Posts tagged with "Architecture and Design Film Festival":

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The Architecture and Design Film Festival returns to Los Angeles this weekend

The Architecture and Design Film Festival (ADFF) has returned to Los Angeles over this last week and will continue into the weekend. In total, the film showcase will present over 30 architecture-related short-length and feature films that cover topics as diverse as the career of Frank Gehry, the works of Czech glassmakers LASVIT, and speculative student work from Liam Young and the Southern California Institute of Architecture’s M.A. in Fiction and Entertainment program. The traveling film festival will also showcase films on Bjarke Ingles, founder of BIG, and the life and career of Swiss architect Albert Frey. Saturday will see the presentation of the film The Experimental City, a film covering the storied history of the Minnesota Experimental City, a domed futuristic settlement for 250,000 people created to prevent sprawl. A screening of the film will be followed by a panel discussion. Sunday’s offerings meanwhile, will include a double-feature that includes films on Greg Murcutt and Jean Nouvel. Other presented films over the course of the festival include a feature-length movie on the life of Dutch architect Rem Koolhaas, a documentary and panel discussion on Britain’s Maggie’s Homes program, and a documentary on the work of pioneering Mexican-American architectural photographer Pedro E. Guerrero. See the ADFF website for more information.
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The Architecture & Design Film Festival previews fall lineup

The Architecture & Design Film Festival (ADFF) is returning for its ninth edition. The nation’s largest film festival dedicated to the subject of design, architecture, and urbanism is touring around the world in cities near and far with an extensive program of films, events, and panel discussions. The ninth annual festival will be passing through Seoul, South Korea (July 27-October 29), New Orleans (August 24-27), Montana (September 23-24), Chicago (September 26-27), and ending at its home base at New York City’s Cinépolis Chelsea (November 1-5). A full schedule of the 2017 program is yet to be released, but below is a sneak peek at a few feature films that will be presented, followed by the tour dates and locations of ADFF. Integral Man 2016 / 62 min / Canada – U.S. Premiere Director: Joseph Clement The film presents a close glance at the intricacies inside the home of Jim Stewart, the most published mathematician since Euclid. Noted as “one of the most important private houses built in North America,” the dwelling is located in Toronto’s Rosedale neighborhood and was designed by Shim-Sutcliffe Architects in 1999. The Integral House was a decade-long project that worked to intertwine and reflect Stewart’s two obsessions: curves and music. The completed home is filled with curved wood, expansive windows, and seductive spaces that many consider to be one of the city’s best performance spaces. Building Hope: The Maggie's Centres 2016 / 55 min / UK - US premiere Director: Sarah Howitt Can design be the secret cure to cancer? A popular cancer support organization in the U.K., Maggie’s Centres, thinks it definitely plays a role. Maggie’s Centres has a unique approach to patient care that considers the importance of design. With a major focus on constructing environments to comfort and rejuvenate patients, the organization stands out as exceptional. The documentary, Building Hope: The Maggie’s Centres, directed by Sarah Howitt, illustrates the story of Maggie’s Centres and puts on display the utter appreciation that the patients have for the healing environment that Maggie’s Centres offers.  
Below are dates and descriptions available on the ADFF website. JULY 27 - OCTOBER 29 ADFF: Seoul @ Storage Seoul, South Korea Presented by Storage, an experimental exhibition space opened by HyundaiCard, ADFF will screen three films per day over a four-month period. The gallery shows alternative works covering architecture, design, film, and contemporary art. AUGUST 24 - 27 ADFF: NOLA New Orleans, Louisiana Presented by the Louisiana Architectural Foundation (LAF), the opening night of the second annual ADFF: NOLA (August 24) will be held at the Contemporary Arts Center followed by a special screening of Designing Life: The Modernist Legacy of Albert C. Ledner at the New Orleans Museum of Art (NOMA) on Friday, August 25. All other screenings will be held at the Broad Theater. SEPTEMBER 23 - 24 ADFF: Tippet Rise Fishtail, Montana ADFF will present a curated selection of nine feature-length documentaries and three film shorts at the Tippet Rise Art Center—the 10,260-acre sculpture park and classical music center in the Montana highlands. On Saturday, September 23, Frances Anderton, host of KCRW’s DnA, will moderate a conversation with artist Stephen Talasnik, architect Débora Mesa, and Tippet Rise co-founder Peter Halstead. SEPTEMBER 26 – 27 Ace Hotel Screenings Chicago, Illinois During the Chicago Biennial, ADFF will host two rooftop screenings at the Ace Hotel. On September 26, the winner of AIA’s ‘I Look Up Film Challenge’—an initiative that encourages architects and filmmakers to collaborate and produce short film— will make its world premiere in addition to a screening of Design that Heals with Mass Design Principal Alan Ricks. OCTOBER 11 ADFF: Short Films Walk New York, NY ADFF and SoHo Design District present the 4th Annual Short Films Walk (SFW), where participating SoHo showrooms will screen a unique program of film shorts curated by ADFF. This year’s walk will be held from 5:00 - 9:00 pm with an expanded list of locations. NOVEMBER 1-5 ADFF: New York New York, NY In its ninth edition, ADFF’s annual anchor festival in New York will present a series of feature length and short films, panel discussions, filmmaker Q&A's, and more, at Cinépolis Chelsea (260 West 23rd Street, NYC). Film highlights include Columbus, Building Home: The Maggie’s Centres, Glenn Murcutt: Spirit of Place, Integral Man, and Land Artists: The Story of Denton Corker Marshall.
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Our highlights from the 8th Architecture & Design Film Festival in New York City

