steven jacobs looks at the architecture of alfred hitchcock steven jacobs looks at the architecture of alfred hitchcock
jan 31, 2014

steven jacobs looks at the architecture of alfred hitchcock


steven jacobs looks at the architecture of alfred hitchcock
all images courtesy of nai010 publishers, rotterdam, 2013

 

the wrong house: the architecture of alfred hitchcock
author: steven jacobs
design: piet gerards ontwerpers
publisher: nai010
year: 2013
format: 239 × 168 x 33mm
features: paperback, 244 pages
language: english
ISBN: 978-9462080966

________________________________________________________________________________________

designboom rating:   (excellent, recommended)
________________________________________________________________________________________

 

 

 

the architectural historian should address the imaginary architecture of cinema.

 

this is the view of steven jacobs, the author behind ‘the wrong house: the architecture of alfred hitchcock’, a book which studies in detail the role architecture played throughout the british director’s considerable catalogue of films. having worked as a set designer in the early part of his career, hitchcock remained closely involved with the art direction of his work, which features a remarkable range of buildings – from victorian manors to suburban dwellings.

steven jacobs looks at the architecture of alfred hitchcock designboom
plouthorp road with bijou cinema created in the gaumont studios
set photograph, british film institute

 

 

 

discussing set design hitchcock stated that, ‘a rule I’ve always followed is: never use a setting simply as a background. use it one hundred percent. (…) you’ve got to make the setting work dramatically. (…) In other words, the locale must be functional’.

 

taking the form of a conventional monograph, the book examines many of the famous sets featured in hitchcock’s movies, presenting for the first time original floor plans alongside behind the scenes photos. the author situates the fictitious structures within the historical and theoretical architectural context. hitchcock’s ‘architecture’ is an achievement of art direction and production design. consequently, the sets and their construction are discussed alongside their designers and decorators. however, the manual also deals with the way the director creates cinematic space by the means of visual devices.

steven jacobs looks at the architecture of alfred hitchcock designboom
digital frames from the paradine case

 

 

 

‘this book takes hitchcock as an architect. its starts from the absurd premise that all the important buildings in his films are designed by one and the same architect whose oeuvre includes a modernist villa in south dakota, a manhattan penthouse, a london apartment, a suburban house in a californian small-town, numerous victorian mansions, and a colorful collection of other buildings’, steven jacobs, taken from the book’s introduction.

steven jacobs looks at the architecture of alfred hitchcock designboom
digital frames from rebecca

 

 

 

‘cinematic spaces unmistakably play on the ways in which, for instance, attics basements, and bedrooms hold different roles in our daily and imaginary lives. in relation to the film’s plot and characters, cinematic spaces evoke the places where we all have lived, grown up, felt comfortable or alienated, and had a feeling of wonder or fear’.

 

aware of this, hitchcock cleverly employed space throughout his films, expressing his fondness of architecture through his own unique world view and portrayal of humanity. as jacobs states, ‘the art of framing characters within dietetic architecture, cinema also creates architecture though the camera. in the process of creating cinematic space phenomena such as lighting, sound, editing, camera positions, and camera movements can and should be interpreted as architectonic practices’.

steven jacobs looks at the architecture of alfred hitchcock designboom
 copyright nai010, 2013 (page 108-109)

 

 

 

the informative and engaging book takes the reader on a journey through alfred hitchcock’s career, documenting and compiling the important set designs which form the backdrop to his extensive repertoire. going behind the scenes of some of hitchcock’s best known works, original plans and images reconstruct the suspenseful world of his psychological thrillers. the comprehensive publication forms an essential reference point for anyone interested in the films of the great british director.

steven jacobs looks at the architecture of alfred hitchcock designboom
bates house & motel from psycho
copyright nai010, 2013 (pages 118-119)

steven jacobs looks at the architecture of alfred hitchcock designboom
brenner house from the birds
copyright nai010, 2013 (pages 136-137)

steven jacobs looks at the architecture of alfred hitchcock designboom
newton house from shadow of a doubt
copyright nai010, 2013 (pages 92-93)

steven jacobs looks at the architecture of alfred hitchcock designboom
preliminary sketch (academy of motion picture arts and sciences)

steven jacobs looks at the architecture of alfred hitchcock designboom
hitchcock on the set of bates house, psycho (1960)

steven jacobs looks at the architecture of alfred hitchcock designboom
‘the wrong house: the architecture of alfred hitchcock’, written by steven jacobs and published by nai010

 

    have something to add? share your thoughts in our comments section below.

    comments policy
    LOG IN
    designboom's comment policy guidelines
    generally speaking, if we publish something, it's because we're genuinely interested in the subject. we hope you'll share this interest and if you know even more about it, please share! our goal in the discussion threads is to have good conversation and we prefer constructive opinions. we and our readers have fun with entertaining ones. designboom welcomes alerts about typos, incorrect names, and the like.
    the correction is at the discretion of the post editor and may not happen immediately.

    what if you disagree with what we or another commenter has to say?
    let's hear it! but please understand that offensive, inappropriate, or just plain annoying comments may be deleted or shortened.

    - please do not make racist, sexist, anti-semitic, homophobic or otherwise offensive comments.
    - please don't personally insult the writers or your fellow commenters.
    - please avoid using offensive words, replacing a few letters with asterisks is not a valid workaround.
    - please don't include your website or e-mail address in your comments for the purpose of self-promotion.
    - please respect jury verdicts and do not discuss offensively on the competition results
    (there is only one fist prize, and designboom usually asks renown professionals to help us to promote talent.
    in addition to the awarded designs, we do feel that almost all deserve our attention, that is why we publish
    the best 100-200 entries too.)

    a link is allowed in comments as long as they add value in the form of information, images, humor, etc. (links to the front page of your personal blog or website are not okay). unwelcome links (to commercial products or services of others, offensive material etc. ) will be redacted. and, ... yes, spam gets banned. no, we do not post fake comments.

    design news