The 56th New York Film Festival, running from September 28–October 14, features several films where architecture plays a starring role. The architecture cameos are numerous. Orson Welles’s until-now-unfinished film The Other Side of the Wind features a hillside mansion in Carefree, Arizona, that is down the street from the Paolo Soleri–designed house used in Antonioni’s Zabriskie Point (1970). The laboratory in Diamantino uses multiple locations: the 2011 Alcantara Wastewater Treatment Plant in Lisbon by Aires Mateus, Frederico Valsassina, and João Nunes, the 1926 Lisbon Greenhouse by Raul Carapinha, and the 18th-century Palacio do Correio Mor designed António Canevari. The 2007 Museum of Civilisations from Europe and the Mediterranean by Rudy Ricciotti appears in Transit. The commissioning of Blenheim Palace by Queen Anne for Sarah Churchill is a plot point in The Favourite. A lonely one-story bank building on the open prairie features in an episode of the Coen Brothers’ The Ballad of Buster Scruggs. One character burns down and another monitors greenhouses in Burning. Octogenarian Manfred Kirchheimer’s latest film, Dream of a City, is culled from lush footage taken over 60 years in New York, his adopted hometown after fleeing Nazi Germany. Among his other films are Stations of the Elevated, Bridge High, and Tall: The American Skyscraper and Louis Sullivan. In one sequence from Dream, structures are seen in abstract compositions, like a Franz Kline painting. Streetlife scenes feature kids on stoops, old ladies in windows, housewives on fire escapes, the digging up of sidewalks to plant trees, and the wheeling of a bass violin on a crowded street, accompanied by clever music choices. Sinatra’s It Had to be You plays against a building where every window sports the letter “U.” Gropius Memory Palace by Ben Thorp Brown uses the architect's 1911 Fagus Factory as an exploration of psychoanalytic space and means of recollection. Shot in the Gropius building and using contemporary photographs by Albert Renger-Patzsch featuring the building's glass curtain wall and yellow brick structure, the film explores the building through exercises including breathing and words from a hypnotherapist. In From Its Mouth Came a River of High-End Residential Appliances viewers experience a drone's-eye view flying through super-skyscraper apartment buildings in Hong Kong that have cutouts in their centers for mythological dragons to pass through that have been formulated by feng shui practitioners. Every time the camera clears an aperture, a bell rings. Musical instrument maker Rick Kelly, the proprietor of Carmine Street Guitars, uses wood salvaged, purchased, or dumpster-dived from New York City buildings. His preferred materials give a particular resonance to the guitars. McSorley’s Old Ale House, Chumley’s speakeasy at 86 Bedford Street, Trinity Church, and the Serbian Orthodox Cathedral are just some of the sources, which are labeled and often engraved on the guitars. Kelly says it’s using the “bones of old New York” while Lenny Kaye, Patti Smith’s guitarist, says strumming these instruments is “like playing a piece of New York.” As guitarists like Bill Frisell, Marc Ribot, Nels Cline (Wilco), Kirk Douglas (The Roots), Christine Bougie (Bahamas), Charlie Sexton (Bob Dylan), actress Eszter Balint, and filmmaker Jim Jarmusch visit to try out the guitars, Kelly’s apprentice photographs #guitarporn. Kelly has been making guitars since the late 1970s, and in this West Village location since 1990 (it’s next door to where Jackson Pollock lived), but the threat of gentrification looms. A Colombian drug lord creates a fictional, extravagant mansion from the 1980s nighttime TV soap opera Dynasty in Labyrinth. Although the house is now in ruins, the film intercuts the television program with images of a lavish Latin American lifestyle. Trees Down Here examines Cambridge University’s Cowan Court, a 2016 building by 6a Architects at Churchill College that uses oak and birch in contrast to the original Brutalist 1960s buildings by Richard Sheppard. Plans, models, archival footage, owls, snakes, and swaying trees are set to the music of John Cage and a poem by John Ashbery. The film premiered at the Venice Architecture Biennale.
