Stuart Craig on creating the epic Hogwarts set destruction

Stuart Craig – the master of set design and architecture for the entire Harry Potter film franchise – was featured in a new article in which he describes the ambitious demands of the Hogwarts exterior after an apocalyptic battle.

From Stuart Craig:

“My work required the same drawings, but instead of giving my design to the carpenters, I gave them to the VFX team instead.”

From the article:

    1. This shot, from the end of the epic battle, shows Harry, Hermione and Ron on their way to destroy Voldemort’s wand.
    2. Craig’s most recent credit: Having a hand in the design of Universal Studios Florida’s The Wizarding World of Harry Potter.
  • “This causeway leads you to the front door of the big hall. The set is made of plywood, and the castle in the back is digital. The bridge is a classic Norman architecture. In the Potter films there was never a distinguished architecture. We always had a fun eclectic mix of styles since Hogwarts has been around for 1,000 years. Near the Loch Shiel location where Potter is filmed in Scotland, there’s a viaduct which this bridge is modeled after. The viaduct is made of concrete whereas this bridge is made to look like it’s made of granite,” Craig explains.
  • “Statues are medieval suits of armor. They were first seen in the entrance of the great hall in Deathly Hallows Part 1. They’re made of Styrofoam with a hard texture on top.”
  • “The lampposts are made of woks which we bought from a hardware store. They look vaguely Roman and art deco which shows the architectural history we pulled from in designing Hogwarts.”
  • Dumbledore’s Office.
  • “Hogwarts is largely a gothic castle. During the early films we shot on location at the Durham Cathedral, Gloucester Cathedral and a bit of Oxford University. Cathedrals are far richer in detail architecture-wise than castles. Durham from the Norman 11th-12th century period. Gloucester is Gothic, 16th century. The castle is made of the rock on which it stands. The rock of the mountain is the rock of the castle. The castle is an extension of the earth.”
  • The astronomy tower where Dumbledore met his fate.
  • “The color palette used throughout the films has been restrained. When the kids were younger and the world was more optimistic, the stones in Hogwarts had a warm honey color tone. However as the movies got darker, we literally darkened the walls of Hogwarts.”

Stuart Craig and his design team are up for an Oscar for Art Direction this coming Sunday. Will Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2 Design team win? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

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