The 8th Architecture & Design Film Festival (ADFF) launched this week at the Cinépolis Chelsea and runs through Sunday, October 2. The opening night film was Eero Saarinen: The Architect Who Saw the Future featuring, and with cinematography by, Eero's son Eric. Other profiles depict architects such as Marcel Breuer, Gio Ponti, Peter Behrens, Nicholas Grimshaw and landscape architect Piet Oudolf and buildings such as Shigeru Ban’s Aspen Art Museum, the Glasgow School of Art, Dostoevsky's Drama Theater (Novgorod Spaceship), Neutra’s Windshield House, and Eileen Gray’s Villa E-1027. We were able to screen a sampling of ADFF films in advance. Here is a brief selection. Where Architects Live (Francesca Molteni) allows us to peek inside the homes of eight architects: Shigeru Ban, Mario Bellini, David Chipperfield, Massimiliano and Doriana Fuksas, Zaha Hadid, Marcio Kogan, Daniel Libeskind, and Studio Mu. We hear them describe their intimate spaces and we voyeuristically come inside their private world. Facing Up to Mackintosh muses on what an art school should be and how architecture can make that possible. Looking for the essence of the school and how the Charles Rennie Macintosh building encourages creativity, the principles are reinterpreted by Steven Holl in his new addition with his use of light and voids. The film goes beyond a conventional documentary by featuring interpretive, cinematic experimentations including unusual lenses, cartoons, and the clever music and sound. Pedro E. Guerrero: A Photographers Journey shows an artist who chronicled the careers of Frank Lloyd Wright (whom he met at an early age at Taliesen West and had unusual access), Alexander Calder, and Louise Nevelson. Guerrero had the ability to capture their work and essence with environmental portraiture. Bowlingtreff is the strange story of a bowling alley created under the radar in East Germany just before the collapse of the GDR. An exuberantly designed postmodern underground club by Winfried Sziegoleit, with a sensational skylight entry, the remade a 1926 public works building features 14 lanes, cafe, pool tables, and gym. It was constructed by members of the public when funds ran out. Denise Scott Brown and Paolo Portoghesi respond to the place with great delight. Sadly, today it is abandoned and up for sale. Stefan Sagmeister’s The Happy Film was reviewed by The Architect's Newspaper earlier this year. For full information on the ADFF, visit here.
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19 films revealed for the 2016 Architecture & Design Film Festival

