27 April 2009

Frank Ghery in 'The Simpsons'

Last night's episode of The Simpson's had Bart entering a model building contest with his model of the Westminster Abbey. He was pitted against Milhouse and Martin, who built OMA's CCTV Tower in Beijing, and Oscar Neimeyer's Brazilian Congress. I've been to one of these buildings, and I'll give you a hint *it hasn't caught on fire yet. I was really hoping that Milhouse's CCTV Model was going to catch fire as Super Intendant Chalmers walked by it, as in a reference to the MP Sketch as seen below.

In any case, this sighting of famous contemporary building reminded me that this isn't the first time that The Simpsons have lampooned modern architecture. In April of 2005 Frank Gehry stared as himself. This show made fun of the 'Bilbao Effect' with Marge trying to get Springfield on the map by constructing a new concert hall designed by the Canadian himself. I could right alot about this, but instead, I'm going to direct you to the posts that have already been written by A Daily Dose of Architecture, Veritas et Venustas, Architecture Enlightens Life, Mirage Studio 7, and DavidTeoh.com.

26 April 2009

John Cleese in 'Monty Python'

John Cleese as Mr. Wiggin
of Ironside & Malone
Eric Idle as Mr. Leavy
of Wymus & Dibble

In this sketch, two architects makes very different pitches to real estate developers. One is absurd, and the other is just silly. Is it safe to say that sometimes we take ourselves to seriously? Now, I'm not advocating that we start designing buildings that look like giant picnic baskets or binoculars, but whats it hurt to step back and have a good laugh...

Art Vandelay in 'Seinfeld'

Jason Alexander as George Costanza as Art Vandelay

Importer, Exporter, Architect
Art Vandelay might be as much as a cultural phenomonom as the Bilbao Guggenheim. His presence has spawned numerous t-shirts as seen above, and with the words 'I'm an architect' and 'the new addition to the Guggenheim' printed on them. At Moe's Southwest Grill, a national burrito chain, a special burrito is named 'the Art Vandalay'. There is even a firm in the Netherlands thats named Import/Export Architecture.

Zach Braff in 'The Last Kiss'

Zach Braff as Michael
Casey Affleck as Chris
Barry Julien as Brian
Ian Finlay as Firm Principle

Michael is an architect who dumps his pregnant girlfriend to hit on jail bait. Unlike the crazy antics we remember from Scrubs, this Braff mobile is not that fun. However, it is nice to see an architect who's life is about as realistic as they come (although hes slightly immature), someone who's not a vigilante or chasing women through time (*cough 'Keanu').

Lazy Set Designers couldn't even plot two different boards for the background

While grossly overscaled, the building we see Zach design is certainly in the upper teir of 'architect movie designs.'

Oh, wait, they ran off three of the same boards for the background shots

A bit out of scale with the context....

Unlike so many other movies, where the architects meeting is just a placeholder to fill a few seconds and show that the main character is smart, the following scene is used to show the audience just how immature Michael can be, even in his professional life, while advancing the plot by throwing a curve ball into the subplot relationship of Chris and his wife...

Michael: So I was just thinking that if we move the garage from where it currently sits there's no reason why this atrium couldn't be pulled up the entire height of the building. So that way it's the middle of winter and all these people get to look out their windows and see trees. And maybe even birds.
Brian: Or without the birds.
Michael: Shup up brian
Brian: Like wha...
Principle: Shup up brian
Brian: Sorry
Michael: Dick
Principle: Thats really interesting Michael. I'm just a little concerned about cost. What do you think Chris?
Chris: I think I'm going to leave my wife.

15 April 2009

David Duchovny in 'Return to Me'

David Duchovny as Bob Rueland
Brian Howe as Mike

Ok, so David Duchovny is the Principle of a Design/Build firm in Chicago who's married to a gorilla veterinarian who works at the Lincoln Park Zoo. And she dies. But she was an organ donor. A year later David falls in love with a waitress who received his wife's heart, but he doesn't know that shes has his wifes heart. And, this whole time hes been building a new gorilla range for his dead wife, he's falling in love with the new girl who received her heart.

Yes this is a real movie, not a mad lib. Hilarity ensues and they kiss in the end.

14 April 2009

Bill Campbell in 'Enough'

Bill Campbell as Mitch Hiller

In 2002 Hennifer Yopez stared in this theater release that should have been a Lifetime Original. Mitch Hiller is an architect who seems like the perfect husband until he starts beating his wife.

As the movie progresses from nonviolent fairytale to super psycho stalker film to exploitation revenge movie, Mitch moves from a Colonial style two story suburban home into a super sleek beach house that is poured concrete and steal beam. Hilarity does not ensue, and she kills him in the end.

Luke Wilson in 'My Super Ex-Girlfriend'

Luke Wilson as Matt Saunders
Anna Faris as Hannah Lewis
Rainn Wilson as Vaughn Haige
Wanda Sykes as Carla Dunkirk

This is a horrible movie.


Architect Glasses!

Hard Hats!


