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OUGD401 // Content for Publication

I decided to write out the content for my publication here so that it would all link together as an essay or piece of text before trying to write it straight into my design templates. This way, it will be easier to drop it in to the relevant pages throughout my publication when I am designing it...


In films of the last century it is not uncommon for a modern home to be occupied by a wealthy villain and for the structures and furnishings to match their attitude towards human life. The architectural structures would come together to represent a form of secret lair, cove or hideout

Big Lebowski


A great example of this would be the Sheats Goldstein Residence, designed and built by American Architect John Lautner between the years of 1961 and 1963. The Malibu party home is occupied by pornographer Jackie Treehorn in the cult comedy 1998 film, The Big Lebowski.
The structure was built into a sandstone ledge of Beverly Crest located just on the borders of Bevelery Hills, Los Angeles America. This would create a cove in the cliff overlooking nature. A perfect pad for a pornographer.
The cinematographer of The Big Lebowski, Charles Deakins, described Jackie Treehorn’s apartment as…
"kind of seedy and the light's pretty nasty with a grittier look.”

Diamonds Are Forever

Bond Villains Secret Lair

Arguably the most famous private house in the world, The 1968 Elrod House in Palm Springs, California was also built by American Architect John Lautner. This house is also one of the most architecturally significant homes in all of the world and described by Lautner himself as ‘Timeless’ design. Lautner was infamous for making his buildings interact with the natural environment around them. The large dome like roof and indoor-outdoor swimming pool fits right it to the surrounding boulders of the location.
Featured in the James Bond classic film, Diamonds are forever as villain Ernst Stavro Blofeld’s lair, this house was perfect for the part according to film set designer Ken Adams...

"I wanted to look at exotic looking places in Palm Springs and I was shown The Elrod House. It was absolutely right for the film. It was a reinforced concrete structure, very modern and fabulous. I said ‘this as though I designed it. I didn't have to do anything.'" [1] Ken Adams

La Confidential

Designed and built by Architect Richard Neutra between 1927 and 1929, The Lovell Health House is an international style modernist structure that lies right  in the centre of Los Angeles, America. It was originally built for former physician Philip Lovell, hence the name ‘Lovell Health House’.
It is architecturally important for two main reasons. The first being it is described as the first steel framed house and also an early example of ‘gunite’ (sprayed on concrete) which became a common trademark of Neutras work.

Secondly, The house follows many principles of international modernist style and was famously featured in the 1997 neo-noir film, L.A Confidential.
Set in early '50s Los Angeles, the stark modern look of House was quite a break from the dark wood cottages. In the film, the house belongs to Pierce Patchett, A businessman who is deeply related to a suspicious call-girl service that runs prostitutes altered by plastic surgery to resemble popular movie stars.

“A building can be designed to satisfy "by the month" with the regularity of a provider. Or it can give satisfaction in a very different way, "by the moment," the fraction of a second, with the thrill of a lover.”  Richard Neutra [4]

Pulp Fiction

Located just a few miles north of Sunset Boulevard in Beverley Hills, this modern real estate paradise is currently on the market and worth millions. In the film Pulp Fiction, it is home to Mia Wallace, who is the wife of infamous mob leader, Marcellus Wallace.

Fans of the cult classic will associate the insides and equally as modern furnishings with the song ‘Girl, you’ll be a woman soon’. The three-bedroomed house was built in the 60‘s and the architect is unknown. He would probably never know of it’s soon to be prominent role in the biggest film of the 1990’s.

Ferris Bueller

The house, located in Highland, Illinois, America, was designed in 1953 by Architects James Speyer and David Haid and is officially known as the ‘Ben Rose House’. It was memorably included in the 80’s classic ‘Ferris Bueller’s Day Off’ in which it hosts character Cameron Frye’s fathers very tempting red 1961 Ferrari 250 GTO in which Frye and Bueller take an iconic joyride through California in. 

The contemporary home has four bedrooms and is 5,300 square feet. The garage is also an art showcase for modern pieces as well as vintage cars and is thought to be on the market for around $3 million. The house is considered to be Speyer’s best architectural work and is notable for its progressive design.

