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4 Films to Explore Postmodernism in Architecture and Urbanism


芬兰建筑师兼教授Juhani Pallasmaa曾经说过:“建筑师及其他专业人士如果对建筑与城市规划真正感兴趣,那么他们一定会去研究电影,因为这能给自己的专业带来更加微妙与灵敏的视角。”由于电影的技术与美学特殊性,让概念以简约的方式得以表达,使之成为传达建筑与城市空间的概念与思想的强大工具。




"Films have been studied by architects and other professionals who are interested in the field of architecture and urbanism because they offer a more subtle and responsive perspective of our discipline," Finnish Architect and Professor Juhani Pallasmaa tells us. Through its technical and aesthetical particularities, the cinema can go beyond simple representation to be a powerful instrument for conveying ideas and concepts related to architecture and urban space.
The freedom and space-time fluidity provided by film production bring the spaces represented in movies closer to the immateriality of imagination - even when filmed in real locations. Thus, architectures and cities are transformed into a fragmented network of spaces in the mind of the viewer - connecting memories with other images, experienced or witnessed.
This kind of fluidity and absence of precise definitions, which are typical of cinematographic images, can be compared to the post-modern ideas that spread in architecture and urbanism from the second half of the 20th century onwards, in which the profusion of different points of view made up a larger image of the theoretical and practical panorama in the field of architecture. In that sense, movies can be a good contribution to understanding the fragmentation of thought that has characterized postmodernism in architecture.
Below are four films that address several aspects of postmodernism in urbanism and architecture:

控制的庆典——《楚门的世界》/ Peter Weir, 1998



Celebration of Control - The Truman Show (Peter Weir, 1998)
Truman is the main character in the biggest reality show ever produced - but he doesn't know it. Since he was born, thousands of cameras have followed his life and everyone around him is part of a huge television production. The scenery is no less fictional: an absolutely organized city, with single-family homes isolated in their lots, perfectly mown gardens and good citizens. Designed along the lines of the new American urbanism, the show's scenery is a precise reflection of the superficiality of the characters and of the actual TV program, in which Truman, without knowing, plays the leading role.

反乌托邦的技术——《银翼杀手》/ Ridley Scott, 1982



Technological Dystopias - Blade Runner (Ridley Scott, 1982)
Dystopian visions of the future of cities also make up the spectrum of intersections between architecture and cinema. An example of this is the film Blade Runner, that features a fictional city (San Angeles), which is the result of a new cybernetic society that combines different architectural styles, as a result of years of hybrid usage of spaces and structures, often not compatible, ultimately resulting in residual spaces. Its environments are dystopian manifestations of postmodernism granted by the capitalist supremacy of the post-industrial era.

郊区化生活——《低俗小说》/ Quentin Tarantino, 1994


Quentin Tarantino将普通城市的郊区作为故事发生的背景,这里有失业者、杀人犯、女服务员、路边酒店,各个元素在这里混合为“肮脏现实主义”的故事情节,而这些情节也可以发生于任何一座城市。美国城市的各种现象也出现在电影之中,低密度城市成为一种隐喻,人们的心中常常缺乏归属感与场所精神。

Suburbanization of Life - Pulp Fiction (Quentin Tarantino, 1994)
Quentin Tarantino portrays the suburbs of a generic city as the backdrop to a series of ordinary stories: unemployed people, murderers, waitresses, and roadside hotels make up a plot that fits into what might be called dirty realism, which can unfold in any part of the world. The sprawling phenomenon of American cities can be seen in several locations in the film, and the low urban density can serve as a metaphor for a kind of scarcity of the sense of place that is found alongside the characters' psyche.

场所的抑制——《柏林苍穹下》/ Wim Wenders, 1987



Suppression of Places - Wings of Desire (Wim Wenders, 1987)
Wings of Desire takes place in Berlin, just before the fall of the wall. Fragmented, the city is presented as an overlapping of rags that are uncoordinated and devoid of memory - a condition reflected by its inhabitants. Architecture and the city, or the emptiness left by them, reach the characters' psyche, triggering intimate and particular memories of places that now only exist as the presence of an absence, or as the intimate projection of their own minds and emotions.




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