Architectural Cinema

What is it?

Architectural cinema is an advanced form of architectural animation whereby its purpose is defined by more than just presentation tool but a new form of thinking tool for architectural design.

It is architectural design gravitated towards the use of simulated cinematic experience and scenario based narrative to generate usable and explorative forms.

It draws on the "affects" and techniques of cinema to inform and propogate new design process and create digitally simulated virtual environment and experience.


Kal Ng is a filmmaker and architectural designer who is researching the possibilities of 'architectural cinema' at Hong Kong University architecture school. His experience in both fields provide a suitable background for interdisciplinary exploration and theoretical construction.

Kal Ng was born in Hong Kong, and studied at University of Oregon architectural school.

He was immigrated to Canada in 1990 and made several independent feature films that were screened in film festivals such as the Berlin International Film Fest and the Toronto International Film Festival. He had practiced architectural design in Toronto and Hong Kong. Filmography of Kal Ng.

In 2002 he finished his Master degree at Hong Kong Unversity, a thesis in Comparative Literature titled Cinematic Architecture. It details new methods in extracting new cultural meaning in films through the analysis of cinematic space. Abstract and body of the thesis can be reached here:

Architectural Cinema - Cinematic potentials of architectural animation will be his Doctoral thesis.


Present design methods and presentations are not catching up with the technology and medium. New techniques and languages are necessary to inform creative and productive use of new digital technologies and mediums. The aim of the project at hand is to investigate the wide repertoire of cinematic practice, especially its abilities of spatial representation through motion imagery and editing, to extract effective ways of thinking about space through cinema. (Based on a Deleuzian concept of cinema as a form of thinking machine for the human epoch) Such sets of discoveries will be indispensible in forming constructive use of the ever advancing technology under vigorous theoretical groundwork. As the creative medium is ever proliferating into area of interactivity and virtuality, a repertoire of the cinematic techniques is all the more urgent after 100 more years of practice, especially under the light of new mode of human existence and technological transformation.

Fields of Contribution

Architectural Design, Virtual Reality, Game Entertainment, Digital Cinema, Mapping, Navigation, Urban Design. Animation.

December 2004

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