Los Angeles Times: Architecture and Filmmaking

In Ayn Rand’s 1940s bestseller “The Fountainhead,” architect Howard Roark blows up a housing complex he designed because the developer changed its style.

It was a dramatic act and a dramatic role for an architect. And when the book became a movie starring Gary Cooper, producers asked the dynamic real-life model for Roark–Frank Lloyd Wright–to design the movie sets.

While Wright never became the film’s designer (his fee was too high), “The Fountainhead” movie made glamour boys of modern designers and confirmed Hollywood’s long fascination with architecture.

In filmmaking today, “Blade Runner” designer Lawrence Paull said, architecture and architects continue to play major roles.

“In architecture and in movies, the crossover between fantasy and reality has a history as old as film itself,” said designer Syd Mead, a “Blade Runner” collaborator.

“From the beginning, the distinction was blurred,” said Mead, “especially in Southern California where many buildings have the fancifulness and flimsiness of sets.”


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