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Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Book of the Moment

Amazon's recommendation are usually slightly off the mark, ramming Roland Barthes down my throat after I bought one of his collection of essays for a class, for example, or misinterpreting gifts for families and friends as items I bought for myself. So I was pleasantly surprised to see this spot-on recommendation land in my inbox: Juhani Pallasmaa's The Architecture of the Image: Existential Space in Cinema, published by Rakennustieto Publishing.


The publisher's description:
This book explores the shared experiential ground of cinema, art and architecture. Pallasmaa carefully examines how the classic directors Alfred Hitchcock, Stanley Kubrick, Michelangelo Antonioni and Andrei Tarkovsky use architectural imagery in creating emotional states in their films. The author also explores the startling similarities between the landscapes of painting and the landscapes of film. Pallasmaa
suggests that the architectural imagery of poets, painters and film directors could re-sensitise architects to the inherent poetics of architecture.


  1. hey john

    tell me something, please: does the author study those four directors among others or is it an essay on them only?


  2. That's one of the best books on the subject architecture and film I've read so far. Pallasmaa doesn't just plainly boringly analyse the set design (like so many others have done already) but rather the architecture of the image itself and how directors use it to convey emotions and provoke feelings.

    The author dedicates one essay to one chosen film of each of the aforementioned directors...e.g. "Rope" for Hitchcock or "The Shining" for Kubrick.

    There are two books that take the subject even a little further by comparing real architectural space with narrated filmic space.

    "The atlas of emotion" by Giuliana Bruno


    "Architekturen in Zelluloid" by Doris Agotai --> which has only been published in German yet but will hopefully also get translated into English since she tries to prove that film has changed/changes our perception of space and thus the way we experience architecture by transferring film theoretical approaches to architecture.

  3. thanks! I'll check them out. It doesn't surprise me at all that the finns are intrigued by this theme of the architecture in film/of the film. and the german book looks interesting, too. I'm certain that the cinema has changed the way we see things, I'd like to know how she tries to develop her thesis...

  4. Thanks John. It intrigues me that the publisher feels the need is apparent for architects to be resensitised to the "inherent poetics" of architecture. Here, here. Under nomdeplume 'simon seasons' I wrote a short essay on butterpaper which i sent to you segued abouts the effect that ego worship has on designers of built structures. It is exactly the loss of understanding the inherent poetry of structure that I lament, that is the effect of basing a design on egotistical parameters.
    Love your blog and regards Simon.

  5. If there is not at least 3 chapters on Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, I would throw the book right in the dust bin for missing the point. The OP-ART Room/elevator should be reonconstructed at MOMA.


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