20 Movies With Stunning Architecture in the Starring Role

The last decade of Hollywood movies has offered plenty for architectural lovers to gawk at.

Samuel Medina Samuel Medina

To help keep you sane during lockdown, we’ve got a very niche treasure hunt for you: Spot the following 20 spectacular buildings as they appear in movies throughout the last decade (along with a few from further back in time).

Architecture and movies have always gone together, from Hitchcock’s pioneering use and representation of space to Kubrick’s anxious use of interiors to Terry Gilliam’s absurdo-futurist panoply of forms in Brazil. These examples, great as they may be, are very well-known and always trotted out when any discussion of film and buildings is broached. But what about those lesser-spotted buildings from classic less-than-classic movies?

The last decade of Hollywood movies has offered plenty for architectural lovers to gawk at, even if the films themselves are usually underwhelming, to put it kindly (we’re looking at you, Twilight). Enjoy this list, and be sure to continue onto page two at the foot of the page for the second set of A-list architectural cameos!

Baumschulenweg Crematorium

Still from “Aeon Flux”

Baumschulenweg Crematoriumby Axel Schultes and Charlotte Frank, Berlin, Germany

15 minutes of fame: Featured in Aeon Flux (2005)

The Cullen family

Hoke House by Skylab Architecture, Portland, Oregon

15 minutes of fame: Doubled as the Cullen family home in Twilight (2008)

Villa Överbyby John Robert Nilsson Arkitektkontor, Stockholm Archipelago, Sweden

15 minutes of fame: Martin Vanger’s house (and torture cellar) in The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo (2011)

Photo: Roland Halbe

Daniel Craig/James Bond running atop the ESO Hotel in “Quantum of Solace”

ESO Hotel by Auer + Weber Architekten, Cerro Paranal, Chile

15 minutes of fame: Featured in Quantum of Solace (2008)

Robert Downey Jr. and Jamie Foxx in “The Soloist”

Disney Opera House by Frank Gehry, Los Angeles, Calif.

15 minutes of fame: Featured in The Soloist (2009)

The Skyline Residence by Belzberg Architects, Los Angeles, Calif.

15 minutes of fame: Doubled as Ryan Gosling’s absurd bachelor pad in Crazy Stupid Love (2011)

Stills from “The International”

Phaeno Science Center by Zaha Hadid,Wolfsburg, Germany

15 minutes of fame: Doubled as a secret lair in The International (2009). The building was photoshopped at the bottom of a ravine at the edge of the sea.

30 St. Mary Axe; photo: Oli Scarff

Hard times inside the Gherkin, from “Match Point”

30 St. Mary Axe (“The Gherkin”) by Foster + Partners,London, UK

15 minutes of fame: See in Woody Allen’s Match Point (2005). The interiors double as Jonathan Rhys-Meyers’ office

Tom Cruise scaling the side of the Burj

Burj Khalifa, by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM), Dubai, UAE

15 minutes of fame: Site of a nefarious nuclear missile exchange in Mission Impossible 4: Ghost Protocol (2011)

The Standardby Ennead Architects, New York, New York.

15 minutes of fame: One of its rooms doubled as the, ahem, “boom-boom room” in Shame (2012)

Next 10 Projects >