Architecture from, of, or for the Future?

In 1995, a Cartoon Series called Aeon Flux was broadcasted on MTV. The background story is that a virus killed 99,9 % of the earth’s population, the survivors live in the ‘perfect society’, in the clean, organized and totally controlled cities of Bregna and Monica.

Ten years later, and with a slightly different plot, a movie was made based on the comic series. Besides the fact that I consider the movie stands in no comparison to the original comic series, let’s take a look at the interesting facts about that movie from an architect’s point of view:

It is not the story, nor any effects, it is what is shown in the movie, and how.

The movie takes place in the year 2415 in the city of Bregna, sealed off from its environment, where nature has taken over again:

wall, view from above and model

…while the movie was actually shot in Berlin! When watching the flick for the first time, I got distracted by parts of buildings that where shown which I am familiar with. So I put together the buildings I know are being shown in the movie. It is quite fascinating to see how they use (and thus reprogram) representational Berlin buildings, some of the already 50 years old, as (rather important) buildings of their fictional, futuristic society .

Let’s continue with that thought:

Does that either mean those buildings are suitable for a clean, suppressed, strictly organized and watched society, or does it mean they are so super-hip, futuristic and sustainable that even in the year 2145 their style is still up to date? Or does reality meets fiction here in every sense?

I put some of the examples from the real world together with the movie situations:

The Bauhaus Archive by Walter Gropius:

A museum(top) …. and a housing block(bottom): Did you notice the ‘balconies’ with flowerbeds to the right?


The Park of Sanssouci in Potsdam (top), and Bregna(bottom):


The Mexican Embassy in reality (top) and in the movie (bottom):


The Conference and Exhibition Hall ‘House of the cultures of the World’ (top), and the Bregna surveillance system headquarters,

even with a scene on the curved roof:


the original building just re-opened after renovation. In Berlin, it has the Nickname ‘Klappstulle (=sandwich) or ‘Schwangere Auster'(=Pregnant oyster).

I didn’t see that coming….

And, finally, my macabre favorite:

The Crematorium in Treptow (top) by Axel Schultes and Charlotte Frank functions as the seat of Bregna’s council!


It also has some exterior shots, but I couldn’t find the right equivalent from the real world. There are probably even more buildings, and also some more interiors which are probably scattered all over Berlin.
I found it rather interesting how, detached from its surroundings and only shown from a certain angle, buildings can be placed in a totally different time, program, and even style.
If you have any more of them, let me know! And if you’re planning to watch it: Go for the cartoon first and enjoy!


~ by aboutarchitecture on September 12, 2007.

One Response to “Architecture from, of, or for the Future?”

  1. I remember the cartoon vaguely, but never would have considered watching Aeon Flux till I heard about this – thanks for the tip. (Will fast forward thro’ any non-building bits)

    Perhaps the point about some of the buildings used is that they are often abstract forms with little context (especially the crematorium interior, which seems strangely like a film set anyway).

    Jim H

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: