Publication Date



Open access

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Architecture (MArch)


Motion Pictures (Communication)

Date of Defense


First Committee Member

Jean Francois Lejeune

Second Committee Member

Katherine J. Wheeler

Third Committee Member

William Rothman

Fourth Committee Member

Konstantia Kontaxis


Critics have extensively explored filmmaker Douglas Sirk's personal involvement in numerous aspects of his cinema, especially in his mise-en-scene. Sirk's architectural vision however, is quite underrated among his scholars. This thesis is a research- oriented, as well as an analytical study on Douglas Sirk'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 advertised 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