"Our design integrates classic architectural ideas from the history of Chinese culture and transforms them into a contemporary 21st century aesthetic, but you can see clearly that funtionality has not been sacrificed, as you can see here by the the multiple entrances into the central courtyard area. And with the total capacity for...(stops talking as he sees his girlfriend fly by the window outside)"

Matt Dillon in 'You, Me and Dupree'

Matt Dillon as Carl Peterson
Michael Douglas as Mr. Thompson
Todd Stashwick as Tony

Matt Dillon, having already tried to a role where he is a character pretending to be an architect, now gets to try his chops pretending to be a character who is actually an architect. Here, he's married to his boss's daughter and has to deal with his best friend moving onto his couch.

Obligatory Drawing Shot

The first day back from his honeymoon, father in law Mr. Thompson takes Carl's proposal for a small 'eco-friendly' housing development and turns it into the largest, fast track development the firm has ever done. He also cuts out a few of the essentials...

Thompson: The Oaks at Mesa Vista, stunning, stunning...
Carl: You know sir, if we're not going to have any trees, maybe we should consider changing the name.
Thompson: No! no, no. I love the name. Names are important Carl.

When confronted with the model shown above, Carl doesn't like it.
Carl: What is this? Are you kidding me? Are you kidding me? Is this some kind of a joke?
Tony: Carl, Thompson wanted more units. I thought it would work better as a wrap around.
Carl: Wrap around? Mesa Vista is not a wrap around.

Thompson: You see the preliminaries?
Carl: Yeah, I did. It is completely different from my original proposal.
Thompson: Goddammit Carl, would you stop fighting this? People buy homes, let the government pay for the parks, thats why we have taxes. The Oaks at Mesa Vista is a money train. You want to be on it?

Obligatory Standing in Front of Model Shot

Probably the best part of the whole movie is that Carl knows that the 'Bad Movie Design' is actually bad in real life. Although he states his opposition to the design, the movie never shows his original 'good design' thereby freeing our minds to believe that Carl might actually be good at what he does. Its a cheap trick, but it works...

Gary Cole in 'The Brady Bunch'

Gary Cole as Mike Brady
Steven Gilborn as Mr. Phillips

Gary Cole as Mike Brady, AIA finds out he has only a week to come up with $20,000 in back taxes to save his house. Unfortunately for him, he jumped right out of 1970 and into the early 1990's, where the effects of a recession are in full swing. Money is hard to come about, especially for an architect with limited design skills....

Mr. Phillips: A $20,000 advance! Ha, I'd like to Mike, but we're still hurting from the recession. I only have three developers comming all this week.
Brady: Let me have a shot at those projects, Mr. Phillips. If I can sell one of them my design, you can front me the advance, right?
Mr. Phillips: Sure, but... How should I put this delicately Mike? You designs are from another time.
Brady: Thats kind of you to say Mr. Phillips. I've always thought of my style as classic as well. I'll get right to work.

"What do you think?"
"I Love it, but its too interesting. I want something simple, a couple of self serve pumps and a slurpy machine. Sorry."

"And after much consideration Mr Swanson, I designed a structure especially for your needs. "

"The hardest thing about the health club business is getting people to leave their house."

Matthew Perry in Three to Tango

Matthew Perry as Oscar Novak
Oliver Platt as Peter Steinberg
John C. McGinley as Strauss
Bob Balaban as Decker

Matthew Perry as Oscar Novak is in Love with Neve Cambell, but everyone thinks hes gay! In fact out of the four architects in this flick, Novak is the only one who is straight. Not that there's anything wrong with that. Anyway, hilarity insues and they kiss in the end.

Not bad design, for a movie architect. Not that theres anything wrong with being that.

Novak and Steinberg make up the firm of Novak+Steinberg, a small firm that is vying for the 900 million dollar civic project that the firm of Strauss+Decker are also going for. The first scene in the movie is a set up of the bad blood that exists between the two groups.

Decker+Strauss Novak+Steinberg

Strauss: Oh look at this! Gilligan and the Skipper too.
Decker: What have you two studmuffins been up to lately? By the way, congratulations on the work you did on that men's room in the bus station.
Strauss: Yes, your use of mosaic in the urinal trough was vaguely reminiscent of the 90 foot mural we did in the lobby of the Hancock building.
Decker: Except people don't line up to piss on ours.
Steinberg: That is not true! We read the reviews.

D+S present the project to the developer by having him wear a virtual reality goggle set that was all the rage back in 1999.

The reviews were true

Struass: Sir, the Charles Newman Cultural center would redefine cultural life as we know it in this city. There would be a museum, an opera house, an international food court.
Decker: Picasso, Madame Butterfly, Burritos!

Well, the developer sets the two firms in a competition with each other for publicity. He tells them to build what seem to be quarter scale models for presentation to the public, where the winner will be decided and announced. So Steinberg and Novak set out to design and build their model, and they apparently set up a whole new office on the site of the design.

I really don't get why people think hes gay

At the office, a girls walks up to Steinberg, and after a brief condescending glance from the goatee'd architect, she runs away crying.
Novak:How much are we paying them?
Steinberg:They're interns. They're free.
Novak:Yeah, well, we're getting ripped off.
Steinberg: *nods yes

Modern Barbie Play House at Quarter Scale