10 films starring remarkable architecture

September 12th, 2013

Have you ever watched a movie and found yourself admiring the buildings more than the heroine? We’re guilty of this, and with Toronto International Film Festival  (TIFF ) in the city for a few more days, we figured the timing was perfect for us to revisit our love for great architecture on the silver screen.

Many of these buildings are already world-famous but some are just beautifully constructed. Take a look to see if you could match the building to the movie.

The Burj Khalifa, Dubai Toronto International Film Festival: The Burj Khalifa

The mission was definitely not impossible for Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) in Mission Impossible 4: Ghost Protocol (2011), when he scaled down the tallest man-made building in the world. It was the first time the Burj Khalifa made it onto the big screen, but it was featured on TV before, thanks to The Amazing Race.

Ferris Bueller’s Day Off: This house in Highland Park, Illinois Toronto International Film Festival: Ferris Buellers Day Off House

Fans of the classic ’80s film Ferris Bueller’s Day Off  definitely remember Cameron Frye’s house, especially when he kicks his father’s vintage Ferrari off a jack and through the glass wall. The four-bedroom house is for sale with a price tag of $1.5 million US and was was built by architect A. James Speyer in 1953.

Drew Mandel’s Ravine House, Toronto

Toronto International Film Festival: Drew Mandels Ravine House

Our favourite city, Toronto,  steps in as a backdrop for movies and TV shows from time to time but it’s not often that the city’s architectural beauties play a major role. Director Atom Egoyan featured several of Toronto’s unique buildings in the movie Chloe (2009), like the Royal Ontario Museum and the Art Gallery of Ontario. But it was Drew Mandel’s Ravine House that really stole the show in the film – we won’t give away too much but you’ll forever remember the house because of the memorable climactic scene.

The Louvre, France 306602858_42d9c92700_z

The French landmark is world-famous for its architectural design that resembles the ancient Egyptian pyramids. It played a prominent role in The Da Vinci Code (2006) both as a setting and symbolically. Dan Brown must be a fan of great architecture because his newest book, Inferno, takes place at the Hagia Sophia and Basilica Cistern in Istanbul.

Plaza Hotel, New York City Architecture in Flims: Plaza Hotel

It’s the most-filmed building in NYC however, most of us will probably remember it from Home Alone 2: Lost in New York (1992) when then-owner Donald Trump directs Kevin (McCaulay Caulkin) to the hotel’s lobby. However, it was also featured in Almost Famous, The Sopranos and Bride Wars, just to name a few.

Empire State Building, New York City Architecture in Films: Empire State Building

Another New York landmark, the Empire State Building has also starred in many Hollywood films but most memorably in the classic 1933 film, King Kong, which was released just one year after the Empire State Building was built. The famous landmark has been featured on the silver screen for hundreds of movies including An Affair to Remember, Sleepless in Seattle, Elf and Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief.

The Hoke Residence, Oregon Architecture in Films: Hoke Residence

Twilight (2008) fans will definitely recognize Edward Cullen’s house from the movie. The Hoke family purchased the house soon after it was built, and were then approached by the Twilight film production team to use the home as a vampire coven. Those who read the book may have been slightly disappointed, as the book describes their home as a slightly more gothic mansion rather than this modern home. But it ended up working out just fine.

Canals in Venice

Architecture in Films: Venice Canals

This gorgeous backdrop is one of our favourites and stars in a movie alongside another favourite of ours, Johnny Depp, in The Tourist  (2010). We liked the romantic thriller (also starring Angelina Jolie) even though many didn’t. But then again, we watched the movie for the beautiful scenery and not so much the plot, so that explains that.

International Finance Centre, Hong Kong Architecture in Flims: International Finance Centre Tower 2 copyDid you know that Batman jumped off the International Finance Centre in that memorable scene in the summer blockbluster The Dark Knight (2008)? The Centre is home to a major high-end shopping mall, an office tower (the tallest in Hong Kong) and the Four Seasons Hotel Hong Kong. If you have a really good eye, then you may recognize the building as the same one that Lara Croft (Angelina Jolie) jumped off of when it was still under construction for Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life.

The Ennis House, California

Architecture in Flims: Ennis HouseAccording to the Casting Architecture Blog, we cannot talk about architecture and film without mentioning Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner (1982). Frank Lloyd Wright’s Ennis House is the star of the film and with good reason too. The distinctive architecture is based on ancient Mayan temples and was built by the famous architect for Charles and Mabel Ennis in 1924. The house was made popular by Blade Runner and was thereafter featured in many more films.

Did we miss any films that feature cool architecture? Let us know below!