Dezeen Magazine

Ex Machina
A still from Ex Machina

Ten films for architecture fans recommended by Dezeen readers

In response to our story highlighting films with interesting architecture to stream during coronavirus self-isolation, Dezeen commenters have recommended 10 more architectural films.


Ex Machina, 2014

Troy Smith Studio flagged that we missed science-fiction movie Ex Machina from our list: "Ex Machina, if I remember correctly, took place in a cool looking house".

Directed by British writer Alex Garland, the thriller is set in tech billionaire Nathan Bateman's, played by Oscar Isaac, minimalist hideaway in Alaska. In an interview with Dezeen, production designer Mark Digby explained how the set was used to create a clinical mood and provide a "seducing" backdrop.

Ex Machina is available to watch on Netflix, Amazon, Youtube and Google Play.



A Single Man, 2009

"My personal suggestion is 'A Single Man' by Tom Ford," said Dezeen commenter Pierluigi M M. "Beautiful movie and shot in John Lautner's amazing Schaffer residence in California."

Directed by fashion designer Tom Ford, A Single Man follows an English professor George Falconer – played by Colin Firth – as he navigates life following the loss of his partner, Jim. Ford chose the modernist J W Schaffer house that architect John Lautner completed in 1949 as Falconer's home.

The residence exhibits a number of details that were influenced by Frank Loyd Wright, including a connection to nature that followed his organic architecture principles.

A Single Man is available to watch on Netflix.



The Conformist, 1970

The set of Bernardo Bertolucci's political drama The Conformist has ties to fascist regimes. A key element is the Palazzo dei Congressi, which is located in Rome's 1930s residential and business district EUR, which was built under fascist leader Benito Mussolini.

"It's hard to imagine not having The Conformist on the list," said Jonathan Wald. "It's actually about architecture, and the way architecture influences character and life. And one of the most beautiful films ever made."

The Conformist is available to watch on Youtube and Amazon.



Don Giovanni, 1979

"Joseph Losey's Don Giovanni is stunning with its cinematography and Italian Renaissance settings," commented Clichy. "Musically amazing of course but the use of architecture is stunning. One of the most beautiful films I have ever seen."

Adapted from a Mozart opera, the film of the same name features buildings by Italian Renaissance architect Andrea Palladio, including Basilica Palladiana, Villa Rotonda and Teatro Olimpico.

Don Giovanni is available for purchase on Amazon.



My Life as a House, 2001

"Check out 'My Life as a House' starring Kevin Klein as a model maker in an architect's office!" said Nick Poulsen.

My Life as a House follows an architectural model-maker George Monroe, played by Kevin Kline, who loses his job and is diagnosed with terminal cancer. The film follows Monroe as he rebuilds his house with his son.

My Life as a House is available to watch on Youtube.



Renaissance, 2006

Paris in the year 2054 is imagined in animations in this tech-noir science-fiction film. The movie is predominantly in black and white save for a few pops of colour.

It was recommended by Dezeen reader OvN, who also suggested Equilibrium and Aeon Flux.

Renaissance is available to watch on Amazon, Youtube and Google Play.



Columbus, 2017

Nate Crail suggested that Columbus would be suited to architecture fans.

Not only does the story follow an architectural scholar, it is set in unlikely modernist mecca Columbas, Indiana.

Columbus is available to watch on Amazon, Youtube and Google Play.



Skyscraper, 2018

Action-adventure film Skyscraper centres around a fictional, 240-storey skyscraper in Hong Kong, called The Pearl.

To make the building believable director Rawson Marshall Thurber enlisted Chicago architect Adrian Smith, whose firm Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture is behind some of the world's tallest structures.

"I think Skyscraper 2018 deserves a mention," said Isaac Anuoluwapo Omosebi.

Skyscraper is available to watch on Hulu, Amazon, Youtube and Google Play.



The Fountainhead, 1949

Modernist architect Howard Roark, played by Gary Cooper, battles to stick to his ideal rather than conform to traditional aesthetics in black and white drama The Fountainhead.

"Great film about a modernist architect struggling against the establishment," said Dezeen commenter AlfredHitchcock.

The Fountainhead is available to watch on Amazon, Youtube and Google Play.



I Am Love, 2010

Last up is Luca Guadagnino's romantic drama I am Love, which is set inside Necchi Villa. The film, picked out by commenter Sally, offers insight into the Gran Villa in Milan, which was completed by architect Piero Portaluppi in 1935.

I Am Love is available to watch on Amazon, Youtube and Google Play.