The 8th edition of the Architecture & Design Film Festival will run from September 28 to October 2 in New York City. This year's programming will consist of 30 feature length and short films, as well as panel discussions, Q&As, and networking events. The festival will open with Eero Saarinen: The Architect Who Saw the Future, a film about the famed architect told through the eyes of his son, Eric. Also showing is The Happy Film, about graphic designer Stefan Sagmeister. A full list of highlights, taken from an Architecture & Design Film Festival press release, is below:

Eero Saarinen: The Architect Who Saw the Future (Opening Night Film) Eero Saarinen: The Architect Who Saw the Future explores the life and work of Finnish-American architectural giant Eero Saarinen. Directed by Peter Rosen, the film follows director of photography Eric Saarinen on a cathartic journey as he visits his father's visionary buildings from the St. Louis Gateway Arch to the TWA Flight Center. Shot in 6K with the latest drone technology, the film showcases Saarinen's influential body of work that stands apart from the clutter of contemporary design and continues to inspire architects today

Workplace (World Premiere) Workplace is a documentary film about the past, present, and future of the office – a place where hundreds of millions of human beings spend billions of hours every day. Directed by Gary Hustwit (the acclaimed filmmaker behind Helvetica, Objectified, and Urbanized), it follows the design and construction of the New York headquarters of R/GA, where the company and architects Foster + Partners explore the intersection of digital and physical space. It also looks at the thinking and experimentation involved in trying to create the next evolution of what the office could be.

Where Architects Live (US Premiere) Where Architects Live, directed by Francesca Molteni, is an exploration into the private spaces of eight protagonists of world architecture: Shigeru Ban, Mario Bellini, David Chipperfield, Massimiliano Fuksas, Zaha Hadid, Marcio Kogan, Daniel Libeskind and Studio Mumbai.

The Happy Film The Happy Film is a feature-length documentary in which famed graphic designer Stefan Sagmeister undergoes a series of self-experiments outlined by popular psychology to test once and for all if it’s possible for a person to have a meaningful impact on their own happiness. The film is directed by Stefan Sagmeister, Ben Nabors, and Hillman Curtis.

The Architects: A Story of Loss, Memory and Real Estate (World Premiere) This film is about the competition to rebuild the World Trade Center site after 9/11, focused on the unrealized design proposal from United Architects. Directed by Tom Jennings, it sheds light on the importance of this public competition, delicately considering the site's history, symbolism, and future. United Architects was a collaboration between Alejandro Zaera-Polo & Farshid Moussavi of Foreign Office Architects, Greg Lynn of Greg Lynn FORM, Kevin Kennon of Kevin Kennon Architects, Jesse Reiser & Nanako Umemoto of Reiser + Umemoto Architects, and Ben van Berkel of UNStudio.

An expanded list of films—which includes the highlights above, in addition to others such as Facing up to Mackintosh and Amare Gio Ponti—is up on the festival's website. This year's festival will be hosted by the Cinépolis Chelsea at 260 W 23rd St. Stay tuned for updates as opening night gets closer and more films are revealed.
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Surveying the 2015 Architecture & Design Film Festival, going on now in New York City