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Now in its tenth year, the Architecture & Design Film Festival (ADFF) is coming to New York later this month with a solid roster of unmissable short- and long-form films. For six days starting on October 16, the Cinépolis Chelsea will host screening after screening of rarely-seen films for your viewing pleasure. This year’s opening night show and reception will be held at the SVA Theatre, presenting the world premiere of Basia and Leonard Myszynski’s film Leaning Out. In the 59-minute documentary, the filmmakers dive into the story of Leslie E. Robertson, the lead structural engineer behind the original World Trade Center towers. The film follows his response to the September 11 attacks as well as his lifelong fight for human rights and peace through service and design in the United States and abroad. The Grand Prize Winner of the 2018 AIA Film Challenge will also be announced on the first day of the festival, as well as the People's Choice Award winner. Public voting for People's Choice is open now through Monday, October 7 and all films are free to watch here. Other highlights from this fall’s ADFF lineup include: A Train to Rockaway directed by William Starling and Carlos Rojas-Felice A short film showcasing the daily routine of amateur sandcastle architect Calvin Seibert, an artist who believes the production of art is the most interesting element of design. Frank Gehry: Building Justice directed by Ultan Guilfoye Co-presented by New York Magazine, this long-form film follows Frank Gehry and his studios at SCI-Arc and the Yale School of Architecture. Together with his students, he investigated prison design and visited one of the world’s most progressive detention centers in Norway. Do More with Less directed by Katerina Kliwadenko and Mario Novas This feature-length film hit the festival circuit last year and has received high praise for its depiction of the young architects and students in Latin America that are creating innovative architecture using few financial and material resources. Francis Kéré: An Architect Between directed by directed Daniel Schwartz Detailing the design legacy of world-renowned architect Francis Kéré, this short film dives into his social justice work in Burkina Faso and Germany. Enough White Teacups directed by Michelle Bauer Carpenter This documentary highlights the award-winning projects that came out of an international design competition by the Danish nonprofit INDEX: Design to Improve Life. The designs center around sustainable strategies to combat key global issues such as infant mortality, ocean pollution, and affordable housing. Five films (including a few from above) will include post-preview panels with speakers such as Jake Gorst, Martino Stierli, Guillaume de Morsier, and more. You can view the entire ADFF schedule here. Tickets for opening night are $75, while general admission for all other films will be $17 for adults and $12.50 for students. Films showing in the pop-up Sony Theatre at Cinépolis Chelsea will be free, but tickets are required. They are available for purchase online, at the box office, or by phone.
The Architecture & Design Film Festival (ADFF) is the nation’s largest film festival devoted to the creative spirit that drives architecture in design. Join us for the inaugural festival in D.C. Over the course of three days, the festival screens films that explore the life and work of architects such as Rem Koolhaas and Bjarke Ingels, and journalist, author, and activist Jane Jacobs, fashion designer Dries Van Noten, and timely topics such as design for positive social change and generative healthcare design. ADFF: D.C. presented by the Revada Foundation. The Museum will be the venue for all films, featuring three separate theaters, two of which will be specially outfitted for the festival, including the Museum’s iconic Great Hall. Films include: BIG TIME Building Hope: The Maggie’s Centres Community by Design: Skid Row Housing Trust Citizen Jane Columbus Dries Eames: The Architect and the Painter The Experimental City Face of a Nation: What Happened to the World's Fair? The Gamble House Getting Frank Gehry Glenn Murcutt: Spirit of Place If You Build It Integral Man Kevin Roche: The Quiet Architect Made in Ilima The Oyler House: Richard Neutra's Desert Retreat REM Windshield: A Vanished Vision Workplace
