Film gives us the rare opportunity to completely question all that has come to be accepted in terms of the language of architecture as well as architectural and historic convention. Vitruvius claimed architecture was composed of the triple essence: strength, utility, and aesthetic effect. Sir Henry Wotton (1568-1639) quaintly changed this to, 'commodity, firmness and delight.' It would be safe to say that the majority of architecture that has been created to date has attempted to follow this dictate.

Throughout the history of film, we have seen a change in the ways in which architecture is used, portrayed and represented in film.

This year's theme will begin to combine ideas of the relationship of the use of architectural and urban elements in film with respect to dystopia and the uncanny.

The films we have viewed have all posited a slightly different take on, or representation of madness. In some cases the architecture and its set based manipulation allowed directors to create quite specific environments that supported this theme. In others, existing architecture was manipulated in such a way as to lend this air to the film. In some films it was the actions of the characters that allowed perfectly "normal" sets to be read in this manner. Some plots were more "insane" than others.

This assignment was to take one of the key words or phrases listed to the right and use at least four of the films we have viewed this term to construct a web page that illustrates the presenation of madness in the set of films, and as relates to the larger discussion of the term.



"madness" topics
terri meyer boake
judith martin
elfie kalfakis
allison janes
sarah hawley
allan wilson
sue anne tang
derek mccallum
martin chow
reggie macintosh
meredith vaga
michael taylor
elaine lui
bi-ying miao
fernie lai
eric lajoie
jane wong
tyler bowa
meg galachiuk
sarah neault
morgan o'reilly
anna-joy veenstra
andrea murphy
lisa rajkumar-maharaj
yoshi hashimoto
andrew azzopardi
jamie ferriera
ray wang
andrea lam
Filmography for the course
  The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (1920)  
  Avant Garde Film Collection  
  Un Chien Andalou (1929)  
  Batman (1989) discussion questions
  The Dark Knight (2008) discussion questions
  Batman Gotham Knight (2007) discussion questions
  A Clockwork Orange (1972) discussion questions
  A Zed and Two Noughts (1985) discussion questions
  The Belly of an Architect (1990)  
  True Stories (1986)  
  Brazil (1984) discussion questions
  Alphaville (1965) discussion questions
  Equilibrium (2006) discussion questions
  Renaissance 2054 (2006) discussion questions
  Paprika (2006)  
  Suggested Readings:  
  Vidler, Anthony. The Architectural Uncanny: Essays in the Modern Unhomely. Cambridge: The MIT Press, 1992.
  Vidler, Anthony. Warped Space. Cambridge: The MIT Press, 2000.  
  Freud, Sigmund. The Uncanny. Originally published, 1899.
  Royle, Nicholas. The Uncanny. New York: Routlege Press, 2003.  
  Affron, Charles and Mirella Jona Affron. Sets in Motion: Art Direction and Film Narrative. New Jersey: Rutgers University Press, 1995.
  Paradoxa. Volume 3: The Uncanny. link  
  I think Sebastian, Therefore I ... Somersault. Film and the Uncanny. Leslie Stern. link

back to arch and film 2008


Student Madness Films:

As part of the course, students made films that incorporated the notion of madness into the presentation. The links below take you to their uploads on YouTube or Vimeo.


Kitchen Play
Andrew Azzopardi and Tyler Bowa

Ray Wang and Eric Lajoie
Bang Bang
Anna-Joy Veenstra and Morgan O'Reilly
Watch UR Step
Elaine Lui
Brain Damage
Mike Taylor
Dream Sequence
Lisa Rajkumar-Maharaj
Andrea Lam + Andrea Murphy
The Space Between Us
Bi-Ying Miao + Jane Wong
Talk Show Host
Allan Wilson
Close the Door
Elfie Kalfakis

University of Waterloo
School of Architecture
Arch 443 / 646
Architecture and Film 2008:

"it's a very very mad world"


updated Tuesday, November 24, 2009 11:02 AM