5 Movies from the Master Storytellers of Architecture

Paul Keskeys Paul Keskeys

Behind every great building there lies a story: one of diligence, determination, and creative inspiration. Telling this story with a visceral flourish can help architects communicate concepts to clients, as well as convincing doubters and inspiring trust in the design process. One of the most powerful ways to do this in recent years has been with video and animation.

We take a look at five brilliant examples of architectural movies that tell the stories of buildings in a matter of minutes:

Al Rayyan Stadium by Pattern Design and Factory Fifteen

While avant-garde studio Factory Fifteen is more well-known for its dystopian works of architectural fantasy, this talented team of former architecture students has also helped tell the story of future real-world projects. One such example is Pattern Design’s stadium for the Qatar 2022 World Cup in which Factory Fifteen illustrated the origins of the arena’s intricate façade using a gracefully animated, highly cinematic sequence.

Rio 2016 Olympic Park Masterplan by AECOM and Squint/Opera

Squint/Opera’s quirky, colorful style perfectly suits the carnival atmosphere of Rio de Janeiro, the location for AECOM’s ambitious masterplan for the 2016 Olympic Games. The animation studio quite literally ‘painted’ the picture of the planned waterfront development, combining textured 2D graphics with 3D renderings to offer a vibrant overview of AECOM’s vision for the world’s premier sporting occasion.

Sleuk Rith Institute by Zaha Hadid Architects and MIR

The Zaha Hadid architects are seasoned professionals when it comes to cinematic trailers; a dedicated page on their website boasts a grand total of 99 animations and videos. ZHA collaborated with Norwegian creative studio MIR to give a mysterious glimpse into the proposed Sleuk Rith Institute in Cambodia. Raindrop sounds, subtle lighting, and mystical music help bring this poignant vision to life.

56 Leonard Street by Herzog and de Meuron and Tronic Studio

Materiality and metamorphosis feature strongly in Tronic Studio’s rendering of 56 Leonard Street, currently under construction in the heart of New York City. The relationship between art and architecture within the urban environment is brought into sharp focus by the collision of Herzog and de Meuron’s building and Anish Kapoor’s stainless steel sculpture at the foot of the tower.

House on Cliffside by Fran Silvestre Arquitectos and Alfonso Calza

While most of us associate architectural movies with computer-generated visions of a future world, it is important to remember that the essence of architecture can also be communicated by filming built works. Alfonso Calza produced this incredibly atmospheric rendition of Fran Silvestre’s stunning “House on Cliffside” in Alicante, Spain. From day to night, the idyllic beauty of the residence is revealed using a plethora of different camera angles and ambient lighting effects.

Top Image: “Jonah” by Factory Fifteen, via RIBA London. Watch the full film here.

© Boys Play Nice

Revitalization of Prague riverfront area // petrjanda/brainwork

Prague, Czechia

© k20 Architecture

Port Melbourne Football Club Sporting and Community Facility // k20 Ar chitecture

Port Melbourne, Australia