Architecture in Movies

Architecture in Movies – Tron Legacy

Hollywood has portrayed futuristic ideas better than any other visual media. Futuristic architecture has been beautifully visualized in movies like Star wars or Matrix or any other Sci Fi movie. But as an architect and a movie lover, never have I experienced a movie in which architecture had an upper hand. That was until I saw Tron Legacy.

Tron Legacy is one movie whose architecture fascinated me more than anything else. The is might be because, the director Joseph Kosinski is an architect himself. The way he had imagined the world inside the chips is mind blowings.The most fascinating of all the architectural elements though are the ones with the futuristic concepts involved. The way he brought in those interesting forms and integrated them with those neon lights are fascinating. The gaming arenas inspired from the stadiums or the tower which housed the ISO’s clearly shows the mind of the architect behind the screen.

So lets look at the buildings or architectural elements of Tron one my one.

Flynn’s Safehouse:

The house of Flynn(played by Jeff Bridges) inside the Grid(the programming world) has an open plan and truly resembles the works of the masters. Kosinski describes the house as “It is a safe house, neo-Victorian furniture is featured in the minimalist interior, creating a look that blends the old with the new in a provocative way.”

Flynn’s Safehouse is a combination of a spacious home and a bunker, disconnected from the Grid and hidden in the Outlands. It is far enough from TRON City that the prying eyes of Clu’s subordinates do not reach it, yet it is also far enough that it leaves Kevin Flynn unable to offer protection to the Grid.

Established some time after Clu’s betrayal in 1989, the safehouse has been developed and expanded into a well appointed subterranean complex with one expansive window opening from the main lounge and dining area out onto a viewing platform in the side of a cliff. Much of the interior features lighting throughout the floor, as well as from fittings in the ceiling, which activates in the presence of occupants and bathes the rooms in a steady white glow. Connected to the main living area are smaller personal rooms furnished with beds, and shelves for personal belongings.

Flynn’s Container House:

Another house, though not so architecturally fascinating, which catches the viewers attention is the container house of Flynn junior. Seems like the architect turned director was interested in putting in some sustainable concepts in to his movie.

Input/Output Tower:

I/O tower is a location in the Computer World that programs use to communicate to their users. They regard these towers as religious places and each tower has a Tower Guardian to protect the holy place. Dumont and I-No are examples of Tower Guardians.

Game Arena:


The Game Arena is contained in a vast stadium on the edge of TRON City. It plays host to a number of different gladiatorial sports including matches for Lightcycles, and a radically redesigned Disc Arena where combatants fight inside a series of transparent modules. Stadium seating provides live viewing positions for thousands and the spectators are screened from the arena floor by a sturdy clear shield capable of withstanding the full force of a lightcycle impact without breaching.

The environment of the arena combat area can be constantly reshaped to accommodate a wide range of different game environments. Everything from rotating Disc Arena modules suspended high above the ground to a lightcycle grid with spiral tracks and other ramped structures.

SO finally lets talk about the Tron City:


Tron legacy city 2.jpg

is the main city in the TRON system. It is built on the Grid, Kevin Flynn’s master creation, and the pinnacle of his “digital frontier”. It is constructed in a hexagonal shape, with a deep chasm surrounding its perimeter. Bridges connect it to the surrounding area and form highly defensible choke points against any surface-based aggression. The city, like the Grid around it, matches the darkened environment of the rest of the TRON system. The gloom is offset by brilliant white illumination, meandering throughout the city like circuits on on a printed circuit board.

The first beginnings of TRON City were in 1983 after the establishment of the Grid. It was expanded to accommodate a multitude of diverse programs and beyond the purely functional streets and buildings it eventually gained some of the less essential trappings of a society, such as a vast entertainment arena and nightclubs. One building in particular provides a significant point of interest; Flynn’s Arcade in the real world has it’s very own digital simulation in TRON City and this modest structure in the heart of the city provides the entry point into the system for users rezzing in from the real arcade.

TRON City was at one time a thriving metropolis of digital freedom where all types of programs functioned and intermingled. But ever since Clu 2 took over the control of the TRON system from Kevin Flynn, it has become a dark, oppressed place of strict, regulated functions.

Below is a talk with Joseph Kosinski, who speaks about the movie and how he started of as an engineer then an architect and finally a director.

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