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Top 10: The architecture of Star Wars (pt I)

The Architects’ Journal selects the most important buildings from a galaxy far, far away

Star-Wars creator and amateur architect George Lucas has been accused of rather too closely following the designs of media magnate William Randolph Hearst’s ‘Xanadu’ Castle. He should have looked closer to home for inspiration: his Star Wars films are full of wonderful architecture. Here the Architects’ Journal selects its top ten Star Wars buildings.

10. Cloud City, Bespin

The simple and elegant 16-kilometre wide Cloud City sits high above the planet Bespin. Proprietor Lando Calrissian oversees a well-appointed luxury resort district on its upper levels, complete with hotels and casinos. Echoes of the saucer-shaped structure can be seen on Earth in John Lautner’s Chemosphere House.

9. Senate Building, Coruscant

More than two kilometres wide, this seat of power looms over its subjects. Sited at the end of the Avenue of Core Founders, it holds the Grand Convocation Chamber, a vast auditorium that contains 1024 floating repulsorpods, one for each senator (extensive refurbishment followed a duel between Chancellor Palpatine and Jedi Grand Master Yoda). Noted similarities with Jean Nouvel’s Louvre Abu Dhabi.

8. Sandcrawler, Tatooine

Star Wars Sandcrawler, Rem Koolhaas Casa de Musica by OMA

Not quite a building, but the monumental quality of its form and its polygonal facades lend this Jawa Sandcrawler a building-like presence. These large treaded vehicles have inspired buildings from a Tunisian hotel to Rem Koolhaas’ Casa de Musica in Porto (both pictured above).

7. Bright Tree Village, Endor

Bright Tree Village is an exemplar of sustainable, low-tech development. This Ewok settlement on the forest moon of Endor follows the traditional pattern: thatched-roof huts are arranged on the main branches of a tree around the chief’s hut on the trunk. Rated BREEAM Excellent, the development - by architect Wicket W Warrick - makes use of locally sourced materials, is carbon-neutral and far exceeds Endor’s notoriously strict building regulations.

6. Echo Base, Hoth

It took the Alliance Corps of Engineers, under Major Kem Monnon, two years to fashion Echo Base from the natural ice caverns below the frozen surface of Hoth. The result is a impressive both technically and aesthetically - a vast igloo as if fashioned by Piranesi.

Alongside medical facilities a command centre and a large hangar, this eerily peaceful base includes perimeter defense trenches and v-150 Planet Defender ion cannon.

READ ON: NUMBERS 5 TO 1 >>

Readers' comments (2)

  • To me Sandcrawler is reminiscent of Herzog's de Young museum in San Francisco:
    http://www.arcspace.com/architects/herzog_meuron/de_young.html

    Unsuitable or offensive?

  • Frank Lloyd Wright's Marin County Civic Center was the inspiration for the Theed Royal Palace on the planet Naboo as seen in the Star Wars prequels.

    The book "The Art of Star Wars Episode 1: The Phantom Menace" confirms speculation that the Royal Palace in the film was partially inspired by the Marin County Civic Center.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marin_County_Civic_Center#In_Popular_Culture

    Scroll down to "Behind the scenes" at this link also:
    http://starwars.wikia.com/wiki/Theed_Royal_Palace


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