We live in an age of immersive entertainment, where cinematic universes and complex fantasy worlds are created in books, TV shows, video games and beyond. It makes good commercial sense for the creators of these to take the effort to build a world for us to explore because, if they get it right, they’re increasing our engagement with it and our loyalty to the brand. And for us, it’s the ultimate in escapism, giving us the chance to inhabit those worlds rather than our dull, regular world, at least for a little while.

A major part of this is to make the world look engaging, as the visuals help us connect and capture our imaginations. The more creative and fantastical they look, the more likely they are to take us away from real life and make us believe in these worlds. What would Game of Thrones be without its huge and impressive castles? How would Harry Potter’s journey into the world of magic be demonstrated more effectively than with the weird and wonderful buildings of Diagon Alley?

All of the works featured in these illustrations are amongst the best at creating fictional architecture that engages us, from the Moving Castle or Bath House in Studio Ghibli classics to the imposing modern styles on show in the Marvel movies and the diverse sci-fi designs of the many worlds featured in the Star Wars franchise. Video games are increasingly leading the way, with the likes of Skyrim taking advantage of the technological advances to create incredible buildings for us to explore within the gameplay.

One thing all of these fictional buildings have in common is that they are extraordinary in the truest sense of the word. After all, who would want to design fictional architecture that just looks like the buildings we have in the real world?

Dark Crystal

fictional architecture

Lord of The Rings

fictional architecture

Game of Thrones

Harry Potter


Studio Ghibli

Star Wars


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