"The whole building is a huge super-conductive antenna that was designed and built expressly for the purpose of pulling in and concentrating spiritual turbulence. Your girlfriend lives in the corner penthouse of Spook Central."Why even bother with a City of Adventure? Sometimes, all it takes is one building to provide all the wackiness the plot requires. Besides, that way, you don't need to do any location shooting. The Building of Adventure is frequently in the Middle-of-Nowhere Street. May be a setting in a Cozy Catastrophe. Frequently, as in many examples below, the building will be a complex, arcology, or large structure. This still eliminates the need for location shooting and can result in very strange overuse of familiar props and scenery. Sometimes, especially when played for laughs, sections of a Building of Adventure will look nothing like other sections. However, at its most pure, this trope refers to a small, familiar set as the entire world of the story, a device often used in theatre.
— Egon, Ghostbusters (1984)
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Anime and Manga
- Hunter × Hunter had the Heavens Arena: a 210-story tower full of battle arenas, as well as malls and luxury hotels.
- Hinata Inn, of Love Hina, was a sort of these. Tunnels, ancient underground civilizations of turtles, workshops, old rooms with creepy automata, whatever the plot called for.
- Like Hogwarts, Duel Academy in Yu-Gi-Oh! GX is a school cut off from the rest of the world. In chronological order, 3 demons were sealed away, a maniac with a Kill Sat tried to brainwash everyone, and the island was sent to an alternate dimension.
- Despite being animated, most of Rozen Maiden takes place within the confines of Jun's house, unless you count its Phantom Zone.
- The anime Android Announcer Maico 2010 has everything take place inside a radio station. (This is not true in the manga Maico 2010 on which it was based.)
- The vast majority of Bleach's Hueco Mundo arc takes place in one massive building called Las Noches. Despite atomic sized explosions such as those caused by Ichigo's Hollow and Ulquiorra's Segunda Espada form, barely any of the structure is even scathed.
- Seitokai no Ichizon takes place almost entirely in the Student Council room. It's rare to even see the hallways or the school itself.
- In Batman, Wayne Manor, Arkham Asylum, and the Batcave all act as centerpieces for many stories.
- The Fantastic Four had the Baxter Building and Four Freedoms Plaza as the center of their series.
- The same can be said for the Avengers' mansion and Stark tower.
- Doctor Strange's mansion also acts as this and is an example of Genius Loci since it's at least somewhat alive.
- The 1970's DC horror series, The House of Mysteries.
- Enforced in Seconds. Almost all of the important action happens inside the titular restaurant, due to the mushrooms only working inside its walls.
- Clamp Centre in Gremlins 2: The New Batch is some kind of souped-up, all-purpose commercial district. Even the relative size of the building changes from scene to scene. (Check out the clouds outside of Daniel Clamp's office.)
MikeJ: So, they do architecture, food, TV broadcasting; of course the Clamp Building is home to a genetics lab (which looks shockingly like a children's daycare)!
- Rear Window takes place entirely within one tenement building, with all the action either taking place in, or being observed from, a single apartment. Rope likewise is filmed in real time in one apartment, and Lifeboat takes place in a lifeboat. All Hitchcock films.
- Except for the Flashback to Paris and the climactic scenes in the airport, nearly all of the action in Casablanca takes place in Rick's Cafe Americain.
- Logan's Run is implied to take place After the End. All of mankind lives in giant domes full to bursting with all that one could want, all set to synthesizer music. But there's darkness in paradise...
- The house of Panic Room.
- 12 Angry Men: Except for the opening and closing scenes in the courtroom itself, never leaves the jury room.
- Reservoir Dogs mostly takes place inside the warehouse.
- Most of Die Hard is set in or around a high rise office building in downtown L.A.
- There are only two rooms in The Room and the roof.
- Russian Ark, a two hour film completely inside the Russian State Hermitage Museum. In real time with a vengance, as the film was made in one, uncut, shot. "2000 Actors. 300 years of Russian History. 33 Rooms at the Hermitage Museum. 3 Live Orchestras. 1 Single Continuous Shot."
- Considering that the Hermitage is part of the Winter Palace, it would probably qualify as a Crowning Building of Awesome, if there were such an entry.
- Raise the Red Lantern takes place entirely within one Chinese estate, but still gets an entry in Scenery Porn. Not a bad accomplishment by Zhang Yimou, to say the least. Despite the obvious differences in the works, comparisons to Gormenghast seem interestingly appropriate at times.
- The Man from Earth takes place in one room, and a few short scenes in front of the house.
- Crimson Tide takes place almost entirely inside a single nuclear submarine.
- The House of Yes: Takes place within the confines of the titular house.
- Dredd: The main action of the film happens almost entirely within one very large building.
- Harry Potter: Hogwarts and its grounds in the book series, though the books had a few scenes in other places — Knockturn Alley, Gringotts, or the nearby Muggle-free town, Hogsmeade.
