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Batman, Architecture and a Detour Drama

THURSDAY, AUGUST 11, 2011

By Jill M. Speegle


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Well, my usual morning commute was interrupted last week for the filming of a movie.

Not just any movie: the epic conclusion to Batman’s Dark Knight Legend, “The Dark Knight Rises.”

During three days of 30-minute, completely-out-of-my-way, why-would-anyone-want-people-to-drive-down-this-street detours, I had some time to think about the selected movie location.

Why Pittsburgh?

Pittsburgh's Point State Park
A distant look at PPG Place from Point State Park.

According to a statement made by Christopher Nolan, the film’s director, he admired the architecture of the city. “It’s a very beautiful city, on a very impressive scale,” he said.

Specifically, he noted that downtown Pittsburgh was “incredibly valuable” to the latest installation of Batman.

I speculate that this is because PPG Place—the corporate headquarters building for PPG Industries Inc.—essentially screams Gotham City. The glassed-in, castle-like structure, complete with 231 shimmering spires, spans three city blocks in the heart of downtown. It was designed by Phillip Johnson and John Burgee.

Pittsburgh's PPG Place
Close-up view of PPG Place from downtown Marketsquare.

The grandeur of the façade of this building might add just the right dramatic element to the highly anticipated film, don’t you think?

Apparently, others have taken note that Pittsburgh and its architecture have been cast in the new Batman flick as Gotham stand-ins. The article here discusses PPG Place and a few other links that Pittsburgh has to Gotham City architecture, such as the 535-foot gothic Cathedral of Learning on the University of Pittsburgh’s campus or the Allegheny County Courthouse, constructed of “grim” looking stone.

But who can be sure? Most filming locations are unknown to the public, except when they surprise you on your morning commute.

The movie is scheduled for release summer 2012. Check out the “Teaser Trailer.”

ABOUT THE BLOGGER

Jill M. Speegle

Jill Speegle is the Editor of Durability + Design News. She earned her B.A. in journalism and English as well as her J.D. from the University of Arkansas. In Sketches, Jill shares her thoughts on a number of topics that may be of interest to the D+D community, including architecture, interior design, green building, historic restoration, and whatever else catches her radar.

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Comment from Robert Burke, Burke Painting Company in Wilmington, DE, (8/19/2011, 8:57 AM)

Sometimes detours in your life are a good thing after all!


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