This year’s Architecture and Design Film Festival, now in its 9th year, presented 34 films which fall into the categories of profiles of makers, of places, and of users. Glenn Murcutt: Spirit of Place profiled the 2002 Pritzker Prize-winning Australian architect who was put forward for the award by Frank Gehry, noted for his quiet, site-specific houses and prized by Norman Foster and Renzo Piano. Here we follow an intriguing through-line in the building of a new mosque in Melbourne. The Newport Islamic Society’s creation represents an intensely loaded subject at this moment made tangible through the architecture. Murcutt works in close conjunction with the community, especially Hakan Elevli, who became a collaborating architect. Designing Life: The Modernist Architecture of Albert C. Ledner shines a light on the architect of New York's Maritime Union (now Maritime Hotel) and the Maritime Building, which became St. Vincent’s Medical Center and is now Lenox Hill HealthPlex in New York. Ledner was a product of New Orleans, where he was born. He briefly worked for Frank Lloyd Wright, but unlike many of the master’s acolytes, Ledner knew he had to leave in order not to be trapped in the Taliesin vortex. His inventive, problem-solving buildings filled with unorthodox solutions, organic forms, and a keen sense of materials are based on solid principles: one of his two sons became a physicist and realized he grew up in a house that was all about physics. Born in 1924, Ledner continues worked until his recent passing on November 20th. His contemporary, Kevin Roche, born in 1922, also goes to the office every day. The ADFF offering, titled Kevin Roche: The Quiet Architect, shows he’s really more stealth than quiet. Made by Irish television about a native son who became a Pritzker Prize winner, the film traces Roche's career, first with Eero Saarinen, then under his firm Roche Dinkeloo, who went on to create successful buildings such as the Ford Foundation, the Metropolitan Museum’s expansion and master plan, the Oakland Museum, and corporate headquarters for Union Carbide, General Foods and Cummins Engines. He personally represents elegance as much as his buildings. Other profiles included Dries on artisanal fashion designer, Dries Van Noten – a few architectural nods are to his country house and garden, a fashion show in a raw industrial space in Paris, and one at the Paris Opera House Garnier; and a sheaf of Pritzker Prize-winning architects: Getting Frank Gehry on the architect building his University of Technology (UTS) in Sydney Australia; Zaha: An Architectural Legacy on Zaha Hadid; Jean Nouvel: Reflections; and Rem on OMA’s Rem Koolhaas. SuperDesign is a group portrait of 19 “revolutionary” Italian designers active in the 1960s, and The Diplomat, the Artist and the Suit: The Story of Denton Corker Marshall is about the long-running Australian firm. For films that centered on place, a good place to start was Integral Man. Built by Canadian mathematician James Stewart, a “calculus rock star” who made his fortune authoring textbooks – he’s called the most published mathematician since Euclid. The building is called Integral House because of its curved walls, a reference to the mathematical integral symbol. Located outside Toronto, the house includes a concert hall seating 150 because of Stewart other passion is music (he was a concert-level violinist). After interviewing Frank Gehry, Steven Holl and Rem Koolhaas, Stewart decided on the Canadian firm Shim-Sutcliffe Architects (Howard Sutcliffe and Brigitte Shim). It’s a Toronto version of Fitzcarraldo’s opera house building project in the Amazon (Werner Herzog’s 1982 film). Alas, Stewart died as the house neared completion. The Neue Nationalgalerie chronicles the creation of this iconic structure by Mies van der Rohe, his last work, and the recent renovation by David Chipperfield. Filmed in lush black and white, intelligent interviews put the building in context, then and now. Greene & Green’s Gamble House in Pasadena tells the story of two Yankee blueblood brothers (the Puritan Mather family; ancestor Cotton oversaw the Salem witch trials) who went to MIT, stopped at the World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago, saw the Japanese pavilion on their way west, and settled in the winter enclave for wealthy Midwesterners near Los Angeles. The Gambles from Cincinnati, from the Proctor and Gamble fortune, patronized the architects in one of several large homes where everything -- furniture, light fixtures, stained glass, rugs, andirons – was designed by the pair and fabricated with local craftsmen, like William Morris’s of the West. Building Hope: The Maggie’s Centres showcases the cancer centers, largely in the U.K., by prominent architects who lent their services because of their connection to Charles and Maggie Jencks. Face of a Nation: What Happened to the World's Fair? chronicles architect/filmmaker Mina Chow’s exploration of why world’s fairs have been abandoned in this country. Dynamically, two films featured movement through buildings: Aires Mateus: Matter in Reverse using the Portuguese firm’s work and Ghost Story with dancers using Bjark Ingels Via 57 as their stage.
