Visionary Prefab in the Modern Age: Deconstructing Keaton’s Films


  • Cristian Suau Welsh School of Architecture (WSA)




Modern Movement, Modern architecture, Modern housing


This essay analyses Buster Keaton’s masterpieces: One Week (1920); The Haunted House (1921) and The Electric House (1922). His filmic work reveals the montage of mass housing prefabrication in the Modern Age in the United States: repetition and mechanisation of the building production; generic layouts; and modular like–catalogue constructions. Rather than following a sequential building process, these cases are executed as mere accidents or flaws. Buster Keaton’s films however show ironically a non–standardized architecture. This study analyses and compares Keaton’s film production with Catalog Modern House, a prefab dwelling manufactured and shipped by Sears,Roebuck and Co in the 20th century.

How to Cite

Suau, C. (2011). Visionary Prefab in the Modern Age: Deconstructing Keaton’s Films. Docomomo Journal, (44), 81–85.





Documentation Issues


Author Biography

Cristian Suau, Welsh School of Architecture (WSA)

Dr. Cristian Suau holds a Ph.D. in Architecture and Master in Urban Design (ETSAB). Since mid 2007 he is a lecturer in Architecture at the Welsh School of Architecture (WSA), UK and also lead an NGO called RECICLARQ in Barcelona:


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