Dogville, he goes to the extreme of reaching out from behind the camera and pushing actors into place. Its an acknowledgment of the viewers position and existence, it gives an honesty to the viewers experience of the space and actions.

The technique of blurring of space is employed at different scales in Antichrist. As the film progresses the spaces themselves become inherently blurry. The characters drift into the background more frequently as they become more loss. The forest becomes the backdrop, for the second act and then in the third it is further more blurred by draping it in fog. In his interview with JDS he mentions the forest when describing working with variables in film and story telling. “It’s like entering a forest: you need something familiar, a friend to guide you through the forest” He understands the nature of the space and uses it destructively on his characters.

Continuity Continuity in Antichrist can be viewed in two ways. Coherent, in that, for the most part scenes take place in stationary, common spaces, the apartment, the woods, and the lodge. These spaces are filmed without any tricks and very much with respect to the Dogme rules. We also see our characters travel between spaces, whether it is from the bedroom to the bathroom or from the city to the countryside. Although the later transition is done again with the technique of blurring its is to explain the movement of traveling by train into the country.

On the other hand it can be seen as inherently incoherent by the method by which it is made. Describe here by Lars himself “Its how I work…. The idea was just that rather than having a smooth, gradual progression within a scene, you might create this more immediate, faster movement by trying very different versions and then cutting between takes. “ This technique of editing leaves the viewer unsure about the timing of actions or movements or the sequence of experiences.



Moments of profound emotion or metaphorical significance are filmed in deep space and in slow motion, meaning the viewer can focus on action in the foreground and background at his or her own choice. Hence it occurs in slow motion so all the information is obtained. The majority of the film is shot with hardly and depth as stated.

Antichrist is modeled on Japanese horror films and the photography is similar in many respects. It holds all the pale blues as such films as the original ‘The Ring’ film. Based on our transition into the digital age the ring has this cold aesthetic to portrait something unnatural and machine like. Here Von Trier using this pale light to create tension, that gives a fragility to shots.


There is a stark contrast in the level of movement in nature and in people. Nature is fearsome, unexpected and overwhelming. Where as people are restricted or in slow motion creeping. The camera moves in much the same way as any other Von Trier film, naturally, freely. It approaches situations with the curiosity of the viewer.


sound is probably the strongest continual element in the film. Sound is used to carry a mood or emotion from one shot to the next. It somethings shreaks or spikes at moments of fright, but for the most part it is at a droning tone and becomes an acumulation of held notes. Which could be said to enforce that arc of the film from its more structure score, Lascia ch’io pianga from Handel’s Rinaldo.


Not everything is framed equally, the edge of the screen changes subtly and drastically. Here where the frame undefined at the bottom, and is full with the forest, or later on where the image is surrounded by the forest. In some ways even the framing becomes more organic as the plot progresses.

Gus van sants approach to filmmaking

Gus van Sant has worked on a wide range of films from arthouse films to mainstream Hollywood productions. For the “Death Trilogy”, which was made after his more commercial successes, comes from him trying to get back to the basics of filmmaking. Thus the trilogy has a specific approach of its own, not necessarily governed by preset rules but by accumulated tools and intentions drawn from his own artwork. They are dramas based on well-known news stories that aim to give a non-bias, floating accounts of the unknown aspects of the news events. In the case of “Elephant”, it a fictional drama based on the Columbine shootings. It follows various characters trough and around the school leading up to the shooting. Alfred Hitchcock famously said “Drama is life with the dull parts cut out of it”, for Van Sant the “dull parts” that surrounded the dramatic events were the center of piece. His approach addresses the fundamental benefit of film to architects, designing the edge of a spacial experience.

Approach to space in Elephant Van Stants approach to space is based on the single character and his/her experiences as they pass trough it. This is also the base point for his writing in general. When discussing moments of inspiration with Brad Cloepfil he describes moments of inspiration. “ i usually see the whole idea and story in one character, in passing, just a moment” His spaces are constantly shot in motion with spaces bleeding into one another. For him space is a very measured thing it has a volume that his character must stroll trough and pace out. He is interested it the moments where people are solely driven on an intent and not necessarily taking in the surroundings, but contemplating the destination.

