Fictional Skyscrapers in Films and Television Series

While tons of skyscrapers are getting built every month in the cities around the world, skyscrapers also often appears in the films, TV series, video games.

In these films some of them appear just exactly same as what in the reality, and some films of which the plots are set in the future usually feature some fictitious cities, however the buildings of these cities are generally directly extracted from the real cities and roughly modified, such as Dark Knight Rises, the buildings in the Gotham are all copied from New York City and other American cities. But there are still some films featuring innovative fictional skyscrapers that cannot be found in real world. Due to the fact that these fictional buildings in the films are not designed by professional architects, they are largely inspired by real buildings in real world.

Let's take a look at some of these fictional skyscrapers appear in the films and television series.

Stark Tower

Perhaps the most renowned fictional skyscraper is Stark Tower, the tower has been featured in many films,

A conceptual picture of Stark Tower
A conceptual picture of Stark Tower, this version of the tower is almost same as the one seen in The Avengers.

It was first showed in Iron Man 3 as the headquarters of the corporation of Tony Stark, and in the later it is featured in 2012 film The Avengers, the tower is a main location where the war between army of Loki and the Avengers takes place, after the war the tower was renamed to Avengers Tower when it appears in the sequel Avengers: Age of Ultron, but still keeps the same appearance except the the changes on the logo sign installed upon the upper part of the building and the color of exterior. Stark Tower has also appeared in some other films like Captain America: The Winter Soldier, and the more noteworthy is that it will be featured in upcoming superhero film Spider-Man: Homecoming since the owner of the tower Tony Stark is set to be the mentor of Peter Parker in the film.

Among all these films the Stark Tower was most heavily featured in the film The Avengers. In the film the tower is designed having a special power to be able to sustain itself for a year without any additional energy cost, for this special feature the tower is selected by Loki to serve as the place to harness the Tesseract and open a wormhole to send his army to New York City.

Stark Tower showed in The Avengers
Stark Tower showed in The Avengers

Stark Tower looks so futuristic, its audacious shape and distinctive colors make it seems out of place in New York, no doubt it can't really be built in Midtown, the lower portion of the tower is so bulky, to build such a bulky tower must to get a large plot, it's hard to find a plot that large in Midtown, and it's not enough for only one old building to be demolished to make space for it, even in the film it is built upon the remaining bottom half of the Metlife Building (also a chunky building and even more chunky than Stark Tower) after upper half part of the building was demolished by Tony Stark, who purchased Metlife Building only to demolish it to make space for his new building. In the reality nobody will waste so much, they are just building those super-skinny towers what we see in 57th street.

But in fact, there are some skyscrapers very similar to it existing in other cities, one of them is Bitexco Financial Tower in Ho Chi Minh City.

Bitexco Financial Tower stands at 262 meters tall, it's the tallest building in Ho Chi Minh City, completed in 2010.

Bitexco Financial Tower at night
Bitexco Financial Tower at night

The most distinct element of the tower that makes it looking similar to Stark Tower is that cantilevered helipad on the southern side of 52nd floor at a height of 190m, which almost identical to that cantilevered platform on Stark Tower. The sail-like shape of the building also makes it resembling the Stark Tower.

Despite the Stark Tower is not a new stuff in Marvel Comics, it does has many different designs, the one seen in The Avengers is not identical to those in comics but newly designed, and The Avengers is a 2012 film, given the fact that Bitexco Financial Tower was completed two years earlier in 2010 and the tower had been reported by many notable medias like CNN, it is apparent that Stark Tower seen in The Avengers was inspired by Bitexco Financial Tower.

If you are not convinced and think two years is a bit short for the filmmakers to take notice of it, there's another tower featuring similar appearance, the tower is named Menara Telekom and located in Kuala Lumpur, the tower also features a cantilevered platform at the similar position on the building, and the shape of the building is also similar with a sail, it was built as early as in 2001, so maybe it is even the ancestor of Bitexco Tower.

Menara Telekom in Kuala Lumpur
Menara Telekom in Kuala Lumpur

Oscorp Tower

Oscorp Tower is a fictional building appears in the film Amazing Spider-man 1 & 2, the building is the headquarters of Oscorp Group, a technology corporation that invented many fantastic medicines, devices and other inventions. And the tower is just where these bizzare stuffs came out from as it's not just a ordinary office building but also containing many large laboratories across the whole building. And its roof is the place where final battle between Peter Parker and The Lizard takes place.

Oscorp Tower showed in Amazing Spiderman
Oscorp Tower showed in Amazing Spiderman

The appearance of Oscorp Tower is very similar to Al Hamra Firdous Tower, a supertall skyscraper in Kuwait City, they look almost exactly the same except the color and some minor details.

Designed by architectural firm Skidmore, Owings and Merrill, Al Hamra Firdous Tower is the tallest building in Kuwait and also one of the most peculiar skyscrapers in the world.

Al Hamra Firdous Tower in Kuwait
Al Hamra Firdous Tower in Kuwait

One conspicuous feature of the tower is its curved shape, Oscorp Tower is also designed with this shape. And the other feature that can be found on both buildings is those cellular windows on the interior facade, apparently the designer of Oscorp Tower drew inspiration for the tower's spectacular appearance from Al Hamra Firdous Tower.

And this had been confessed by its designer, Oscorp Tower was designed by American designer George Hull, who mentioned on his website that early design of Oscorp Tower was inspired by Al Hamra Firdous Tower.


Galavan Tower

In the crime drama TV series Gotham, there's an unnamed tower often appears in the episodes of Season 2, the top floor of the tower is the penthouse of the villain Theo Galavan, so for sake of convenience we name it Galavan Tower,

Galavan Tower in Gotham

Every time it is shot from this same angel, so judged by this scene, Galavan Tower is a skyscraper with a height of around 213m or 700 feet, almost same as the nearby Metropolitan Life Insurance Company Tower ( the one with a clock on the facade).

Which real building do you think is this tower inspired from?

It seems hard to think of a similar building that size in the real world, but its golden and black exterior color reminds me of American Radiator Building besides the Bryant Park.

Aerial view of American Radiator Building
Aerial view of American Radiator Building

American Radiator Building is visually similar to Galavan Tower, but unlike Galavan Tower, this building is only 103m or 338 feet tall, it was completed in 1924, and it is the first building built with the style of Art Deco.

It seems the Galavan Tower is just made out by stretching and enlarging the American Radiator Building to a size of a skyscraper, but actually it's not so and many differences between two towers can be found by scrutinizing these two buildings. Galavan Tower is definitely an originally designed building, the scene designers of Gotham are not so lazy as those who behind the film Batman series which directed by Christopher, in their films, the headquarters of Wayne Enterprises is just exactly the Trump Tower in New York and Chicago Board of Trade Building, don't get me wrong, Dark Knight rises is an excellent film, they just failed to create a fictional city. In Gotham there's also an original fictional building served as headquarters of Wayne Enterprises, but it only appeared one time in previous episodes in Season 2.

Share this:

One thought on “Fictional Skyscrapers in Films and Television Series

Comments are closed.