Publication Date



Open access

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Architecture (MArch)


Motion Pictures (Communication)

Date of Defense

April 2010

First Committee Member

Jean Francois Lejeune - Committee Chair

Second Committee Member

Katherine J. Wheeler - Committee Member

Third Committee Member

William Rothman - Committee Member

Fourth Committee Member

Konstantia Kontaxis - Committee Member


Critics have extensively explored filmmaker Douglas Sirkâ??s personal involvement in numerous aspects of his cinema, especially in his mise-en-scene. Sirkâ??s architectural vision however, is quite underrated among his scholars. This thesis is a research- oriented, as well as an analytical study on Douglas Sirkâ??s architectural semiotics, and the intricate layers of narrative meaning that it adds to his cinematic oeuvre. As case studies, I select four of his 1950s Hollywood films that refer to a contemporaneous disappointment towards the aggressively advertized postwar notion of a suburban dream house, and its small town precedents. Looking at the expressiveness of context, building type, layout, and interior decoration of the dream house in each film, I investigate how Sirk criticizes its materialistic aspects in light of ephemeral cinematic architectures.


Film And Architecture; Douglas Sirk; American Small Towns And Suburbia In Film; Narrative Space In Film