WHATEVER GOOD THINGS WE BUILD ENDS UP BUILDING US
There have been several instances where I have had to explain what an architect is actually entitled to do. I have always drawn parallels to the job of a movie director. Both are captains of their projects and trying to steer their way to a successful completion for an audience. Both their projects evoke emotions and attract applause or criticism. Both the art forms are brought about by a host of specialists, assistants and co-workers. One of the many reasons to take up art, cinema & architecture was to experience the applause and criticism by directing a movie and making architecture the centre piece, using the lens as a medium to portray sentiments of architecture instead of a sketch pen.
As a student of architecture or a professional, it is imperative to create stimulating architecture so the film makers can capture it in time and aspire people from all over the world. In Pallasmaa’s words, “In the same way that buildings and cities create and preserve images of culture and a particular way of life, cinema illuminates the cultural archaeology of both the time of its making and the era that it depicts.” [i] To illustrate, the Sydney Opera house is an example of a building that can captivate the audience of both architecture and cinema. To reiterate, if the perception of SOH is distorted for a movie then it can inspire a new generation of architecture.
As architects, we offer to the world, spaces with comfort and amusement, giving the person an opportunity to dream of the environment before turning it into reality. Cinematic space brings together the idea of perspective and perception to create a whole new vision of dreams and reality as an additive.
It is reasonable to argue that sound is an integral part of cinema along with architecture. Sound or music arouses the emotions of audiences. A space can be disturbing if the sound experienced is unpleasant. The same space can be comforting if birds are chirping outside with the sound of gentle breeze blowing. Sound experienced by a space near the ocean compared to the city has a varying contrast.
Michael Tawa mentions, how in cinema different art forms can influence and inform us as architects. His four key relations between cinema and architecture are Place, Space, Time, Framing & Assemblage.[ii] Sound or music being one of the popular art forms is a vital component when discussing relationship with cinema and architecture. Ironically though for Pallasmaa, “In its inherent abstractness, music has historically been regarded as the art form which is closest to architecture. Cinema is, however, even closer to architecture than music, not solely because of its temporal and spatial structure but fundamentally because both architecture and cinema articulate lived space.” Also, Tawa indicates the connection between people and nature through architect Peter Zumthor’s work. Natural light in architecture and manipulating the same light for cinema go hand in hand. Hence, light also forms a key relation with movies and spaces in it.
They say eyes are windows to the world. Every day we wake to the aspiration of looking at a beautiful world. We, as architects, designers and planners are catalysts in shaping the environment we live in. Every step towards the design process is a step towards a beautiful mise en scène. It is imperative to bring that idea into reality for the sake of audience of all seven forms of art. As per Pallasmaa, “A great building makes us experience gravity, time and – ultimately – ourselves.” [iii]
[i] Juhaini Pallasmaa, “Introduction - Lived Space in Architecture and Cinema” in The Architecture of Image: Existential Space in Cinema, Rakennustieto Publishing, 2007, 13.
[ii] Micheal Tawa, “Space, Place and Time – Exploring Precedents in Cinema,” lecture, UNSW, Sydney, 2011
[iii] Pallasmaa, “Introduction”, 36