- Also the Ministry of Magic, which provides the setting for a great battle (the battle of the Department of Mysteries) and later an important infiltration attempt by Harry, Ron and Hermione.
- Gormenghast: Gormenghast Castle, from Mervyn Peake's Titus Groan novels, blurs the line between a city and a single building.
- John DeChancie's Castle Perilous series — subverted in that inside the castle are 144,000 universes.
- The House in Garth Nix's Keys to the Kingdom series.
- Otherland: One of the virtual realities visited by the characters in the cycle takes the form of a single huge building, in which people live and die without ever going outside.
- Evenmore in James Stoddard's The High House.
- Set up and subverted in Northanger Abbey. Catherine is sure that the titular building is going to be ominous and full of mystery since an ancient abbey is right out of the Gothic romances she so enjoys. She is, consequently, disappointed when it ends up being a well-lit, comfortably furnished building with every modern convenience.
Live Action TV
- The titular Fawlty Towers.
- Saved by the Bell Bayside High from Saved by the Bell seems to contain the entire universe. A few of the kids' bedrooms were occasionally shown (always using the same redecorated set). The exception is the Max, where they often hang out after school.
- The store in Today's Special.
- Initially, the bar in Cheers (probably for economic reasons). After a couple of seasons, scenes outside the bar became a regular occurrence.
- Star Trek: Deep Space Nine tried to do this in its early seasons, but branched out to the rest of the galaxy when the titular station couldn't seem to provide quite enough intrigue.
- Babylon 5 didn't limit itself solely to the eponymous station, but many of the episodes were set entirely on it, in various sections.
- Red Dwarf for much of its run. Indeed, in the first series, they did not leave the ship once. Of course, like the above two examples, the titular ship is the size of a small city anyway (6 miles long, 5 miles high, 4 miles wide — that adds up to a lot of interior space), although the lack of population makes that largely moot.
- Woops!: The farmhouse in Fox's 1992 After the End sitcom was more or less the center of the world. It had to be: it was the only thing left for miles around.
- The earliest shows went a step even farther: drawing from stage traditions (and often in front of a live audience), they could have all the wackiness necessary to facilitate the series take place in a single room, such as Ralph and Alice's apartment in The Honeymooners.
- In ER, most of the action happens within the Chicago County General Hospital.
- Barney Miller's police station. Nearly all the stories are Bottle Episodes in the dilapidated precinct, which sees hostage crises, fire, suicide attempts, Jesus (Jesus), and guys that look like Jesus.
- The 4077 base in M*A*S*H. The show mostly takes place at the base, though it was, after all, mobile.
- The courthouse in Night Court.
- The radio station in NewsRadio.
- The bus station in The John Larroquette Show.
- General Hospital: The titular hospital was originally an example of this trope, in fact in its first few years almost all of the action was set entirely on the seventh floor. Eventually as money became available, character's apartments and homes were shown and the hospital was eventually shown less and less until the title of the show become somewhat of a misnomer, although the hospital set has been used a lot more lately. In essence, the show evolved from this trope to City of Adventure, since even now most of the action remains in Port Charles.
- Are You Being Served? very rarely left Grace Brothers Department Store.
- The Vecindad in El Chavo del ocho.
- The New Monkees rarely left the mansion they lived in.
- All in the Family: 704 Houser, the only location to get its own spin-off show.
- The Royle Family, right up until "The Queen of Sheba", was set entirely in the Royles' house, and mostly in the living room.
- The tragicomic Roger And Val Have Just Got In takes place entirely in Roger and Val's house and garage.
- JAG Headquarters in Falls Church, Virginia has had its fair share of hostage situations, impostors, screaming births and courtroom antics (including assault of counsel and an automatic weapon fired in the courtroom).
- Superstore takes place almost entirely inside the Cloud 9 store and its parking lot.
- The Addams Family takes place entirely in the family mansion and surrounding grounds.
- Zen Studios' The Avengers pinball is set on the SHIELD Helicarrier.
- In The Twilight Zone pinball, everything is technically taking place inside a Curio Shop. At least until the player assembles the door panels and enters The Zone...
- Sharkey's Shootout takes place entirely in Sharkey's exclusive pool hall.
- Most of the events in WHO dunnit take place at Tony's Palace, a hotel and casino.
- Whit's End, in Adventures in Odyssey.
- Many plays of the Ancient Greek theatre, most notably Sophocles' Oedipus cycle. Although it is more correct to say that most Greek plays were set in front of one building, rather than inside one. The convention in the Athenian theatre was that all the action takes place outside, in the open air, because Greek theatres were open-air places themselves, and public business in Greece was traditionally conducted outside. The stage doors in the skene building generally represented the doors to a palace or townhouse (or occasionally a cave), while the left and right hand passageways at the sides traditionally represented the routes down into the city and out into the countryside respectively.
- The Foreigner takes place entirely in Betty Meek's lodge.
- Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? has all of its action in George and Martha's residence.
- Wait Until Dark is set in the Hendrix apartment.
