Star Wars Wednesday - Star Wars Architecture


It's not often that the two things I work on most often intersect directly - architecture and Star Wars - but every so often, something will crop up. This one is pretty unique - Lucasfilm's new Singapore building bears a not so passing, ultrasleek resemblance to a certain iconic vehicle from Star Wars.

The Sandcrawler.

There are a number of cool things about this design. Obviously, it starts with the overall form of the iconic front end of the sandcrawler, and turns it into a cool, sleek, metal and glass facade. When drawing inspiration from an easily recognizable form, there is always the risk of going too far, resulting in something more akin to a copy or homage. Buildings built like giant donuts or baskets are regarded (and are) cheesy. Even famous architects pull stunts like this, with mixed results.

The sandcrawler works for me because:

  • It's a cool form in and of itself, and you need not know its original inspiration to consider it a successful building.
  • It's not a direct, slavish copy, but a sculptural take that transforms into a completely different form in from one end of the building to the other.
  • The cues from sandcrawler are abstracted, and only three are needed to complete the image: the front/bow prow, the floor raised above the ground, and a notch where the original entry ramp occurs.
  • If Lucasfilm ever moves out, the building still works for other purposes, which is more difficult to do if you have a basket for a building.

And the architecture world has taken notice with at least one award so far. You can see more here.

Of course, this actually isn't the first time the sandcrawler has inspired building designs. Check out these two and see how their translation from vehicle to building compare to the one above. The second is from a world-renowned architect.

You can see more examples of Star Wars and architecture here.

Oh, and remember a few weeks ago, I posted a bit about Star Wars: The Blueprints? See more examples of the drawings here. I'm not the only architect drawn to the product. So to speak.