Architects love Sci Fi

kirk dresses like an architect

Let’s get this straight. The architect doesn’t have time for movies or tv.

Sometimes in a gesture of normality, the architect will go to the movies with a member of the family and will go the whole hog. Popcorn, drinks, lollies. But it will usually be a sci fi movie, especially one that demonstrates some brilliant new technology and special effects.

Avatar is an ideal choice here – special effects, astounding new technologies – and also as an added bonus, it has  won awards! This is something architects understand and relate to.

Check out the news story below on Avatar as technology spectacle. Written to entice architects out of the office.


“People ask things like ‘will Avatar change cinema?’ In many ways it already has and that has happened in production behind the camera,” said James Dyer, editor in chief of Empire Digital.

Avatar is the new movie by Hollywood director James Cameron – the 3D film is nearly 60% computer generated and is rumoured to have cost $300m (£187m).

Much of the budget was spent on cutting-edge visual effects, and inventing entirely new technologies to produce what is a live action film set in a CG world.

“We have a brand spanking new stereoscopic 3D camera for the live action portion of the shoot which is separate from the virtual camera and the performance capture techniques,” said Mr Cameron.

Market research helped the studio promotions dept refine their words and images to elevate the heartbeats of architects, engineers, pilots and nerds, as well as normal guys.


Choosing movies or tv programs to watch in a house that an architect lives in can be tricky.

He goes for sci-fi – any sci fi good or bad – and for the most part, no one else does. Unless the architect has somehow managed to cultivate an appetite for this silly genre in other members of the family, in spite of being absent most of the time. Or perhaps because he is absent.

For some young males  sci fi becomes an architect- father substitute, and they enjoy it because dad, who knows cool, thinks it is cool. They may also cultivate a taste for designer objects in the same spirit – trying to emulate and impress the one who cannot easily be impressed.

Sometimes we put up with sci fi for the sake of spending time with the architect. This wife has tried to get into it but watching those high concept, low on storyline films with the architect is a tough gig.

But remember, the architect doesn’t have time for television. TV is not really ‘watched’ but may be part of the trance ritual as the architect recovers in a slump on the couch after long hours at work. Tedious episodes of Star Trek new generation or Lost (which never gets to the point) may be on although she/he isn’t really watching. The trance will be sharply interrupted if someone tries to change the channel.

This futuristic couch might appeal to the architect while (not) watching sci fi on telly.

Why this obsession with sci fi.  Yes we know it’s to do with the Modernist project, imagining and working towards a more inspiring (but functional) world, pondering on utopias and dystopias and sympathising with those brave few who struggle to save mankind and make the world a better place. These are all themes of the architecture profession.

And sci fi is about technology. Gadgets, futuristic design, functionalism. The sets and creatures are often produced by greatly admired designers and architects.

gattaca - Frank Lloyd Wright blg

The headquarters of the sinister ‘Gattaca Corporation’ of this dystopian sci-fi is Frank Lloyd Wright’s Marin County Civic Center, Civic Center Drive, San Rafael, over the Golden Gate Bridge about 15 miles north of San Francisco.

Alien - Giger designed.

But there’s more. There are aliens.

Well, think of spock. He is smart, technologically advanced, completely rational and devoid of emotion. Does this remind you of anyone? Yes the architect of course.

And even the less personable aliens. They are misunderstood by ordinary people, they are from a different planet. They get used to this ‘alienation’ and carry on in a stoic fashion.  Even if humans accept the aliens and work alongside them (recognizing their superior talents) the alien suffers – humans are imperfect, they need sleep, make mistakes and take time off for meals.  They want to talk about things – inane chatter.

Architects know what this is like all too well.

But there’s an escape for the aliens. Sometimes they get mad. Sometimes they turn on humans and get to act out (the architect’s) revenge fantasies.

Perhaps this architect’s wife is projecting her own revenge fantasies.

architect's wife dreams of rescue


2 responses to “Architects love Sci Fi

  1. paranoia is thinking you are the center of the universe.

    louis kahn said
    an architect can’t make good places for ppl if he(she) doesn’t understand how to live a good life.
    ( he also lived a double life ,essentally married to two differnt women).

    i recommend:

    italian food.
    8 hour days maximum.
    a bulletproof sense of humor.
    drawing…WITHOUT a computer.
    making things.
    and stop lecturing people…lol.

    on topic:

    sci-fi is history in reverse.

    good luck.
    the glasses won’t help.

    • I’m so paranoid it took me a while to get the paranoid comment and I couldn’t ask family members for help because they’re already laughing at me.

      Didn’t know that about Kahn. How interesting. Maybe this multiple wives thing is linked somehow with being creative, wanting to explore different options all the time. More like Origamy (sic) than Polygamy.

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