The Death of Film in Architecture: Two Recent Cinemas

The Death of Film in Architecture: Two Recent Cinemas

Within architectural practice, the lopsided relationship between cinema and architecture has prompted an evasion as response. The notion of translation, of making a “cinematic” architecture, has displaced the possibility of confrontation and replaced it with the pursuit of mimesis. Unlike the modern painters who responded to the photograph with an open abnegation of the realism it entailed, architects in the age of film have consistently sought inspiration in the greater synthetic powers of their cinematic rival. From Le Corbusier’s promenade architectural, to Bernard Tschumi’s Manhattan Transcripts, and recently Steven Holl’s Linked Hybrid, the persistence of the cinematic analogy in architecture is to a certain extent more important than its success or failure as a premise. Whether or not the moving camera can in a satisfactory way be equated to an ambulatory sequence through a building, or if an elevator’s trip through disparate programs in section could be likened to a “jump cut” is immaterial when faced with the resulting building. The persistence of this cinematic metaphor in architecture constitutes the basis for this paper. That the base of the metaphor, the medium of film, is in the last throes of a transmutation into video complicates and at the same time transforms the architectural product. By looking at two recent cinemas that conceptually straddle the “death of film” this paper will clarify how the metaphor works and outline how cinematic buildings make their case. [On Steven Holl’s Linked Hybrid Cinematèque and Thomas Leeser’s Museum of the Moving Image.]

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1st March, 2012

Written by

James Macgillivray

  • Conference
  • Film and Architecture
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