As most of you know (unless you live under a rock…), the new Star Wars movie came out this past weekend. I am not ashamed to admit that I am, and always have been, a huge Star Wars fan. I purchased my movie tickets almost 2 months ago – and got to see it the night before it’s actual release date. If you haven’t seen it yet… GO SEE IT! It was fantastic. Really, I was so happy with J.J. Abrams direction. But that is all I will say – I would never want to spoil the experience for anyone.
I wanted to tie together one of my favorite things (Star Wars) with Architecture. And to my surprise I found this fantastic article online by James Pallister of The Architect’s Journal called Top 10: the architecture of Star Wars. I will use some of his examples, as well as some of my own favorite architectural creations from the movies. It is really interesting to see how much architecture from around the world inspired George Lucas to create these unforgettable places.
1. Cloud City, Besbin – “The simple and elegant 16-kilometre wide Cloud City sits high above the planet Bespin. Proprietor Lando Calrissian oversees a well-appointed luxury resort district on its upper levels, complete with hotels and casinos. Echoes of the saucer-shaped structure can be seen on Earth in John Lautner’s Chemosphere House.” A space-themed movie would not be complete without an iconic saucer-shaped vessel.
2. Senate Building, Coruscant – “More than two kilometers wide, this seat of power looms over its subjects. Sited at the end of the Avenue of Core Founders, it holds the Grand Convocation Chamber, a vast auditorium that contains 1024 floating repulsorpods, one for each senator (extensive refurbishment followed a duel between Chancellor Palpatine and Jedi Grand Master Yoda). Noted similarities with Jean Nouvel’s Louvre Abu Dhabi.” Another round, spaceship-esc building that reminds us of the typical UFO.
3. Varykino, Naboo – Varykino was a lake retreat in the Lake Country on the planet Naboo. This beautiful mansion was introduced in Episode II: Attack of the Clones, where Padme’ Amidala and Anakin Skywalker were secretly married, which happens to be one of my favorite scenes (I am a hopeless romantic!). The film was actually filmed at Plaza de Espana in Seville, Spain.
4. Sandcrawler, Tatooine – Not quite a building, but the monumental quality of its form and its polygonal facades lend this Jawa Sandcrawler a building-like presence. These large treaded vehicles have inspired buildings from a Tunisian hotel to Rem Koolhaas’ Casa de Musica in Porto.” Tanks have nothin’ on a Sandcrawler!
5. Bright Tree Village, Endor – “Bright Tree Village is an exemplar of sustainable, low-tech development. This Ewok settlement on the forest moon of Endor follows the traditional pattern: thatched-roof huts are arranged on the main branches of a tree around the chief’s hut on the trunk. Rated BREEAM Excellent, the development – by architect Wicket W Warrick – makes use of locally sourced materials, is carbon-neutral and far exceeds Endor’s notoriously strict building regulations.” And who wouldn’t want to live in a treehouse village? Sign me up!
6. Echo Base, Hoth – “It took the Alliance Corps of Engineers, under Major Kem Monnon, two years to fashion Echo Base from the natural ice caverns below the frozen surface of Hoth. The result is a impressive both technically and aesthetically – a vast igloo as if fashioned by Piranesi.”