How do you build a "Star Wars" universe? The answer lies close to home. Lucas' galaxy far, far away might appear fantastical, but its carefully designed planets are home to myriad architectural styles sourced from here on Earth. Scroll through to discover the inspiration behind planets unknown, and how "Star Wars," in some cases, has gone on to inspire architecture in the real world.
Theed palace, Naboo —
The royal palace of Theed, the capital of Naboo, utilizes a combination of Byzantine exteriors and Baroque/Rococo interiors, informed by the naturalistic style of American architect Frank Lloyd Wright.
Marin County Civic Center —
Marin County Civic Center, in California, with its blue domed roofs, partly inspired Naboo. Architect Frank Lloyd Wright's brief for the site, his final commission, was that it should complement its parkland environment.
Fallingwater, another Frank Lloyd Wright project in Fayette County, Pennsylvania, took this aesthetic even further.
Courtesy Jonathan Lin
The Hagia Sophia —
David Reat described Theed Palace as a "fusion between Marin, the Hagia Sophia and the Sultan Ahmed Mosque in Istanbul." The Hagia Sophia (pictured) was one of the Roman Empire's first Christian cathedrals, after St. John Lateran in Rome, and is among the best known Byzantine structures in the world.
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The Sultan Ahmet Mosque —
The Sultan Ahmet Mosque -- otherwise known as the "Blue Mosque" -- in Istanbul dates from the early 17th century and is a symbol of Ottoman might. Located across from the Hagia Sophia, it combines Byzantine and Islamic aesthetics. Doug Chiang's concept art for Theed's cliff-edge palace contains many of the same features, including a minaret-like tower.
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Otoh Gunga —
The Gungans living on Naboo were pilloried by fans, but their underwater home city of Otoh Gunga was one of the most sophisticated in the galaxy. The intricate metalwork echoes Art Nouveau, a school of architecture emphasizing natural forms.
Hotel Van Eetvelde —
The Art Nouveau entrance to the Hotel Van Eetvelde, in Brussels, circa 1900, designed by Victor Horta.
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Pasteur metro station —
Hector Guimard's entrance to the Pasteur metro station in Paris, built in the early 20th century.
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The Palace of Fine Arts —
The Palace of Fine Arts, a stone's throw from Lucasfilm's San Francisco HQ, is built in the neoclassic style with Corinthian columns, domes and water -- not unlike parts of Theed.
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Naboo seen during the funeral of Padme. The neoclassic pavilion on the left has shades of those nearby in San Francisco.
Reat says the city planet Coruscant (Pictured in "Episode III: Revenge of the Sith") was inspired by Trantor, a planet from the "Foundation" series of sci-fi novels by Isaac Asimov, written in the 1940s.
Had Abbadon —
One of Ralph McQuarrie's original paintings of what would become Coruscant. Called Had Abbadon, in the background is the Imperial Palace, home to the Emperor. This vision of Coruscant would never come to pass by the time of the prequels. "Star Wars" lore says the Emperor re-purposed the Jedi Temple when he assumed power at the end of "Revenge of the Sith."
When it came to conceptualizing Coruscant for the special edition version of "Return of the Jedi" in 1997 and later the prequels, George Lucas used the Empire State and the Chrysler Building in New York as two reference points. The metallic finish and curved appendages of the latter would give the capital planet its Art Deco feel.
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The Republic Executive Building —
Much of the action on Coruscant -- if we can call it that -- takes place in the Senate. The Republic Executive Building building, a beehive of spacecraft coming and going, is topped with a dome that harks back to Oscar Niemeyer's domed senate chamber in Brasilia.