Strange-and-Familiar-009-(HR)-copy Architecture & Design Film Festival New York Through October 18, 2015 It's that time of year again. The Architecture & Design Film Festival is back with a roundup of films on architecture, design, and the built environment. It's a great way of taking the pulse of what's going on here and abroad, and how work is being represented to a wider public. https://vimeo.com/117273601 The films fall into two genres—by architect or designer, and by building. In the former, there is Concrete Love (read AN's review here), a beautifully made film by Maurizius Staerkle Drux about three generations of Böhm family architects, including Gottfried, the only German to win the Pritzker Prize. Ove Arup: The Philosopher Engineer, Henning Larsen—Light and Space, SlingShot about Dean Kamen, David Adjaye - Collaborations, and Talking to My Father on Irish modernist Robin Walker. https://youtu.be/hq-1BIaFjGc Talking to My Father is part of a subgenre of films made by the children of architects including Nathaniel Kahn's My Architect: A Son's Journey (2003) in searching of his father, Louis Kahn and My Father the Genius (2002) about Lucia Small's father, Glen. Whereas these two children were estranged, Simon Walker was close to his father and became an architect himself. He is now burnishing his father's legacy, recalling his apprenticeships with Corbusier and Mies, and trying to save his buildings. In SlingShot, Kamen is presented as more than just the man behind the Segway; he is an inventive spirit and problem-solver who is devoted to cracking big problems like clean water, and health issues—things we are running out of time to resolve. https://vimeo.com/61684753 The building-based films include Under the Skin of Design about the making of Ravensbourne (formerly the College of Design and Communication in London), the last building by Foreign Office Architects, Strange & Familiar: Architecture on Fogo Island, where architecture by Todd Saunders shapes a program by the homegrown Shorefast Foundation to enliven this remote Newfoundland Island whose economy had nose-dived, Modern Ruin: A World’s Fair Pavilion about the 1964 NY State Pavilion by Philip Johnson at the NY World's Fair (reviewed by AN here). https://youtu.be/MAPEioSNvDc The Infinite Happiness explores Bjarke Ingels' 8 House "vertical village" outside of Copenhagen. The film, which opened the festival, will give viewers a preview of VIA 57 WEST, the pyramid-shaped apartment building under construction on the far west side. Vignettes of mowing lawns, riding a unicycle, a children's treasure hunt, and a mailman offer glimpses of this self-contained world. An 8 House penthouse resident, Boris, who is originally from Bosnia, directly addresses Ingels: "Hello Bjarke. I think that... You are a madman. And that's with love. That's with affection. I think you created something of quality, something beautiful, something extraordinary... Is it living experiment? Is it social experiment? Is it just a product of the mad mind, extraordinary mind, a genius mind... I don't know what it is, but I feel privileged that I get a possibility to live (in) a place you built...Bjarke... I would like to borrow your brain, just a little."
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On View> Architecture & Design Film Festival lights up New York

Architecture & Design Film Festival Tribeca Cinemas 54 Varick Street, New York 212.941.2001 It’s that time of year again, when the Architecture & Design Film Festival brings a bouquet of moving image portraits about the built environment and the creators behind them to New York. From October 5–19 at Tribeca Cinemas, you can catch the U.S. premiere of the much-anticipated series masterminded by Wim Wenders, Cathedrals of Culture. Made by six directors—Wenders, Robert Redford, Michael Glawogger, Michael Madsen, Margreth Olin and Karim Aïnouz—about six buildings: Berlin Philharmonic, the National Library of Russia, Halden Prison, the Salk Institute, the Oslo Opera House, and the Centre Pompidou, all in 3-D. There are also a range of profile films on Zaha Hadid, Michael Graves, Dior, Michele De Lucchi, Eileen Grey, and five women architects: Annabelle Selldorf, Farshid Moussavi, Odile Decq, Marianne McKenna, and Kathryn Gustafson. A full range of panel discussion accompany the films. Follow up last weekend’s Open House New York with next weekend’s armchair tour of architecture from around the world brought to you in film. More info on the film line-up here.
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Look Out, Los Angeles: The Architecture & Design Film Festival Is Headed Your Way

This March, Angelenos will get front-row seats to the nation’s largest art, architecture, and urbanism–oriented film festival. Founded in 2009 in New York, the Architecture & Design Film Festival (ADFF) is coming to the West Coast for the first time March 12–16. The ADFF’s program includes 30 feature-length and short films, plus panel discussions, Q&A sessions with directors and subjects, special receptions, and a Hennessey + Ingalls pop-up bookshop. ADFF kicks off with a screening of If You Build It, a film by Patrick Creadon, directory of Wordplay and I.O.U.S.A. The feature-length documentary follows designer-activists Emily Pilloton and Matt Miller through a year of work with high school students in rural North Carolina. Also screening on opening night is 16 Acres, on a decade of rebuilding Ground Zero, and Design is One: Massimo & Lella Vignelli, on the work of the husband-and-wife graphic design team. Films scheduled for the following four days range from biopics on designers including Paul Smith, Tadao Ando, and Paolo Soleri, to a short film on farming in Brooklyn, to the The Human Scale, a Danish feature film on Jan Gehl’s urbanism. The world premiere of TELOS: The Fantastic World of Eugene Tssui will take place on the second night of the festival. Three California-centric films are on the ADFF menu. The Oyler House: Richard Neutra’s Desert Retreat looks at the relationship between Neutra and his working-class client. Chavez Ravine: A Los Angeles Story, chronicles the community's destruction. Coast Modern is a video tour of modern houses from Los Angeles to Vancouver. And Levitated Mass tells the story of the 340-ton boulder’s journey from a Riverside quarry to its permanent home at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. ADFF is curated by Kyle Bergman and Laura Cardello. All events will be held at the Los Angeles Theatre Centre. For more information on ADFF, including a list of speakers (TBD), visit the festival website.