This idea is taken to the extreme in “Gerry”(2002) where entire plot is two characters walk trough the desert, making various destinations and then walking to them. This gives his work a reality of how we experience space with certain ignorance to our surroundings. He layers the space in the frame with the character at the centre, the space rolls passed in the periphery of our vision with the focus on the character. Often as we watch and wait to reach the destination, the rolling patterns and the transitions of sound and space become the focus, everything that the characters seem to be ignoring or take for granted. The more rare times when the camera stops, the spaces are shot with a very wide lens. Similarly to Von Trier’s slow motion shots he doesn’t sacrifice information for the sake of any composition.

Point of view


The point of view in Elephant is primarily shot in the third person. Inspired by video games played by the students who committed the columbine murders. The camera follows each charcter from directly behind or from over the shoulder. this unique and somethime awkward point o view shot is vigorisly exicuted throughout the film. and what arises from these shots is a great sense of time and distance. each character seems to measure the school as they pass through and around it. it also gives an vague insite into thoughts the character may be having as the pace, or at least some thoughts are shared.

The events of elephant take place over an undetermined length of time, and can only really be summed up by describing it as various narratives catching up on one another. There is a continuos time line in the events but what Van Sant reiterates in his characters that this time line belongs to no one. Without emphasizing any moments with great effort the mere overlapping of events from different points of view makes them markers of shared experiences. Whether it is a dog jumping or posing for a photograph or the firing of a shotgun, these shared experiences are in there own way the jumbled up perceived moments in Godard’s work, but relative to their own narratives.



The aspect ratio in Elephant is 1:33:1, which is use used in early film and TV which gives a ordinary aesthetic to the shots and understates the actions in the scenes. It also bears a close proportion to the corridors in the school. Elephant is a labyrinth, the action and the surroundings flow by evenly in each frame. The frame does not try to capture anything in a pose or a frozen moment. Instead it maps a piont somewhere in the middle of the frame that the enviornment warps around.

The sound in elephant is orchestrated in the same manor as the events in the film, it appears ordinary but at times in the long takes the layering of footsteps of racing students and the buzzing of prolonged intercom announcements along with sporadic laughing becomes overwhelming and at times entrancing. “The soundtrack is a hubbub, with echoes of voices and locker doors opening and closing. Sometimes there are heavily filtered water sounds or birdcalls, sometimes Beethoven’s “Moonlight Sonata.”

From this study I found that space does exist in film with all the sophistication of real space in architecture, and that much more could be taking from looking at the art of cinema and how that relates to space rather then basing architecture on the ideas of a film. From this study the art of film proves to be a stong vechilce for conveying an idea through an existencial praxis of watching a film.

Manifestations Deconstructivist in a nutshell

In the 1960s, a small oppositional element in architecture forged its own counterculture by turning its energies away from building toward writing. Born of a desire to foreground the intellectual dimension of architecture by associating it with developments in conceptual art, linguistics, and philosophy, this turn toward writing soon engaged architecture with broader questions of pop culture, mass media, advertising, and emerging technologies. One of which was Rem Koolhaas with peers whom he was involved with in the making of such films as ‘The White Slave’ and “1, 2, 3 Rhapsody. Koolhass and Tschumi along with Peter Eisenman would go on to make what is now referred to as deconstructivist architecture. Important events in the history of the deconstructivist movement include the 1982 Parc de la Villette architectural design competition, especially the entry from Jacques Derrida and Peter Eisenman and Bernard Tschumi’s winning entry.

