the architecture of the villain is investigated in a critically and visually compelling work entitled ‘LAIR: radical homes and hideouts of movie villains.’ edited by internationally acclaimed architect chad oppenheim with andrea gollin, the book explores the most iconic villainous lairs of cinema in a theoretical analysis of society’s learned perception of evil spaces. the architecture of these structures is depicted through drawings, photographs, essays, and interviews with industry professionals including both architects and production designers. detailed line drawings including plans and perspectival cutaway sections are rendered across the distinctive matte black pages in glistening silver linework.

LAIR villain homes
images courtesy of tra publishing



with ‘LAIR: radical homes and hideouts of movie villains,’ chad oppenheim and andrea gollin uncover the spaces of megalomaniacs who want to rule the world from secret locations. together with an analytic essay by joseph rosa, the book published by tra publishing investigates the cultural tendency to associate modernist design in cinema with characters depicted as evil, unstable, and obsessive. as can be seen in such films as north by northwest (1959) and diamonds are forever (1971), the villain’s lair is often designed as an austere composition of glass and concrete — a cold contrast from the traditional american homes which were widely embraced particularly during the early 20th century.

LAIR villain homes



LAIR explores the contrasting perceptions toward traditionalism and modernism in residential architecture — and the implied morality of the occupant in a cinematic context. the author speculates a mid-century fear of modern design in american domesticity. the style, driven by technological and scientific advances, commonly recalls corporate and military associations while nostalgia for a past domestic ideal identifies a ‘good’ character for an audience. the notion of ‘dastardly doings in modern design’ is reinforced in such spaces in film as the iconic war room in stanley kubrick’s 1964 masterpiece, ‘dr. strangelove or: how I learned to stop worrying and love the bomb.’

LAIR villain homes



to introduce the collection of villainous spaces selected from fifteen films, LAIR features a 2003 interview with legendary production designer ken adams by writer christopher frayling. known as the ‘frank lloyd wright of decor noir’ adams is known for his masterfully designed villain’s lairs, or, ‘machines for tyrants to live in.’ with his signature combination of industrial modernity and elements from antiquity, his vision helped to shape seven of the bond films and he worked closely with stanley kubrick in the design of dr. strangelove’s war room. throughout his career the designer introduced a profound influence on both the film industry and the field of architecture while many architects — oppenheim included — cite him as important source of inspiration.

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project info:


title: ‘lair: radical homes and hideouts of movie villains’

editors: chad oppenheim, andrea gollin

publisher: tra publishing

date published: november 5th, 2019

contributors: michael mann, sir christopher frayling, joseph rosa, amy murphy, phillip valys

illustrations, renderings: carlos fueyo

cover illustrations: yonel hernández