Architecture on Screen

From the dystopian visions of Fritz Lang to the midcentury world of Jacques Tati and the stylized universe of Wes Anderson, this course
examines the evolving representation of architecture, urban environments, and landscape over the course of film and television history. The course will also examine how the development of social media platforms is remaking the way architecture and urban space are presented. Students will be instructed in basic filmmmaking techniques, explore different modes of storytelling, and write and direct their own short film projects.

Each session of the class will explore a specific theme in screen history, among them: the representation of the architectural profession; forms of documentary storytelling from conventional narrative to cinema verite and other experimental approaches; the history and design of opening and credit sequences; the evollving depiction of the American landscape, with an emphasis on the American West; the role of the auteur in shaping perceptions of space; the changing representation of suburbia in popular film and tv; dystopian and utopian environments in drama and science fiction; the domestic space, and in particular the modern house, as a locus of fear; social conflict, race, colonialism and contested urban environments; and representations of Boston and the Harvard campus. Running as a through-line through these sessions will be an examination of the representation of the idea of modernity. The class will also look closely at the films of select directors who have made architecture and the form of the city a consistent theme of their work.

Screenings of essential films will be supplemented by readings and occassional guest speakers. All students are required to have a smart phone.

The first day of GSD classes, Tuesday, September 5th, is held as a MONDAY schedule at the GSD. As this course meets on Monday, the first meeting of this course will be on Tuesday, September 5th. It will meet regularly thereafter.