One question asked by the Star Wars creators – outside of developing somewhat believable characters and emotions – was how to engage and retain Star Wars viewers for decades.
Part of the answer lies in architectural familiarity, which occurs regardless of whether viewers understand architecture or not.
Almost everyone knows that Tatooine – Luke Skywalker’s home planet – was filmed in the Tunisian desert. So real is the location, that it has reportedly become unsafe for tourists to visit after authorities confirmed to CNN that the area is patrolled by thousands of troops after Isis-related unrest in the region.
Apart from using real locations where possible, Star Wars also frequently incorporated local or recognisable materials to create sets based on a galaxy far, far away. For example, eagle-eyed viewers noticed that the Millennium Falcon was created from aeroplane scrap metal.
In addition to raw materials, real locations and extraordinary creativity is a wide range of buildings in the movies that reflect environments and existing structures across the world. You’ll notice below that legendary architect Frank Lloyd Wright provided a significant amount of inspiration for Star Wars architecture.
Here, we unpack just some of the real life structures that influenced so many of the epic creations on screen.
The planet Naboo was partly inspired by Frank Lloyd Wright’s Marin County Civic Centre, the famed architect’s final and largest public project (below). The structure is significant both in size and shape, consisting of a 580-foot long Administration Building connected to an 880-foot long Hall of Justice by a spaceship-like rotunda, housing the Marin County Public Library. George Lucas had first used the location for his first feature length film – THX 1138 – in 1971, where he reportedly fell in love with the blue domes which later served as inspiration for Naboo.
Some scenes from the feature film Gattaca was also filmed here.
Marin County Civic Centre
Designed by concept artist Jay Shuster for Star Wars: Episode II Attack of the Clones, the artist drew inspiration – again, from Frank Lloyd Wright and his designs – to envision the sitting and conversation room where Amidala, Anakin Skywalker, and Obi-Wan Kenobi discussed her safety, when Zam Wesell was attempting to assassinate her. The apartment was created as a full physical set, seeing use in Episode II and later in Star Wars: Episode III Revenge of the Sith.
Republic Executive Building. Source:http://starwars.wikia.com/wiki
The Republic Executive Building was a substantial domed administration building that also functioned as a spaceport in Galactic City’s Senate District on Coruscant.
Bearing a striking resemblance to the Republic Executive Building – but with no confirmed link – is a UNESCO world heritage site; The Brazilian National Congress by iconic architect Oscar Niemeyer. The National Congress structure was a cultural project constructed in modernist Brazilian style. The iconic structure was the first site less than 100 years old to be awarded the UNESCO honour.
Brazilian National Congress building.
The National Congress towers is undercut by the two buildings framing them: the vast dome of the Senate and the giant saucer of the House of Deputies.
Brazil made international headlines not just for the speed of its construction, but for its remarkable buildings. No-one had ever seen anything like Niemeyer’s elegantly whimsical constructions, which embraced the ideals of modernism while displaying a very Brazilian sensuousness.
Could it be that the home of the galaxy’s fattest, sloppiest crime lord slug, (above, right) and the very location where Jabba’s sought after ‘trophy’ was brought back to, was inspired by Poland’s Śneżka Meteorological Observatory (left)?
Architect Witold Lipiński’s stunning hillside structure was built in 1974, while Lucas’ first Star Wars movie was released three years later…
Regardless, we doubt that Poland’s Observatory was made of large sandrock and durasteel like Jabba’s Palace.
This incredible, 1.5 billion sq. ft, 44-storey structure in Dubai by architect Rem Koolhaas is expected to hold 1.5 million people, and is reportedly planned for a waterfront location. From early graphics, it’s not hard to see why it’s been widely dubbed ‘Dubai’s own Death Star’.
Despite its power as a galactic superweapon to destroy entire planets, the Empire had to build the real Death Star twice. On top of that, they also appeared to have replicated its key flaws into the second build – a shaft with direct access to the power core and poor defense against smaller structures like everyone’s favourite 12-parsec Kessel runner, the Millennium Falcon.
But even with 1) the galaxy’s most powerful military, 2) no development or governmental approvals required and 3) a seemingly unlimited budget, we couldn’t help but think Lord Vader could’ve planned it better the second time around…
Inside the REAL Death Star. Source:http://starwars.wikia.com/wiki
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