Sunday> Special Screening of “The Human Scale” Announced

This Sunday the Tribeca Grand Hotel will be hosting a screening of Andreas Dalsgaard's documentary, The Human Scale.  Sponsored by the Tribeca Trust, the film will be followed by commentary from architectural critic and author Michael Sorkin. The movie examines human happiness within the context of urban life and was screened in New York last year as part of the Architecture and Design Film Festival.  Tickets for the event can be purchased here with all proceeds benefiting Tribeca Trust's public space initiative.  
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Susan Morris Picks the Winners at the 2013 Architecture & Design Film Festival

2013 Architecture & Design Film Festival Tribeca Cinemas 54 Varick Street New York 212 941-2001 “Erecting a building is like making a movie….both processes involve blending light and movement into space and time. A model is like a script: at best it’s a promise and at worst it’s a safeguard. And, as with a script, a moment comes when you have to test your model against reality. You must start shooting the film, start erecting the building." —The Interior Passage We can see these starts when the two art forms come together in the 4th annual Architecture & Design Film Festival at the Tribeca Cinemas where 25 films will be screened through October 20. This year, the trend is toward process films that chronicle movements and initiatives (planning, education, preservation), portraits of buildings more than individuals, and Modernism referenced even when it’s not the direct subject. The festival kicks off with The Human Scale (which also opens at the IFC Center on October 18). The film asks, “What is the scale for measuring happiness in a city?” and uses Danish architect and urban design theorist Jahn Gehl’s work concentrating on the pedestrian and cyclist to pose answers. Referencing Corbusier, Gehl said, “If anybody at any time wanted to pay professionals to make a city planning idea which would kill city life It could not have been done better than what the Modernists did.” The film focuses on Copenhagen, New York, Dhaka (the fastest-growing city in the world with 1,000 new residents per day), Christchurch, NZ, Melbourne, and Chonqing, China. “You Measure What You Care About” shows how data sets of people’s behavior led to pedestrianizing central Copenhagen. Similarly, Jeanette Sadik-Khan, NYC Commissioner of Transportation, looked at how 90 percent of Times Square real estate was allotted to cars, which only accounted for ten percent of use. This statistic was flipped to give over 90 percent to people in plazas, bike lanes, and Bikeshare stations. Another side of the Bloomberg administration’s legacy can be seen in My Brooklyn, which could almost be an ad for Bill deBlasio’s “Tale of Two Cities” New York. Examining gentrification vs. diversification, the film zones in on downtown Brooklyn and the redevelopment of the Fulton Street Mall which was the third-most-profitable shopping area in the five boroughs (behind Fifth and Madison avenues). With rezoning, this vibrant retail area that catered to African-American and Caribbean populations, has been transformed into a luxury, high-rise residential area despite the promises of local developers. The real estate feeding frenzy and deal making is examined in the vein of another recent film, Gut Renovation, also from the personal point of view of a displaced white female Brooklyn resident. Frustration with the corporate world and abundant idealism led two architects, Emily Pilloton and Matt Miller, to start Studio H: a design/build high school curriculum with the mantra “Design, Build, Transform” heard in If You Build It. Their approach is a practicum in design thinking, and they were invited to teach a class in rural North Carolina by a forward-thinking superintendent who was soon dismissed. (They agreed to stay on without salary.) The students learn basic tools to visualize their ideas—drawing, model-making—which were turned into inventive, practical projects like chicken coops and a farmer’s market structure for their economically depressed town. A formative influence was Miller's Cranbrook thesis project, a house he constructed in Detroit that would be deeded to a family contingent on their payment of utilities for two years but went unmet and was abandoned. He concluded that the end user has to have a stake in the process. Optimism was also a motivator of the “pilgrims and émigrés” of Cape Cod in Built On Narrow Land. This spit of land at the tip of the peninsula between the Atlantic Ocean and Cape Cod Bay became a haven for freethinkers, artists, and the modernist architects who gave a