Monday, October 20, 2014

Architecture in the Movies (E. Fay Jones?)

I love it when great architecture shows up in the movies. A few examples are Wright's Ennis house  in Bladerunner, Lautner's Elrod house in The Big Lebowski, and, more recently, the futuristic architecture of Shanghai in Her.
Usually we experience architecture in the form of still photos, unless we're lucky enough to visit a site in person. Photos are ghosts of the real experience. They are static, lifeless, and often tell lies. Movies come closer to simulating the actual experience of architecture.  As the camera pans we get a three dimensional sense of space. It is still not equivalent to the real thing. It lacks smell, texture, and the volition to explore. Movies are more of a "through the peephole" type of experience: limited in scope and participation. Nevertheless, it's fun to see great spaces spring to life in cinematic scope.
I was recently surprised by a rich sample of architecture in Gone Girl, the new Ben Affleck movie. A secondary, but important character, Desi (played by Neil Patrick Harris) owns a lake house that is central to the plot. The lake house, featured in several extended scenes, is Frank Lloyd Wright on steroids. It is, I think, one of E. Fay Jones' inimitable works. However, I've been wrong about Jones attributions in the past and I can't find pictures of the "lake house" in my library or on the web. If any reader knows E. Fay Jones' work well enough to ID the Gone Girl lake house, please leave a comment.
In the meantime, I will say that by the time the house popped up in the movie I was sufficiently disengaged from the plot to thoroughly enjoy the architectural relief. However, movie critics gave Gone Girl good reviews. So don't be turned away from the movie because I got distracted. And in lieu of pictures of this specific house, here are a few examples of E. Fay Jones' work culled from the internet.

P.S. In the process of doing my internet search for the E. Fay Jones house in question, I ran across a link to my blog and it's misidentification of a church in Nebraska that looks like Jones' work, but is not. Take that as a warning to the wise that you can't trust everything you see on the web... even if it comes from this blog! Read my original Jones comments and reader comments at
A Religious Experience on Interstate 80.