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
Posts tagged with "Park City":
It's strike two for Danish design in Utah. Bjarke Ingels’ second proposed expansion of the Kimball Art Center in Park City, Utah did not fare any better than his first. The Park City News is reporting that the local City Hall rejected the firm’s updated design because it failed to meet the “municipal government's strict Old Town guidelines.” Or, to put it simply, it just didn't fit in. That's essentially what the Park City community said about BIG’s first design—a dramatic, twisting, log cabin-like structure. For the second go-round, BIG opted for a more refined approach with a concrete structure that lifts over the street and forms a 46-foot-high peak at the site's corner. In a statement, the Kimball Art Center’s executive director expressed the board’s disappointment with City Hall’s decision, and said that they are weighing their next steps. The center has a brief, ten-day window to appeal.
Thanks in large part to public protest, Bjarke Ingels' plans for a twisted, log-cabin-like box for Park City's Kimball Art Center have been dramatically changed. Earlier this month Ingels' firm BIG unveiled a new design: a concrete wedge lifting 46 feet above the corner of Main and Heber Streets. "The building seems to rise with Main Street and the mountain landscape, while bowing down to match the scale of the existing Kimball," Ingels said in a statement. The former plan (pictured below), chosen in 2012, was 80-feet-tall. Its exposed wood facade paid homage to the area's early settlers and to the city's historic Coalition Mine Building. Besides echoing the local topography, Ingels told the Park City News that the new poured-in-place design "draws on the encounter between the modern functionalist architecture of the Kimball Garage (the museum's original home) and the regional vernacular style of the mountain architecture." Some locals had complained that the original design didn't mesh with the city's context, and that its height would impact property values. When asked how he felt about the Kimball's decision not to pursue his original design, Ingels replied: "The Kimball and BIG did the only thing possible, and now I think we have arrived at a design that can be just as striking a contribution to Part City's streetscape, if only a lot more intimate in scale than our first sketches."
Despite winning the Kimball Art Center renovation commission in February of last year, Bjarke Ingels Group’s design proposal is far from beginning construction in Park City, Utah. After a seven-member jury of officials, architects, and a Park City resident chose the BIG museum revamp from a shortlist of designs from several prominent firms, the public made their dissatisfaction clear. The building is on hold and without community approval it will continue to sit in stasis for an indeterminable amount of time. Rendered as a twisted timber box, BIG’s transformed Kimball Art Center is a “highly-evolved log cabin at an unprecedented scale.” Its wood construction alludes to the building materials used by miners, the area’s first settlers, and the proposed 80-foot height is congruent with an iconic heritage monument that once stood near the site. These architectural intentions do not appease nor appeal to Park City residents. Scott Iwasaki of “The Park Record” reported that some neighbors have complained BIG’s design does not fit with its historic locale while others are worried the tall structure will decrease surrounding property values. Concerns have been so severe that the art gallery’s Board of Directors chose not to submit the plan for a city review, the first step in building construction approval, even after the jury spent six months deliberating a design competition winner. The Board did make a pre-application to Park City’s Historic District Design Review, although this will have no effect on the status of the eventual renovation. Their next move, however, is uncertain. Repeating the competition process for a new design is an option, Kimball Art Center Chairman Matt Mullin said but its subsequent timeline extension would not be ideal. The renovation is meant to provide space to expand the Kimball’s art education classes and until the Park City community is content with the design, its present pause will endure.