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Top 10 architectural marvels from 'Star Wars'

June 16, 2009 | 12:57 pm


Now here's some real starchitecture to think about: The imaginary worlds of Tatooine, Endor, Cloud City and the Death Star may not exist in our own mundane reality, but like it or not, these instantly recognizable forms and structures are seared on our collective consciousness thanks to the undying ubiquity of George Lucas' "Star Wars."

Of course, production design for the movies doesn't qualify as architecture in the strictest sense of the word — we're talking about sets, not true blue buildings. But from a design perspective, they can be as intricate and awe-inspiring as anything conjured by Frank Gehry.

Lest you think that we at Culture Monster are committing heresy by conflating "Star Wars" and the sacrosanct architectural discipline, allow us to refer your attention to the Architect's Journal, a British publication that is certainly no frivolous cultural rag. The AJ recently published on its website a top 10 list of the best architecture from the six "Star Wars" movies. It even draws some intriguing real-world parallels.

Notice, for instance, how the saucer-shaped structures from Cloud City ("The Empire Strikes Back") resemble John Lautner's Chemosphere residence. Or how the Senate Building in Coruscant ("Revenge of the Sith") seems to have inspired Jean Nouvel's designs for the Louvre Abu Dhabi. And note how the Ewoks' Endor dwellings ("The Return of the Jedi") are carbon-neutral and make use of locally sourced material.

Keep reading for AJ's honor roll of the best architecture from "Star Wars," plus some of our own additions to the list...

Star Wars 

10. Cloud City, Bespin. "The Empire Strikes Back."

9. Senate Building, Coruscant. "Revenge of the Sith."

8. Sandcrawler, Tatooine. "Star Wars."

7. Bright Tree Village, Endor. "The Return of the Jedi."

6. Echo Base, Hoth. "The Empire Strikes Back."

5. Artisinal Dwellings, Tatooine. "The Phantom Menace."

4. Coruscant (the entire city). "The Phantom Menace."

3. Jedi Temple, Coruscant. "Attack of the Clones."

2. Jabba's Palace, Tatooine. "The Return of the Jedi."

1. The Second Death Star. "The Return of the Jedi."

And some of Culture Monster's own additions to the list: Yoda's hut, Dagobah ("The Empire Strikes Back"); Opera House, Coruscant ("Revenge of the Sith"); planet Utapau, where General Grievous fights Obi-Wan ("Revenge of the Sith").

What are some of your favorite architectural wonders from the "Star Wars" universe?

— David Ng

Photo (top): the unfinished Death Star from "Star Wars." Courtesy: Lucasfilm Ltd. Photo (bottom): Jedi Council members interview young Anakin Skywalker in their temple above the urban-sprawl planet of Coruscant. Credit: Associated Press/Copyright Lucasfilm Ltd.