- Technically, Man of La Mancha is always set only in the dungeon, due to the Show Within a Show element.
- Brighton Beach Memoirs and Broadway Bound, the first and third installments of Neil Simon's Eugene trilogy, both take place in the Jerome household.
- August: Osage County, which is set in a three-story house, built entirely on-stage.
- You Can't Take It with You: The Vanderhof household definitely fits here.
- Several David Mamet plays, most notably American Buffalo, November, and Boston Marriage.
- William Inge's Bus Stop is set entirely at... a bus stop.
- Hamlet would be the only Shakespeare play set in one location (the grounds of Elsinore), if not for the brief Act IV, Scene iv. An argument could be made about the graveyard in Act V, Scene i as well. (The Kronborg castle at Elsinore doesn't have a graveyard on its grounds.)
- Anything from the French 17th century. Their theater theory emphasized unity of place; ie the whole play was supposed to take place in a single building, and usually in a single room.
- Variation in A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, where the action takes place on the street outside of some houses in Rome, none of which are fleshed out beyond what is required for the joke or to fit the front facade.
- Technically, Dungeon Crawling games only take place in a single building: the dungeon itself. See the next two examples below.
- The Diablo series tends to have these. The original had all its action take place in the Tristram Cathedral and its various basements. Diablo 2 had the Rogue's Monastery.
- Most of Persona 3 takes place in Gekkoukan High School/Tartarus. Pretty much all of The Answer in Persona 3 FES takes place in the SEES dorm.
- Many Hub Levels are Buildings of Adventure. Such as Princess Peach and Count Dracula's castles.
- Silent Hill 4 is a Building of Adventure — Henry's apartment — with portals to other worlds.
- With their shifting floor plans, obstacles requiring multi-level detours, and doors that involve elaborate puzzles and bizarre objects to unlock, any large building encountered in any Silent Hill game counts. And that's before you even factor in the monster inhabitants.
- The 7th Guest
- BioShock: While Rapture is seen to be an entire Underwater City, the whole of the game seems to take place in one of its towers.
- Canvas 2 takes place almost entirely either in Nadesico or Hiroki's home.
- Resident Evil
- Resident Evil 0: The Spencer Mansion in Resident Evil and Marcus' Training facility.
- Resident Evil 2: The majority of the game takes place in the Raccoon City Police Department. You do eventually leave it, but not until fairly late in the game. And even then, the other location, an underground laboratory, is accessed from a secret tunnel in said police station.
- The Addams Family mansion in the SNES platforming video games.
- The eponymous mansion in Luigi's Mansion.
- Dr. Edison's manor in Maniac Mansion and Day of the Tentacle.
- The Roivas family estate in Eternal Darkness: Sanity's Requiem.
- Dracula's Castle in the Castlevania series. It helps that the castle itself is a Reality Warper.
- Jasper's adventures begin the moment he sets foot within the gates of Puzzle Clubhouse. It helps that the Clubhouse contains an endless variety of Portal Doors.
- The Tower of Druaga's eponymous 60-floor tower.
- The entirety of Spider-Man: Edge of Time takes place in the Alchemax building.
- Ys Origin: Excluding an intro sequence with no combat, the entire game occurs in Darm Tower. The interior is very spacious, with the tower likely having a diameter of a couple thousand feet.
- Saga a.k.a. Final Fantasy Legend takes place in a tower, though due to some reality-bending similar to Bigger on the Inside four of the levels are worlds in and of themself. It makes sense once you learn that the tower's creator is the world's god.
- Final Fantasy X2: Last Mission: This roguelike spinoff of Final Fantasy X-2 entirely takes place inside a single large challenge tower, guarded by an old man who ensures nothing from the previous game comes with you.
- Gunnerkrigg Court: Almost none of the action in has taken place outside of the titular school/industrial complex, with the exception of some brief foray into Gillitie Forest (which lies just outside the Court) and flashbacks to the Good Hope hospital. The comic still manages this successfully in spite of the fact that the titular Court is a lot like a small city (with housing complexes, commodities like hairdressers, and a full mass-transit system) due to the fact that the vast majority of the Court is disturbingly empty (even considering the robots).
- The Mansion of E: Ninety percent of the action takes place in, around or under the titular structure.
- Buildingverse got its name because of this trope. When Roommates began it was set in a single apartment building (#42). But as the series progressed and the 'verse grow there were more and more things added to the town (First an Extranormal Institute (St. Jude University) then restaurants (Sakura Sushi, Convenient Café) etc.), and story lines even outside of that from Oz to Paris. So currently we have a subversion.
- Grave Academy's... Grave Academy is this on steroids.
- There's a small shared story-verse called "Xanadu", which is about a fair-sized costume convention called Xanadu, in which costumes became real, and those wearing them changed. Largely these stories take place in and around the convention center and the hotel, and certain areas - the central judging room, the big atrium, hallways — recur in different stories. Though a fair number of stories involve characters escaping into the rest of the world, but almost all of them start at Xanadu. Those that don't, reference it instead.