Designing Hogwarts

By Erica Barry

This summer, I had the amazing opportunity to study abroad in London. While there, I went on the Harry Potter Warner Bros. Studio Tour. The tour took us through actual movie sets of the Great Hall, Diagon Alley, Hogwarts Express and more. We got to try Butterbeer, ride the Night Bus, and work on our wand skills. The most amazing part was seeing how Hogwarts came to be, from concept to construction. There was a whole section of the tour dedicated to the beginning inspiration and design of Hogwarts. Along the walls were sketches and blueprints of the school and of little architectural details. There were detailed sketches of the bridge, the Gothic style arches, and gargoyles.

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After we saw all of the sketches, we saw a small-scale model of Hogwarts made from chipboard and wood. It was incredibly detailed, and had to be because the directors used this model to figure out lighting and camera angles. My friend and I marveled at it, because we knew just how much time and effort went into constructing it, having gone through multiple design classes. While other people wondered how someone could make something so magnificent and precise, we knew, and were able to appreciate it that much more. This backstage tour amplified the magic of the world of Hogwarts, and now I get to watch the Harry Potter movies from a new, design lens.



  1. As a Harry Potter fan as well as a design student, I found this blog post to be fascinating. I loved to read about all that goes on behind the camera. One thing is for sure, taking design classes really allows you to truly appreciate the time and effort that went into the planning, construction and design of the set. Great read for D&M students who have a place in their heart for the Harry Potter films.

  2. I can relate to the time and handwork it takes designing projects. I’m currently in Design I and every week we have a project. Each project takes a number of hours to finish. In the end, all it matters is that your willing to do the work and understand what it is to make a strong piece of artwork.

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