“In 1958, the house was one of 12 homes in the nation featured in a Bethlehem Steel publication promoting the use of steel framing for residential design. Also on the property is an automobile pavilion, designed by Speyer’s first graduate student David Haid, to house the Rose’s classic car collection. Haid’s design emulates that of the house and stands on pylons over a ravine.”[3]


Contemporary films of the 21st century have taken a slightly different view to the way heroes and villains are perceived. It would be expected for heroes to return home to domestic stability, nice picket fences and maybe a thatched roof. The people  that are usually living within the confides of the modernist steel structures have tended to be repressed, evil villains just like those seen in Diamonds are Forever, L.A Confidential and North by Northwest.

In pixar’s retro-futuristic animated film ‘The Incredibles’,  the Parr’s, a family of superheroes, reside in very Neo-modernist digs.  Unlike The Incredibles, Modernism, is no longer about saving the world. It has become a common way of achieving certain kind of stylishness and an optimistic yet dated, way of looking at the world.

The film revolves around a couple of aging superheroes settling unhappily into middle age, and to match this, the design team picked the exact period when Modernist architecture was doing the same. Production designer Lou Romano and art director Ralph Eggleston, weren't specific about the film's era, but for the most part it dates to the early 1960s. It’s the obsessive attention to detail that makes this film stand out above other animated films and it’s exciting to see a modernist era focused on so much in a childrens family film.


Another example of 21st century use of modern architecture in sci-fi is the ‘Twilight’ series. The films focus around a main family of ‘well behaved’ vampires, The Cullen’s. They are modern vampires, therefore live in a modern house. The use of woods really merges the house with its green forest surroundings. This helps make stronger the relationship the vampires have with the outside world.

 The house used in the first film is called The Hoke House and was designed by architect Jeff Kovel. The house was designed for Nike executive John Hoke and his family and they really liked the idea of their house being used as the home to a bunch of sophisticated vampires.

 “What did you expect? Coffins, and dungeons and moats?”
 Edward Cullen, Twilight

“I am in architecture, development, and rock and roll.” [4] Jeff Kovel
-       “We designed the house in 2006, completed construction in 2007. We have designed an additional residence next door that will begin construction once we locate another vampire” [5] Jeff kovel


When it comes down to science fiction films, Modern Architecture has been used over the last century to represent a dystopic or angled view of the future. It is also somewhat a tradition that famous architectural locations are often used.

A good example of this is the Structured House; a distinctive elliptical curved house built on Genessee Mountain in Denver, Colorado, in 1963 by architect Charles Deaton. It resembles some sort of spaceship that has landed on a side of a mountain and is therefore featured prominently in the 1973 Woody Allen sci-fi comedy Sleeper. It was designed as a sculpture first; the floor plan for the home was drawn up later (thus it was given the name, “Sculptured House”).

“People aren’t angular. So why should they live in rectangles?”
charles deaton [7] Charles Deaton

 “Ideas and works about dystopian societies often explore the concept of humans abusing technology and humans individually and collectively coping, or not being able to properly cope with technology that has progressed far more rapidly than humanity's spiritual evolution.” [7]

A Clockwork Orange

Modern Architecture was used to give The Skybreak House a futuristic look in the 1971 cult classic and controversial, A Clockwork Orange. The film is set in England, in the ‘fascist near-future’. The interior of this House is a particularly obscure but notable piece of architecture, being designed by both Richard Rogers and Norman Foster, when they were together in Team 4. The house is located in Radlett, Herefordshire and was built between 1965 and 1966. 

Apparently, Kubrick studied volumes of design and architecture magazines and projected an exaggerated version of the Pop Art aesthetic of the 1970s into the future. Although the architecture in the film is not representative of architecture we should use today, it is valuable in representing the 1970's modern architecture and Kubrick's idea of the future.

“Kubrick Himself is well known for having sourced a lot of his inspiration from several existing architectural and design trends and concepts. Today, terms like science fiction architecture or cyber architecture are commonly used to refer to a new and modern style of architecture that draws heavily on science fiction and new technologies. For many architects, science fiction is an imaginative form of design, making its visualizations worth studying.” [8]

In conclusion, 

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