The Evolution of Wayne Manor as Told by an Architect

Wayne Manor is rebooted almost as often as the Batman franchise itself. In the video below, architect and Batman fan Michael Wyetzner breaks down (almost) every live-action depiction of the stately mansion for Architectural Digest. Even if you have no idea what dormers, crenellations, and lintels are, it’s an insightful roundup that serves as a history lesson for Batman fans. Wayne Manor’s architectural evolution? Sign us up.

As you may know, Wayne Manor started out as a relatively modest home in the comics, as seen in the image below. The 1949 show gave it a similar look, using a house on the Warner Bros. backlot also seen in everything from Bewitched to Lethal Weapon. But every other depiction of Batman’s house gives off billionaire vibes rather than just upper-middle class. The first serial in 1943 depicted a mansion, as did the 1960s series with Adam West. And then Tim Burton went full Gothic palace in Batman. Interestingly, in Batman Returns, Wayne Manor is a different house. Wyetzner analyzes the fish tank version of it because the exterior shots don’t show as many details.

An image of Wayne Manor from the comics labelled with architectural terms
Architectural Digest

Wyetzner seems to approve most of Christopher Nolan’s choices for Wayne Manor. Both manors are real Elizabethan houses, pictured below. The scenes where Bruce lives in a penthouse in The Dark Knight were actually filmed in a famous downtown Chicago building’s lobby. The Batman has our hero back in a tower, but with a very different interior that looks more like a Gothic church than a penthouse. 

Two Elizabethan manors used in Christopher Nolan Batman movies as Wayne Manor
Architectural Digest

Did you know that Wayne Manor in Batman Forever and Batman & Robin (pictured below) is also in the more recent Gotham and Joker? But as some people pointed out in the video’s comments section, Wyetzner skips some of the Batfleck houses. We’d also happily watch his breakdown of the animated Wayne Manors, so here’s hoping for a part two.

An image from Batman & Robin's Wayne Manor labelled with architectural terms
Architectural Digest

This video is part of the  Architectural Details playlist, which also includes insights into Disney castles, Bridgerton, and more. The Architectural Digest YouTube channel also tours celebrity homes and expensive open listings.  

Melissa is Nerdist’s science & technology staff writer. She also moderates “science of” panels at conventions and co-hosts Star Warsologies, a podcast about science and Star Wars. Follow her on Twitter @melissatruth.

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