physical form to their lifestyle. The Bohemian Brahmans who owned large swaths of land that enabled this development was embodied by Jack Phillips (of the Phillips Exeter Academy family), an amateur architect who briefly studied with Walter Gropius and Marcel Breuer at Harvard, and became the Pied Piper for mid-century modernism here. His instructors followed him, as did Serge Chermayeff (father of Ivan and Peter), Georgy Kepes, Paul Weidlinger, Charlie Zehnder, and other modernists and Bauhaus alumni that taught in Boston at MIT and Harvard. Gropius’s daughter Ati, and Ruth Hatch who commissioned the stunning Jack Hall–designed Hatch House are among the witnesses who lead us through this summertime oasis amidst the more conventional New England Cape Cod gabled cottages. Modernist architecture in Moscow, which was borne from a similar forward-thinking spirit that embodied the Russian Revolution, has a more problematic fate today. The title of the film, Away from All Suns!, is taken from Nietzsche who wrote: “The advent of modernity had swept away all foundations. Modernity is liberation and total destruction...What were we doing when we unchained this earth from its sun? Where is it moving?... Away from all suns?” This unmooring is threatened by commercialism, illegal destruction, and new building as we are shown life behind the walls of three buildings: Ogoniok Printing Plant and Zhurgaz Apartment House (1930-35), the only surviving El Lissitzky building currently under threat; Communal Student House of the Textile Institute (1929) by I.S. Nikolaev, built to house 2,000 students and now under “restoration”; and Narkomfin Communal Apartment House (1928-30) by Moisei Ginzburg and Ignaty Milinus, considered the model for Corbusier’s Unité d'Habitation and currently on UNESCO and World Monuments Fund watch lists, is now a ruin occupied by guerrilla artists before it is turned into a hotel. We also get a brief glimpse of Tatlin’s Tower being paraded through the streets. Modernism is more cherished in a few building portraits: The Oyler House: Richard Neutra’s Desert Retreat, is a much-loved house in Lone Pine, California between Death Valley and Sequoia National Park. Commissioned by the unassuming Richard Oyler, who boldly wrote to the famous architect, charming Neutra and causing him to fall in love with the site. Neutra created an un-ornamented, post-and-beam structure with expansive glass that fit organically into the site (they even dug a swimming pool out of giant rocks in a mini-quarry). The realtor, Crosby Doe, who specializes in mid-century modern houses, said the experience of seeing the Oyler House for the first time was on par with Macchu Picchu. The house is now owned by actress Kelly Lynch and screenwriter Mitch Glazer (she is interviewed), who also own John Lautner’s Harvey House in Los Angeles. Another adored building is Fagus—Walter Gropius and the Factory for Modernity. Built in 1911 in a small town near Hannover, it was the architect’s first major building that he chronicled extensively in photographs. Light, elegant, and beautifully proportioned, it is still used as a factory for making shoe laces, run by the original commissioning family. A palace for work, Bauhaus archivist Annemarie Jaeggi said it “defies gravity.” The Interior Passage portrays a more contemporary building, Sanaa’s Rolex Learning Center at the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, the prestigious institute of technology. It follows the selection process from 12 invited firms including OMA, Zaha Hadid, and Diller Scofidio + Renfro through the difficult engineering tasks solved by bridge builders to make this low-slung, flowing building stand up (the large central shell was cast in one pour over two days and nights, a mammoth logistical feat involving 20 simultaneous mixing trucks). A fascinating mingling of Swiss precision and Japanese minimalism, this film doggedly stays with the process until students fill the single expansive, unbroken fluid space of undulating floors and ceilings punctuated by glass-walled and domed bubbles. It takes the library as a building type one step beyond OMA’s Seattle Public Library. Perhaps the person who is able to best put architecture into a wider context is the Pritzker Prize winner in Tadao Ando—From Emptiness to Infinity. He thinks “we have to intensively deal with the present,” and encourages a young employee to communicate more with people, rather than just his computer because “this impacts on architecture and our society. Because communication, life, and architecture belong together.”
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Lineup Announced For NYC’s Architecture & Design Film Festival

