Editing and Montage as a Design Tool in Architecture

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In this world we experience remember with that imagine the past present and the future. similarly place and occasion , intellect and space are not outside of each other they both fuse into each other to form a singular experience, only film helps us experience all of this more clearly than anything else , as it can in no time takes us back in the past, similarly in to the future and it also shares the experiences of present day contemporary world. film also allows a passageway into another world as well transporting its audiences into spaces and environment that makes us feel more real than anything we experience in our everyday life. the audiences allows themselves to be absorbed by the narrative it offers and they temporarily becomes the part of that narrative. both architecture and cinema offer a delicate connection of physiological and experiential factors. both art forms defines human interaction through different aspects of life and gives different perspective for better understanding of our world. just like the architecture is more than just plain white walls and columns, similarly film has a lot to offer than presenting edited images on a blank white screen.

"Architecture exists, like cinema, in the dimension of time and movement. One conceives and reads a building in terms of sequences. To erect a building is to predict and seek effects of contrast and linkage Through which one passes..." Jhon novel

Film and architecture are two distinct professions, but as we explore the both fields both art forms have given a lot to each other and their cooperation dates back , ever since the first moving picture was introduced in the late 18th century, in which pictures of everyday city life were shown to the audience. the cooperation of the two professions has growth together ever since as both professions shares a huge common ground the collaboration has growth dubiously until now not only in the contribution of the progress of different ideas, thoughts and visions belonging to different decades of this century similarly the use representation techniques of cinema has helped to enhance the architects imagination.

all through their transcendence film and architecture strengthen their connection by learning different intellectual, figurative and practical devices from one and other in order to strengthen their own system of understanding.

“Although cinema and architecture are distant arts, dynamic and static respectively; their complex relationship gives life to each other. Sharing a mutual respect for the parallel processes involved in producing their works, the creators behind these two expressions have an understanding that one will always benefit the other" (1)

there are many parallel process in the making and designing of the film which is very much related with the designing and representation process of architecture, both professions requires the study of both in order to take the benefit.

"there are films which cannot be a success without an architect working at the background designing real life sets. which are meant to look perfect in every aspect (making everything about the film reality based)" (2)

particularly just as the cinema depicts life over a big white flat surface, similarly the presentation of architecture both in the design process and the documentation uses the same process. each profession has looked into each other in order to gain advantage, both forms use similar techniques in their specific design process just as architecture cannot be done without paper, models, drawing similarly film requires all these techniques for its making in the design process.

Prof.Francis Penz speaks of this alliance

Architects can certainly learn from the filmmaker’s ability to represent and move through spaces. They can also learn from the craft and aesthetic of studio-made features where filmmakers have brought a particular vision to bear upon the sets and the architecture in which the actors move. Architects

may benefit to understand that their three-dimensional representations are a ‘natural set’ for the exploration of spaces in movement, which may help to look at one’s work in a less static way. Similarly, the modes of representation used by architecture students, as mentioned above, using drawings, physical models and more particularly computer animations, may constitute an interesting starting point for the film industry (3)

therefore many filmmakers take help from architects for the perfection of their unrealistic building form to bring life and reality in those structures. Similarly the architects also take benefit from the architecture of film by getting inspired from the futuristic approach of films , apart from this the techniques used in the cinema such as montage , editing, illusion , lighting, movement in space have always been demand of the architecture in various design process of almost every building.

similarly just as the architects takes control of upon every aspect of the building design a film director acts as crucial element is designing of a film.

With the release of metropolis in the late 1920s completely changed the view how people related film and architecture and it made the connection between the two fields stronger than ever before. the release of the film brought about a new culture in Germany of overly large sized billboards as it became a new fashion in germen film industry, which was in the process of adopting American standard in Berlin alone adding about 20 movie theaters each with a thousand seats to its stock of 380 movie theaters. Bringing images of screen into the street these enormous advertisements narrowed the gap between film and reality and merged for an instant film and architecture. The release of the film also gave rise to the debate about the future of Berlin as the movie reveals the contemporary fascination with a building type that stood at the center of the widespread about the future of German cities.

"Metropolis was rich in the subterranean content that, like contraband cross the borders of consciousness without being questioned" (4)

The film was a success as it addressed issues of urban poor and social unrest, pros and cons of the use of technolog, generational conflicts and redeeming power of the religions. metropolis shown and depicted exaggerated version of dark American streets with a concept of central tower that had played such an important part in recent discussions and that represented the most conservative and contemporary approach to skyscraper design and town planning in Germany.

it was this movie which made a huge impact on urbanist movements in other films as well where the role of monumentality and the role of skyscraper continued.