During this period, avant-garde theorist and architect Bernard Tschumi created “Advertisements for Architecture”, a series of postcard-sized juxtapositions of words and images, based on the idea that most of us experience architecture through photographs, drawings and words in books, in other words, through our imagination and not through the experience of real space. “There is no way to perform architecture in a book. Words and drawings can only produce paper space, not the experience of real space. By definition, paper space is imaginary: it is an image.” Bernard Tschumi So he makes a comparison of the way that advertisements show you the same image over and over to create a desire for something that exists beyond the two dimensional page: “as there are advertisements for architectural products, why not for the production (and reproduction) of architecture?” Tschumi wants to see if the language of advertisements can create the desire to see or to be inside the building. The first two ads were actually from Le Corbusier’s famous Villa Savoy of 1965 which was in a state of decay at that point, and was soon to be restored. Tschumi would then go on to create plans for building identical iconic buildings all over the world, repudiating the singularity of architecture. But this was Tschumi’s first step towards under covering the “Mask” as he put it of architecture, through the seductive power of language and the image.

CONCEPT VI: Superimposition This questioning of structure leads to a particular side of contemporary architectural debate, namely deconstruction. From the beginning, the polemics of deconstruction, together with much of post-structuralist thought, interested a small number of architects because it seemed to question the very principles of geborgenheit that the postmodernist mainstream was trying to promote. When I first met Jacques Derrida in order to try to convince him to confront his own work with architecture, he asked me, “But how could an architect be interested in deconstruction? After all, deconstruction is anti-form, anti-hierarchy, antistructure, the opposite of all that architecture stands for.” “Precisely for this reason,” I replied.

‘Screenplays’ and ‘Manhatten transcripts’

The Screenplays are investigations of concepts as well as techniques, proposing simple hypotheses and then testing them out. They explore the relation between events (“the program”) and architectural spaces, on one hand, and transformational devices of a sequential nature, on the other. The use of film images in these works originated in an interest in sequences and programmatic concerns. (“There is no architecture without action, no architecture without event, no architecture with¬out program.”) Rather than composing fictional events or sequences, it seemed more informative to act upon existing ones, The cinema thus was an obvious source. At the same time, the rich formal and narrative inventions of the only genuine 20th-century art inevitably encour¬aged parallels with current architectural thought. Flashbacks, crosscutting, jumpcuts, dissolves and other editing devices provided a rich set of analogies to the time-and-space nature of architecture.

Yet the concerns of the Screen¬plays were essentially architectural. They dealt with issues of material (gen¬erators of form: reality, abstraction, movement, events, and so forth), device (disjunction, distortion, repetition, and superimposition), and counterpoint (between movement and space, events and spaces, for example). The Screen¬plays aimed at developing a contemporary set of architectural tools. The first of these Screenplays begins with Hitchcock and a sequence from ‘Psycho’, a conventional film technique, the fade-over, is changed into another mode, that of space in architecture. In this example, the geometrical and rectangular blocks of the Manhattan grid begin to interpenetrate, to super impose themselves on the organic contours of central Park, before transforming into something radically different.

The same principle is then translated to another situation, which takes Palladio’s Villa Rotanda and places it over the famous Rietveld- Schroeder house in Utrecht in an act of superimposition/transformation. But in this sequence there is no longer any correlation between the upper and lower images. In the psycho screenplay, there was still a cause and effect relationship between the cinema system and the architectural system. In the Palladio-Reitveld screenplay, this relation no longer needs to exist; he architectural fade over is now paralleled by a fixed image. We then find that there are two systems functioning independently of one another.

Excerpts from Manhattan transcripts such as “the block” demonstrate a tripartite relationship among the spaces of the architecture, the vectors of movement, and the event or action. Tschumi’s hypothesis was that architecture could be defined, and therefore dissociated, through three elements, SPACE (the fabrication of physical or material spaces), MOVEMENT (the movement of bodies in space), and finally, the event or USE.

Parc de la Villette

‘An award-winning project noted for its architecture and new strategy of urban organization, La Villette has become known as an unprecedented type of park, one based on “culture” rather than “nature.” The park is located on what was one of the last remaining large sites in Paris, a 125acre expanse previously occupied by the central slaughter houses and situated at the northeast corner of the city. In addition to the master plan, the project involved the design and construction of over 25 buildings, promenades, covered walkways, bridges, and landscaped gardens over a period of fifteen years. A system of dispersed “points”—the red enameled steel folies that support different cultural and leisure activities—is superimposed on a system of lines that emphasizes movement through the park.’

