Dezeen Magazine

Megalomania by Jonathan Gales

This movie by Jonathan Gales of architectural animation studio Factory Fifteen imagines the whole of London as a construction site, caught in a state of change that could mean dramatic decay or intensive development.  Buildings on every street appear behind layers of dust and scaffolding, while familiar structures such as the London Eye provide support for clusters of makeshift homes.

Gales formed Factory Fifteen with fellow Bartlett School of Architecture classmates Paul Nicholls and Kibwe Tavares when they graduated last year.

You can see more of their movies here, including Tavares' film about robots rioting on the streets of south London that won last year's RIBA President’s Medals Student Awards.

Here’s some information from Factory Fifteen:


The city is a centre of population and culture. It is also a concentration of built infrastructure, capital and architecture. The project focuses on the perception of the city in total construction; inspired by the incomplete states of world icons such as The Shard and Burj Khalifa. Megalomania is a short animation that explores the aesthetic of change as an ambiguous language that can be read as both growth and decay. The built environment of the city is explored as a labyrinth of architecture that is either unfinished, incomplete or broken. Megalomania is a response to the state of many developing cities, exaggerating the appearance of progress into the sublime.

The project took inspiration from Giovanni Battista Piranesi's Carceri plates, which show a fictional architecture of prison environments. The geometry that make up the spaces within the Carceri series is ambiguous of its scale and enclosure and could be argued as impossible to be built. These themes were applied to envision an exaggerated contemporary urban construction site on the scale of a city. The project began by making a series of graphics that propose new architectures in, around and stacked on top of others. These graphics were then treated as scenes of the animation as well as becoming drawings that would stand alone.

The film is made up of a number of point of view and virtual camera movements, mixing between the experiential perspective of an individual alongside impossible camera positions elevated above the city. Megalomania was created predominantly using 3D CGI with some 2.5D animated sequences.