Both film and architecture have many similar elements in their making, if we talk about architecture it is the spaces which are required to be organized in a desired manner to achieve a particular design where as in film making images are organized in a certain manner.

in the case of film making it undergo the procedure of three phases , the expressive part of the narrative, the spatial use of mise en scene and the crucial part of montage/editing.

brian singer the director of film X-men , the usual suspects states

"has stated about the formal process that “a film is designed three times in production; at first on paper, second at the set and third in the editing/montage room.” (5)

similarly film maker micheal explains the 3 stage process of film making

"1. Always, under any circumstances, write and bring a script to your shoots. a script or screenplay is written plan of the film in your imagination. it includes dialogues as well the scenes, what the actors do, the special effects, the music and so on (The narrative)

2.storyboards/ mise en scene are a great way to visualize your shots and put some structure in your a story board is series of illustration or images displayed in a sequence to give others an idea of how the scene will look

3. production and post-production (montage) which means you shoot film along with the cast and crew. Post-production is the most fun part its basically consists of editing of film and adding effects" (6)

Narrative in film making:- narrative in the film making is the part which describes the basic idea of the story , it describes various notions that the film brings with its self it is one of the basic of the film , narrative also depicts the main theme of a film and around which the story of the film is revolves. in the making of the film the narrative is just an imaginary conceptual process and it aids to build up the primary stages of film design.

mise en scene/story board :- It is the process in which the actual visualization of each scenes takes place , it is the representation of the essentials of the film such as setting up the narrative and delivering it to the audiences in this the objects with in the frame are operated through compositional standards, the elments which can alter or aid the mise en scene can be the lighting , color , back ground setting , camera angles and the positioning of the characters.

Editing, Montage/ production:-

this is the most essential part in the making of the film as it is what completes the film by the process of cutting and pasting and it forms a relationship between the shots

if we compare these techniques to architecture it can be deduced that to a certain degree all of these film making processes are used in architecture as well, it is known that visualization or development of imaginary buildings, the work and practices of architects can be influenced from these film making processes. In addition to illustration techniques of cinematic techniques such as narrative, illusion, movement, editing/montage, story board, cut, lighting have also been used for the demands of architecture as the component of design. according to French architect Jhon Novel says that his projects are very much influenced by the filmic techniques, according to him revelations made by film directors are as something that architects do themselves in designing their buildings. Apart from jhon novel if we generally look at different works of architecture it can be analyzed that both art forms uses similar techniques in their development process. these techniques people use in architecture consciously but many people have been using these techniques unconsciously someway or the other.


Jewsih museum by Denial Libiskind

In Jewish museum Berlin Deinal libiskind uses the art of storytelling through architectural language and building form, the garden of exile, the three axes of the German-Jewish experience and the voids together these pieces form a visual and spatial language the Jewish museum depicts history of events to the visitor while every space unfolds itself and forms a narrative by depicting series of events which took place in Berlin's past history.


Collages of Ludwig Mies Van Der Rohe

Mies is famous as a master builder, with his attention to detail and restrained proportions leading to masterful and surprisingly poetic structures. His maxims are quoted in schools: “God is in the details” and, of course, “Less is more.” But he was equally masterful in two dimensions, as the currently running MoMA exhibition “Cut ‘n’ Paste: From Architectural Assemblage to Collage City” brought to our attention. The exhibition showcases works from the well-known collagists Archigram, OMA, and Superstudio, but also includes several collages by Mies—collages rarely seen in academic or retrospective discussions of the architect’s work.

It is easy to tell that the collages are Mies’s work at a glance; their understatedness, their restrained yet powerful work of art, draws the eye. Many of the collages are toneless, largely made up of whitespace; line-drawn perspective grids define the plains of floor and ceiling, while two, or maybe three, partitions block views out of plate-glass windows. Many of these partitions are adorned with patterned marble or modernist paintings by Kandinsky or “Guernica” by Picasso. The culmination—Mies at his wildest—is a collage for a Chicago convention hall, in which the walls are a deep green marble decorated by state seals, the ceiling is a deep steel grid with an American flag draping down, and which features crowds of people cut from newspapers.



1. griger, murray. Space in Time: Filming Architecture. 199.


3. penz, frances. architecture and cinema . s.l.: Academy Editions, 1994.

4. kracauer, siegfried. from calgiri to hitler: a psychological history of german film . s.l.: princeton university press.

5. singer, brian.

6. micheal. eastern lights productions’ short film blog. The Three Stages of Filmmaking. [Online] eastern lights production. [Cited: november 29, 2013.] http://easternlights.wordpress.com/2008/08/11/the-three-stages-of-filmmaking/.