- Glenn Murcutt: Spirit of Place, Catherine Hunter, director
- Designing Life: The Modernist Architecture of Albert C. Ledner, Catherine Ledner & Roy Beeson, directors
- Kevin Roche: The Quiet Architect, Mark Noonan, director
- Dries, Reiner Holzemer, director
- Getting Frank Gehry, Sally Aitken, director
- Zaha: An Architectural Legacy, Jim Stephenson & Laura Mark, directors
- Jean Nouvel: Reflections, Matt Tyrnauer, director
- Rem, Tomas Koolhaas, director
- SuperDesign, Francesca Molteni, director
- The Diplomat, the Artist and the Suit: The Story of Denton Corker Marshall, Paul Goldman, director
- Integral Man, Joseph Clement, director
- The Neue Nationalgalerie, Ina Weisse, director
- Gamble House, Don Hahn, director
- Building Hope: The Maggie’s Centers, Sarah Howitt, director
- Face of a Nation - What Happened to the World's Fair? Mina Chow, director
- Aires Mateus: Matter in Reverse, Henrique Câmara Pina, director
- Ghost Story, Sarah Elgart, director
This year the Architecture & Design Film Festival (ADFF) returns to Cinépolis Chelsea for its ninth installment with 34 feature-length and short films. The lineup includes biopics about the life of revered architects Glenn Murcutt, Kevin Roche and Rem Koolhaas, as well as provocative thinkpieces about the design process. Today, the festival is hosting the world premiere of Made in Ilima, a film about a primary school and community center built in the Congo by 2017 Cooper Hewitt National Design Award winner, MASS Design Group. The film documents the collective building process—leveraging local craft and ecological considerations. Following the screening, the co-founders of MASS Design, Michael Murphy and Alan Ricks, will sit down with film director Thatcher Bean for a Q&A to discuss the project. Other films include REM, a biopic about Rem Koolhas' life, working methods, philosophy and internal landscape; Glenn Murcutt: Spirit of Place, is a chronicle of filmmaker Catherine Hunter following Murcutt for nearly a decade as he undertook a rare public commission – a new mosque for an Islamic community in Melbourne; Aires Mateus: Matter, an exploration of the Portugese firm's conceptual work on place, bodies and matter; Kevin Roche: The Quiet Architect, tells the life story of Roche, his philosophy of creating “a community for a modern society,” and his forward-thinking pursuit of creating green buildings before they became buzzworthy; and Designing Life: The Modernist Architecture of Albert C. Ledner, an in-depth exploration of Ledner’s journey from his early days as a post-WWII student of Frank Lloyd Wright at Taliesin to the present day where Ledner continues to work and innovate at the age of 93. You can find a list of the films and programming on the ADFF website. Screenings will run from November 1-5, 2017 at Cinépolis Chelsea, 260 West 23rd Street, NYC.
All month the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts (YBCA) will present its Architecture & Design Films Showcase 2015 in downtown San Francisco, hailed as the West Coast’s largest showcase of architecture and design films. The New Rijksmuseum, a 2013 film directed by Oeke Hoogendijk opened the festival. With clarity and precision the documentary followed the ten year ordeal that was the renovation of the Amsterdam museum and the challenging battle and drama surrounding its reopening. Joel Shepard, YBCA’s film curator, said “this is the second year we’ve presented this very engaging series and it was such a hit last year that we decided to do it again. This time we have even more outstanding films, which were all selected for their diversity as well as because they represent a wide variety of new architecture, design, and related subjects.” Some titles that stand out are Troublemakers: The Story of Land Art, focused on what it’s title straightforwardly lays out, land art, and includes rare footage and interviews of storied artists Robert Smithson (Sprial Jetty), Walter De Maria (The Lightning Field), and Michael Heizer (Double Negative) on October 29 and November 1. Maker, with the director Mu-Ming Tsai in person to present a film that looks into the current maker movement in America—a new wave of do-it-yourself and do-it-together fueled by passion and powered by new technologies, a topic particularly ripe for the Bay Area crowd. Two other titles to take note of are Christiania: 40 Years of Occupation and Making Space, a film that looks at five women changing the face of architecture. The showcase runs through November 8 and takes place at the YBCA Screening Room in San Francisco. A list of the films can be found at on the museum's website. Most show times are Thursday evenings, and Saturday and Sunday afternoons.