From October 16th through the 20th, Tribeca Cinemas will serve host to the Architecture & Design Film Festival, the country’s leading film festival for the architecture and design community. The festival will offer 25 film screenings, ranging in length from two to 95 minutes, each offering 15 distinct programs, in addition to panel discussions and book signings with internationally renowned designers and filmmakers. See the full schedule here and check out the full list of films with selected trailers below. Tickets go on sale October 1. Full list of films:
  • ABC of Architects
  • The Absent Column
  • Archiculture
  • Away From All Suns!
  • The Barragán House. A Universal Value
  • Bending Sticks: The Sculpture of Patrick Dougherty
  • Building Is People
  • Built on Narrow Land
  • Fagus – Walter Gropius and the factory for modernity
  • Grow Dat Youth Farm
  • Helsinki Music Centre – Prelude
  • The Human Scale
  • If You Build It
  • The Interior Passage
  • The Latin Skyscraper
  • My Brooklyn
  • Not Shown for Clarity
  • The Oyler House: Richard Neutra's Desert Retreat
  • Paul Smith, Gentleman Designer
  • Sagrada – The Mystery Of Creation
  • Skyscape
  • Social Life of Small Urban Spaces
  • Subject, Theory, Practice: An Architecture of Creative Engagement
  • Tadao Ando - From Emptiness to Infinity
  • The Vision of Paolo Soleri: Prophet in the Desert
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Zaha the Lioness

It felt a bit like the Decoration & Design Building at the Architecture and Design Film Festival last night for the U.S. premiere of Lioness Among Lions: The Architect Zaha Hadid, thanks in part to a smattering of East Side stylings in the crowd at the Tribeca Cinemas and the clever addition of Potterton Books to the festival. Waiting for the theater doors to open, we swigged wine provided by event sponsor Resource Furniture and perused shelves filled with a fantastic collection  of both old and new books; Loos and Gio Ponti pressed up against Studio Gang. As we raved about Van Alen's new bookstore, Potterton's book buyer Beth Daugherty admitted she still mourns the loss of Urban Center Books. Once inside the theater, a sexy little short by photographer Dave Burk cast Studio Gang's new Columbia College Media Production Center in Chicago in soft light and perfectly realized cross-fades. And so it was a bit of disappointment to see the feature film's production values were slightly less than the opener. But the problem with Lioness, which was released in Germany last year, isn't entirely the production. The buildings are handsomely handled by director Horst Brandenburg, though they're not choreographed in a manner that makes one truly feel the flow. No, the main problem is in the fawning tenor of a voiceover that sounds like it's intended for the "Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous." The oversimplified narration will make architecture fans understand what historians must feel watching the History Channel. The saving grace, not surprisingly, is when Hadid weighs in. Only then does the film delve slightly into the technology and offer any deep analysis. But here the editing keeps the focus on the fabulous: Here's Zaha fanning herself in Spain with a Spanish fan; here she is in Hong Kong at a Chanel opening wearing Prada, there she is in ripped jeans... you get the picture. Of course, it's understood that the film is for a general audience, but general audiences dig details, too. Throw in a foundry, a glass manufacturer, and a computer program for good measure. Explain how the buildings work in layman's terms. Only then will the audience understand why she's fabulous.