In 1982 a competition was held in Paris to redesign the site of a large abattoirs in the heart of Paris which included slaughterhouses and the national meat wholesalers. Tschumi won with his bid in 1982–83 for the park, and he sought the opinions of the deconstructionist philosopher Jacques Derrida in the preparation of his design proposal. This would be the culmination of Tshcumi’s writings and cinematic studies. Proposing to outline the movements of the various individuals traversing an architectural set, Tschumi declares that “the effect is not unlike an Eisenstein film script.” He suggests that the reading of a dynamic architectural space “does not depend merely on a single frame (such as a faced), but on a succession of frames or spaces,” and thus draws explicit analogies with film. Tschumi cites Eisenstein again in his work for the Park, where the architectural path was designed was called a “cinematic promenade.” Here, the itinerary that links the follies of the Parisian park conceived as a film. The architecturalcinematic juncture is developed on the grounds of motion along a sinuous route connecting the urban garden of a metropolitan drifter.


By looking at the investigations conducted in this essay and those of the architects and filmmakers mentioned, one begins to understand the interaction between the two special arts, both of which function as dynamic terrains. A dynamic conception of architecture, which overcomes the traditional notion of building as a still, tectonic construct, allows us to think of space as practice. This involves incorporating the inhabitant of the space (or its intruder) into architecture, not simply marking and reproducing but reinventing, as film does, his or her various trajectories through space –that is, charting the narrative these navigations create. An open relation of movement to events transforms architectural frames, like filmic frames. Rather than being vectors or directional arrows, these movements are mobilized territories, mappings of practiced places. They are special practices-veritable plots. This is how architectural experience, which involves the dynamics of space, movement, and narrative, which embody the effect of the cinema and its promenades.



1• Something Like An Autobiography [Paperback] Akira Kurosawa (Author)(18.) Alvar Aalto, untitled manuscript for a lecture held its Turin, Milan, Genoa and Rome in 1956. Published partly in Italian 2• Cinema and design, Cambridge scholars press edited byBelkis Uluoglu, 3• Cinematic Architecture Pascal Schon [Paperback] Pascal Schoning (Author) Publication Date: May 1, 2006 4•Achinstein, Peter, and Barker, Stephen F. (1969), The Legacy of Logical Positivism: Studies in the Philosophy of Science, Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore, MD. 5• QUANG TRUONG no ideas but in things media, architecture, & design http://www.quangtruong.net/ 6• Towards a Theory of Montage: Sergei Eisenstein Selected Works, Volume 2 [Paperback] Sergei M. Eisenstein (Author), Richard Taylor (Editor), Michael Glenny (Translator) Publication Date: June 15, 2010 7• Atlas of Emotion: Journeys in Art, Architecture, and Film By Giuliana Bruno Publication Date: September 2002 8•The Wrong House: The Architecture Of Alfred Hitchcock [Paperback] Steven Jacobs (Author) Publication Date: January 9, 2007 9•Agenda: JDS Architects: Can We Sustain our Ability to Crisis? [Paperback] Julien De Smedt (Author, Editor) Publication Date: March 1, 2011

•Six Concepts Excerpt from Architecture and Disjunction by Bernard Tschumi •The pleasure of architecture by Bernard Tschumi •Surrealism and Architecture By Thomas Mical •Screenplays by Bernard Tschumi •Manhattan transcripts by Bernard Tschumi •Deconstruction in a Nutshell: A Conversation with Jacques Derrida (Perspectives in Continental Philosophy) [Paperback] John D. Caputo (Editor) Publication Date: January 1, 1996 •http://www.aaschool.ac.uk/VIDEO/lecture.php?ID=97 conversation on cinematic archi in the AA

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What is Cinematic Architecture?  

A review and projection on the connection between cinema and architecture

What is Cinematic Architecture?  

A review and projection on the connection between cinema and architecture