Houses seen in films, for example, are often much more than simple sets or locations that host the shooting of a movie or television series. They become characters themselves, making architecture an essential part of the story. Some of these are truly unforgettable, both in films of the past as well as recent feature films, from auteur films to pop-culture ones. Even the houses of TV series and some related to cinema through those who work in it, rightly enter the selected list that we propose below, characterized by dwellings that have a particular relationship with the external environment, like gardens, pools and the landscape in which they are immersed. Enjoy this brief excursus which spans over well 70 years of production!
1.The Caterpillar House of “Malcolm & Marie”
We begin our list – it is not a ranking! – with a recent feature film, the 2021 acclaimed “Malcolm & Marie” by Sam Levinson starring Zendaya and John David Washington. The two actors, who are the only characters in the film, play a couple who, having returned home from a film premiere, begin a long discussion that lasts all night. The argument between the two individuals literally runs through the entire house, which becomes the third protagonist, thanks to the sequence shots made possible by the large glass windows, floor-to-ceiling glazing and sliding walls, the landscape exterior shots (even if it is night time) and by the single-level, ranch-style floor plan which features a strong and harmonious connection between indoor and outdoor spaces. It is the “Caterpillar House” situated within the nature reserve of the Santa Lucia Preserve in California. The house was designed by Feldman Architecture studio, and it incorporates high-standard sustainable solutions and innovations.
2.The Cupola of Antonioni and Monica Vitti
In Sardinia, on the Pink beach of the island of Budelli, between the end of the sixties and the beginning of the seventies, was built what for a short time was the paradise of director Michelangelo Antonioni and his muse Monica Vitti. The creation of the love nest overlooking the sea was entrusted to the ingenious vision of experimental architect Dante Bini who had developed a special construction technique, which involved a single casting of concrete, inflated and raised thanks to a low-pressure air chamber. This dome, impenetrable at first sight, was actually designed to be totally immersed and in harmony with the surrounding nature. Unfortunately, the property is currently abandoned and in a complete state of decay, despite having been defined by Rem Koolhaas as “one of the best architectures of the last hundred years”. Currently, The Cupola is a candidate to become one of FAI (The National Trust for Italy) Luoghi del Cuore del FAI, (Italian Places I Love). FAI’s aim is to protect, care and enhance Italy’s historical, artistic and landscape heritage and, hopefully, this will guarantee the recovery and restoration of The Cupola.
3.Malin Residence - "CHEMOSPHERE", a movie star
On the house of groundbreaking architect John Lautner in relation to films, we could open a separate article, but for this specific list we have chosen the MALIN RESIDENCE, known as “CHEMOSPHERE” and located in the Hollywood hills. Designed in 1960, the Chemosphere is a modernist building in Los Angeles, California, perched atop a single twenty-nine-foot-high concrete column, which is reached by a funicular that departs from the parking lot below. Its relationship with films began immediately. In fact, it was used as a futuristic location in 1964 in an episode of the science fiction series “The Outer Limits”, titled “The Duplicate Man”. It later appeared in the 1984 film “Body Double” directed by Brian De Palma and it directly inspired a house in the 2000 “Charlie’s Angels” movie. In 1966, Chemosphere made its appearance in the iconic world of the adult animated sitcom “The Simpsons”, where it was the fictional hilltop mansion of the character Troy McClure. Finally, it appeared in the credits of the 2015 Disney fantasy film “Tomorrowland”, starring George Clooney.
4. The Hoke House,Twilight’s Cullen house in the woods
One of the most successful book sagas of the 2000s, Twilight has captivated a generation of teenagers. Maybe some of them fell in love with architecture, furniture and design too. The Cullen’s family abode in the woods, in fact, stands out. This modern house (2006) is located in Portland, Oregon and was designed by SkyLab Architecture for Mr. and Mrs. Hoke. Situated right on the edge of Portland’s Forest Park, it is characterized by privacy and the harmonious dialogue between the external environment and the spectacular indoor setting. The Hoke Residence features an extensive system of decks and patios connected to the interior spaces through floor-to-ceiling openings.A true tree house.
5.Villa Albergoni in Call Me by Your Name
Let us come back to Italy and more precisely to Moscazzano, in the province of Cremona (Lombardy), to discover Villa Albergoni. It is the home of Elio’s parents, the teenager protagonist of the multiple award-winning movie “Call Me by Your Name” by director Luca Guadagnino (2018). The villa, originally from the 16th century, was specifically furnished to set the film, which takes place in the early 1980s and is a jewel for true aesthetes: large bookcases, barrel vaults, frescoes, wallpaper and stone fireplaces. Everything reflect the love for literature, music and arts with a simple and timeless taste, Furthermore, the dwelling is surrounded by greenery, boasting a veranda with pergola and a park of century-old trees.
It is really true that when architecture and design are conceived in harmony with nature, the result is much more than a beautiful building. Discover other designer houses in this article.