This year’s Park City offerings at the Sundance and Slamdance film festivals ranged from portraits of architects, a mayor with architectural dreams, a victim of the foreclosure crisis, those trapped in physical and dreamed spaces, and individuals exploring the cultural landscape. Always a harbinger of what is coming up, look out for these films and media projects coming to a screen near you. https://vimeo.com/117273601 Concrete Love. Gottfried Böhm, the only German architect ever to be lauded with a Pritzker Prize (1986) is part of a long line of architects, from his grandfather, father, wife, and three of his four sons. The film’s title refers not only to the Brutalist architecture he favored, but also the love between husband and wife, father and children. Concrete is a shape shifter, a malleable liquid that takes the form of its mold—an apt metaphor. The filmmaking is a sensitive, knowing guide that is as reflective of the creative process as the architectural work itself. A model film which won this year’s Goethe Documentary Film Prize where the jury noted “the film tells a multi-layered tale of love, the passion for architecture and four generations of German history. With sensitive observations, intimate interviews and stirring filmic explorations of an extraordinary architectural legacy, the film creates a lasting impression of the buildings and the people.” Chinese Mayor. This is a rare look at the inner workings of a Chinese city that is remaking itself under an ambitious mayor, Geng Tanbo, who permitted a film crew to follow him around for three years. His goal is to transform China’s coal capital, Datong, population 3.4 million, into a city of culture by rebuilding the structures of its heyday 1,600 years ago including city walls with museums inside, and grottos with Buddhist sculpture and murals—all without residents. He states that Datong can be a new Paris or Rome. This necessitates tearing down much of the existing city and relocating 30 percent of the population or a half million residents, giving the mayor the nickname “Demolition Geng” or “Geng Smash-Smash.” There is not an architect or planner in sight. One of the more interesting meetings takes place with a large group of other Chinese mayors and party secretaries who are all rebuilding their cities into cultural meccas (it is worth noting that mayors are appointed, not elected). Geng deals with corruption (a shady developer made off with $12 million), incompetence (sewer pipes too narrow), shoddy work (paving without cement), delays (hospitals and roads are way behind schedule) until he is suddenly removed from office and transferred to another city, leaving 125 construction projects in Datong halted indefinitely. 99 Homes. Against the backdrop of the 2008 housing foreclosure crisis, a hard-working and honest man (Michael Shannon), cannot save his family home. A real estate shark throws him a lifeline—an offer to join his crew and put others through the same harrowing ordeal of throwing families onto the street that he experienced in order to earn back his home. A portrait of a man whose integrity has become ensnared in this recent American meltdown. The Wolfpack. Locked away from society in public housing on the Lower East Side, the Angulo brothers learn about the outside world through the films that they watch, which they re-enact with homemade props and costumes. Everything changes when one of the brothers escapes, and the power dynamics in the house are transformed. A claustrophobic environment explodes. Forbidden Room. Guy Maddin’s familiar art-house filmmaking takes the locales of “forbidden” spaces—bathrooms, submarines, volcano, caves, elevators and gets lost in non-linear, episodic, absurdist storylines. An ode to the silent movie era, the visuals, sound and story are layered, while color schemes morph into one another. The Nightmare. Following his exploration of the hotel that inspired Kubrick’s The Shining, director Rodney Ascher now investigates the phenomenon of sleep paralysis, the trap between the sleeping and waking worlds. Eerie dramatizations of what the subjects see are created in an architectural moodscape. New Frontier exhibition, Dérive. In this installation, in the distance, you see a city glistening in the dark. The closer you get to it, the larger the city grows until it engulfs you in its presence. This interactive projection is driven by the viewer’s body motions to explore 3-D reconstructions of urban and natural spaces that are being transformed according to live environmental data, including meteorological and astronomical phenomena. Station to Station. Visual artist Doug Aitken embarked on a nomadic experiment of art creation, exhibition and participation in summer 2013 (see AN coverage of its launch from Williamsburg). Station to Station chronicles a train that crossed North America over 24 days making 10 stops, with a rotating roster of artists, musicians, and curators, who collaborated in the creation of recordings, artworks, films, yurts and happenings, across the country. Comprised of 61 individual one-minute films that form a high-speed trip through today’s culture. Films/Media Directors: 99 Homes, Ramin Bahrani Chinese Mayor,Hao Zhou Concrete Love, Maurizius Staerkle Drux Dérive, François Quévillon Forbidden Room, Guy Maddin, Evan Johnson The Nightmare, Rodney Ascher Station to Station, Doug Aitken The Wolfpack, Crystal Moselle
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.
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
- 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
- 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