Fictional Architecture

Updated August 16, 2018

As special effects budgets continue to grow, the architectural wonders that TV, film and video game producers create seem to get more and more impressive.

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From the castles of Westeros to the imaginative, colorful designs of Studio Ghibli, we compiled some of the most iconic and interesting architectural feats that we feel best represent six of our favorite fictional universes. In order to capture the finer details and the feel of each building, we’ve illustrated each one with a pen and paper – and we’re pretty happy with the results!

Need some inspiration for your next project? You might just find it here.

The Dark Crystal

The TV series of The Dark Crystal brings the movie’s mythology to a new generation – and it expands what we know about the planet Thra. The multitude of cultures on Thra makes it an exotic place to be, even if it might not be your first-choice holiday destination! The architecture ranges from modest, organic Gelfling homes to the complex steampunk mechanics of Aughra's Observatory. Where will the Jim Henson Company take us next?

Lord of the Rings

Middle-Earth is one of the most well-known (and loved and/or feared) of all fictional settings. Your first mental image of J.R.R. Tolkien’s fantasy world may be the rolling Shire with its air of English countryside. But the built environment is as varied as the characters we meet. The Roman-style limestone block city of Minas Tirith and the Art Nouveau-tinged marble structures of Rivendell are charming and creepy in equal measures, whether you subscribe to Tolkien’s written descriptions or Peter Jackson’s visual interpretation.

Game of Thrones

The great Houses of Westeros have some incredible castles and holdfasts to their names, so it’s no surprise that they spend so much time and spill so much blood fighting over them. Even over the Narrow Sea in Essos, the slave masters live in grand pyramids to show off how important they are. Stonework is obviously a key component in these designs, but what type of castle would suit your style best?

Harry Potter

Harry may have grown up in the run-of-the-mill suburban landscape of Privet Drive, but after learning he was a wizard, he was whisked away to far more interesting buildings. From the spires of Hogwarts and the crooked charms of Diagon Alley, to the cozy thatched roof of Shell Cottage and the teetering multi-story Burrow – the wizarding world is nothing if not unique.

Marvel Cinematic Universe

It doesn’t take superpowers to recreate the architecture you’ve seen in the Marvel Cinematic Universe… but it might help. Though few have the budget that Tony Stark’s modern ocean view mansion calls for, why not take some renovation inspiration from Triskelion’s clean lines or the classic, symmetrical design of the New York Sanctum?

Studio Ghibli

One of the main reasons why Japanese animation giant Studio Ghibli’s movies are so widely loved is how visually imaginative they are. With castles floating in the sky and stalking across the land, the films of Hayao Miyazaki offer plenty of unattainable architectural dreams. But fans of the Japanese style will still find lots to aspire to with the iconic Japanese rooflines, expansive terraces and walls of windows in buildings like the Bathhouse from Spirited Away.

Skyrim

Playing an open world RPG like Skyrim offers an opportunity to pretend you really do live in a fictional building (as long as you’ve collected enough coins or completed enough mini quests, of course). If you feel a bit underwhelmed when you switch off your console, take some inspiration from Proudspire Manor’s intricate stonework, the wood and thatch construction of Jarl’s Longhouse or Lakeview Manor’s gorgeous cabin style to liven things up.

Star Wars

In a galaxy far, far away, there are many different architectural styles and designs – and you don’t need to have the resources of the Republic or the Empire to emulate them. We stuck to terrestrial buildings here, and while you might not want your home to look like a wretched hive of scum and villainy like the Mos Eisley Cantina, incorporating smooth stone facades and spherical rooflines will bring some of this out-of-this-world architecture down to Earth.

There’s no doubt that the powers of the imagination are strong when it comes to conceptualizing incredible buildings. Which of these fictional buildings best embodies the dramatic style you’d enjoy?

 

Sources

Game Of Thrones Wiki. (2018) Home Page. gameofthrones.wikia.com

Westeros. (2018) Home Page. awoiaf.westeros.org

Harry Potter Wiki. (2018) Home Page. harrypotter.wikia.com

Pottermore. (2018) Malfoy Manor. pottermore.com

Studio Ghibli Wiki. (2018) Home Page. studio-ghilbli.wikia.com

Spirited Away Wikia. (2018) Home Page. spiritedaway.wikia.com

Ashcraft, B. (2013) In Japan, You Can Visit the Totoro House. For Real. kotaku.com

Wikipedia. (2018) Kiki’s Delivery Service. wikipedia.org

Marvel Cinematic Universe Wiki. (2018) Home Page. marvelcinematicuniverse.wikia.com

The Disney Wiki. (2018) Kamar Taj. disney.wikia.com

Wookieepedia: The Star Wars Wiki. (2018) Home Page. starwars.wikia.com

The Elder Scrolls Wiki. (2018) Home Page. elderscrolls.wikia.com

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