Project Extended Table of Contents

The project questions the conflictive relationship between Film and Architecture and how they influence each other.  Arguing that different states within this relationship frame the way we see operate and construct the City in different levels. Real cities are now often imagined, built, and articulated based on reel experiences.

Project main Text: Allegory of the Cave, Plato

Project main Film references: Matrix –The Truman Show- Synecdoche New York

Precedent: Pennsylvania Station

Quote: The Fall and Rise of Pennsylvania Station represents the entire Island of Manhattan in a sense of reality waiting to be deconstructed and eventually transformed.

Real Fake Construction

Tectonic Illusion- Structural Inauthenticity: Steel skeleton with curtainwall construction

Design: Three building types; Architectural drama connecting Past and Present.

Columnar Entry Gate

The Ancient Bath of Caracalla

The Glass-and-Iron Train Shed


Reduced to a Subterranean Existence – Virtual space beneath the Garden

MSG: The city’s identity glorifies the unreal over the real with the reinvention of the environment as themed entertainment.

Cinematic City; Films featuring Penn Station, NY:

Like urban archaeologists, cinema came closest to the ‘reality’ of urban. Film became a historic record of the city with its famous landmarks, buildings and public spaces. We can explicitly link the cinematic spectator with a traveller among ruins. Early explorers of film were received, like photography, as true-to-life documents and therefore as scientific proof. ‘Reality’ became a synonym for “Actuality”.

THE CLOCK – 1945 by Vincent Minnelli (Hollywood Soundstage)

STRANGERS ON A TRAIN – 1951 by Alfred Hitchcock (Real location)


The Ruins of the Universe are Stored in Warehouse

Restoration: From Legend to Phoenix

Farley Post Office Conversion



Introduction to the Project

No medium has ever captured the city and the experience of urban modernity better than film. Movies influence the way we construct images of the world, and in many instances they influence how we operate within it.

When the medium of film was discovered two main tendencies were operative by two main pioneers on the medium.

Lumière Brothers: Strict realist tendency, unstaged reality. Observer of events, camera records real events, real streets

Films: Arrival of a train

George Melies : Staged Illusionist specialized in Fantastic Scenery. First man to explore magic tricks and cinematic devices which reaming theatre scenery. Papier mache universe

Film: An impossible voyage

Both tendencies affected the way the Cinematic City was presented on the screen. Both created different relationships between architecture and film, influencing as in different ways of experiencing and perceiving the city

New York is the inspiration of endless designs we can see how both tendencies have affected the city and the way we operate with it.


1st Tendency

Shooting in Studio / the City is Simulated inside a Soundstage/ City Backlot

Historical Context: 1920-30. After the Great Depression, 1930 the movie-made city, Hollywood, offered a place in which to ascend upward, and onward. In fact movie-made skyscrapers were the only ones made at that time, sustaining the public’s hope for the Future of the city, and themselves.

To be able to represent reality, the city is simulated in a controlled environment.

Staged Reality / Cardboard Reality / Simulacra

Separation between the ‘real’ and the ‘reel’ New York

In Staged Reality: Architecture is subordinated to the production of appearance, where architecture can be played at infinitum; the aim is to create alternative realities to the city that exists. The essence of architectural space appears free of the functional requirements. Architecture bears no load, no foundations, its staircases go nowhere and its corridors end in painted perspectives.

The City is amplified, with geographical license and made outside the real city. Hollywood created the first great portraits of the city in the late 1920s, where movie studios where miles away from the real New York. The city is imagined


Metropolis, 1927- Just Imagine, 1930Child of Manhattan, 1933 – 42nd Street, 1933


2nd Tendency

Realistic Tendencies / Shooting in Real Location

The City becomes the Soundstage

Historic Context: 1940-50. Following Post-War II, and the development of Italian neo-realistic films.

The Real City is conceived as a Soundstage/ Un-staged reality

Existing Architecture use as Backdrop

Film as historic record, realistic document, the city with its famous landmarks, buildings and public spaces, there was no stage, simply the street.

Production, Performance and Urban Stage: New York came to serve as a ‘celluloid stage’.

Shooting in Real location, Manhattan becomes a theatre of progress. The performance can never end, the cyclic restatement of a single theme: creation and destruction irrevocably interlocked. The raw urban experience of the metropolis is captured.

The production and consumption of space: the city as a meta-space.


The Naked City, 1948 – Manhattan, 1979 – Taxi Driver, 1976


Episode 1

The Allegory of the cave _Plato 

The Image of the City cannot be completed without the projection of our previous fictive experiences of the Cinematic City.

We will never be able to see the city beyond the envelope of our previous fictive experience. Movies influence the way we construct images of the world.

Images of the Uncompleted City are completed and animated with the projection of the Cinematic City.

Episode 2

Ultimate Architecture reaction to the Film medium

The ‘Wall-screen’ and the City Disappearance

The ancient streets disappear and the city is erased, the screen has replaced the square, architecture dematerializes, dimensions are lost. The Door, the Window and the ultimate opening, the Screen, have translated the ‘three dimensions of the constructed space into the two dimensions of a screen interface’.

Cinema substitutes material space for a new immateriality, ‘from now on, in the time of cinematographic, architecture is only a movie’ the city is no longer a theatre but the cinema of city lights.





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