Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Batman & Architecture. Hero & City.

"There is no other comic saga more influenced by architecture than Batman. Gotham, and the fictional architects that built the city, have been main characters since the first plots. Writer and architect Jimmy Stamp describes in this essay the fascinating architectural references and metaphors that have filled Batman stories for the last 60 years."

The Hero & The City

Hugh Ferris: Science Centre
With references to  Gotham City, Modernism, Post-Modernism, Woody Allen and his book (Woody Allen on Woody Allen) as well as Hugh Ferris, Delineator of Gotham, the man whose 1929 illustrations from The Metropolis of Tomorrow defined the early aesthetic of the series, this essay presents an overview of the hero's evolution, intertwined with the city's own cycles of falling down and rising up again, ending with the eternally debatable questions:

So what came first, the city or the crime? the hero or the villain? the architect or the city?

Hugh Ferris: Verticals on Wide Avenues
Complete essay below, hosted on ArchDaily

"New York, Dubai, Tokyo, Moscow, Gotham. Every city in every atlas—real and fictional— has a unique character shaped by history and geography. More than a mere sense of place derived from architecture and planning, cities have a feeling that pervades the consciousness of those who live there until themselves become a a piece of the urban fabric, a fractional embodiment of the city itself. Perhaps more than any other person—real or fictional—Batman is integrally linked to his city, the city he has sworn to protect. In every sense of the word, he is a true avatar of Gotham. And Gotham City itself is an avatar, not only of the dreams of its fictional architects, but of our collective urban paranoia."

Having seen the The Dark Knight Rises myself, I should hope to return with a review in due course.


  1. Thanks. Going to watch TDKR tonight and read the essay tomorrow.

  2. Cool. Enjoy! Hopefully kolcs will write his thoughts on this as well.

  3. putine filme s-au folosit de arhitectura ca paralela tematica ca si cele din seriile batman: cladirile cu tenta gothica din perioada burton, arhitectura realista a unei metropole contemporane din seria nolan si desigur cladirile urate/kitsch/idioate din filmele lui schumacher.

  4. Eu cred ca sunt destul de multe filme bune care se folosesc de arhitectura pentru a sugera ceva. Ma gandesc deja la Metropolis, Il conformista sau Dark city. Apoi o parte din filmele noir ale anilor 40 sau filmele lui Hitchcock.

    1. De acord, dar cred ca diferenta aici este ca arhitectura este adanc legata de personajul in sine, o oglinda, daca vrei sa folosesc un cliseu.