Where the good guys live


Map of city of Theed on the planet of Naboo. (img2.wikia.nocookie.net)

My post “Lucas villain ship to Chicago” sparked a lively back and forth on the TradArch and Pro-Urb listservs about the work of those who create urbanism for the movies. Was Blade Runner filmed in a house designed by Frank Lloyd Wright? Yes, Ennis House, built in 1924. What material was used, and how is it holding up? Or, the idea for the city of Theed on the planet Naboo in the Star Wars series came from Leon Krier’s Atlantis, his ideal town on a hilly isle, according to Andres Duany. (Thanks to Michael Geller for posting the excellent map of Theed atop this post – click then click to enlarge.) Over drinks at a Miami Beach café with the urbanist Demitri Baches and the films’ production designer it was argued (by whom I’m not sure) that “a nice city could not be modernist.” All this recalls a zany essay on the dark side of movie island paradises by Edwin Heathcote of the Financial Times, to which I linked from this post last April.

I believe that if a study were done of cinematic habitations for good guys and bad guys, it would discover a remarkable tendency of the good, the brave and the innocent to occupy traditional architecture – from houses to cities ranging from classical to the vernacular. And vice versa for the bad guys. Whether on purpose or by intuition-inspired accident, it would seem there’s nothing coincidental about this profound dichotomy!

An effort to bring this remarkable filmic truth to the public’s attention might be a coup for the good guys in architecture’s style wars.

About David Brussat

This blog was begun in 2009 as a feature of the Providence Journal, where I was on the editorial board and wrote a weekly column of architecture criticism for three decades. Architecture Here and There fights the style wars for classical architecture and against modern architecture, no holds barred. History Press asked me to write and in August 2017 published my first book, "Lost Providence." I am now writing my second book. My freelance writing on architecture and other topics addresses issues of design and culture locally and globally. I am a member of the board of the New England chapter of the Institute of Classical Architecture & Art, which bestowed an Arthur Ross Award on me in 2002. I work from Providence, R.I., where I live with my wife Victoria, my son Billy and our cat Gato. If you would like to employ my writing and editing to improve your work, please email me at my consultancy, dbrussat@gmail.com, or call 401.351.0457. Testimonial: "Your work is so wonderful - you now enter my mind and write what I would have written." - Nikos Salingaros, mathematician at the University of Texas, architectural theorist and author of many books.
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3 Responses to Where the good guys live

  1. Steven Semes says:

    What about “The Prisoner,” filmed at Port Meirion designed by Sir Williams Clough-Ellis and one of the great 20th century traditional places. But was it the place of the good guys or the bad guys?


  2. Erik Evens says:

    Hi David-
    The Ennis House in Los Angeles, By Frank Lloyd Wright was built in 1924, not 1959.


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