Following our favorite Architecture Documentaries to Watch in 2015, our top 40 Architecture Docs to Watch in 2014, and our choice 30 Architecture Docs to Watch in 2013, we're looking ahead to 2017! Our latest round up presents a collection of the most critically acclaimed, popular and often under-represented films and documentaries that provoke, intrigue, inform and beguile. From biopics of Eero Saarinen, Frei Otto and Laurie Baker, to presentations of Chinese "palaces" and the architecture of Africa, Cambodia and India, these are our top picks.
"The Architect", directed by Jonathan Parker, is a film that moves between drama and comedy. It features a humorous (and some would say believable) satire of architects. In the film an egocentric, and grandiose architect named Miles Moss, played by actor James Frain, works with a couple who wants to build their dream home.
Update: following the screening period The Infinite Happiness is no longer available to watch on ArchDaily. The full collection of Bêka and Lemoine's films can be viewed on demand, here.
For two days only—between Friday, December 2 and Sunday, December 4—you can watch The Infinite Happiness, part of Ila Bêka and Louise Lemoine's Living Architectures series, exclusively on ArchDaily. The film, shot entirely in Copenhagen's "8 House" designed by BIG, follows a group of residents (and passers-by) as they experience life in a contemporary housing block widely considered to embody new models of living.
Filmmakers Ila Bêka and Louise Lemoine, creators of the Living Architectures seminal collection of films on architecture, will screen The Infinite Happiness—shot entirely in Copenhagen's "8 House" designed by BIG—exclusively on ArchDaily from Friday, December 2 until Sunday, December 4.
Marking the forthcoming release of two DVD box-sets of their entire œuvre (which was acquired by New York's Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in 2016) Bêka and Lemoine have, over the course of the Living Architectures project, developed films about and in collaboration with the likes of the Barbican in London, the Fondazione Prada, La Biennale di Venezia, Frank Gehry, Bjarke Ingels, the City of Bordeaux, the Arc en Rêve centre d’architecture, and more. Their goal in this has always been to "democratize the highbrow language of architectural criticism. [...] Free speech on the topic of architecture," Bêka has said, "is not the exclusive property of experts." Their first film, Koolhaas Houselife (2008), has come to embody this unique approach.
Watch The Infinite Happiness on ArchDaily here from December 2 1800GMT.
For this edition of Section D, Monocle 24's weekly review of design, architecture and craft, the team turn their attention to the crossroads where design and architecture meet film. From a documentary about Pruitt-Igoe, the St. Louis housing project, to a new reading of the title sequence of Superman, this episode investigates the role of architecture in film – and visa versa.
What are the philosophical consequences of automation after the integration of pervasive AI into the architecture, landscapes and cognitive maps of our planet and its populations? We suggest that "natural models" of automation pre-exist our technology, with profound implications for human and planetary systems. We’re interested in specific examples and models outside of our cultural milieu that test the limits of bodies, that map habits and their disruption through noise, and reframe the relation between life and consciousness. The following examples index the performance of networks in tight cycles of feedback loops: machines teaching machines. To go to the root of the philosophical consequences of automation our path is through abstract and universalist models of ‘natural laws’, redeployed into specific local situations. We use the term ‘drive’ for its myriad implications connecting across the examples we have chosen.
Submit your green short films by 31 October 2016 and win prizes!
The biggest temptation is to jump right in. There are solutions that come to you. There are images that spontaneously appear. My method is rather to hold back as long as possible, to really imagine it spatially, so to be sure I have something to say.
Award winning documentarian and critic Matt Tyrnauer (director of Valentino: The Last Emperor, Citizen Jane: Battle For The City) has released a new documentary taking a look into the mind of world-renowned architect Jean Nouvel and his design process.
The film, titled Jean Nouvel: Reflections, follows the French architect around the world to visit his most recent works, including the Philharmonie de Paris, Institut du Monde Arabe, Fondation Cartier, Musée du Quai Branly, and Doha Tower and future projects, notably the National Museum of Qatar, his New York skyscraper, 53W53, and the Louvre Abu Dhabi.
The Dovrefjell mountain range, which divides the north and south of Norway, holds "a unique place in [the] Norwegian consciousness." A constellation of myths and legends are connected to these mountains which have, over recent years, born witness to hunting, mining and military activity. But it is also the home of a large wild reindeer population. At Hjerkinn, on the edge of the Dovrefjell National Park, Oslo-based Snøhetta have created an observation pavilion for the Wild Reindeer Foundation. In this film by Alejandro Villanueva, the building and the surrounding landscape are revealed through time-lapse and in astonishing detail.
Simultaneous uses coexist, confound, and conflict. Each circulator tries to delegitimize the other by getting in the way, amounting to an all-out war. As more and more people seek alternate forms of travel, there is a need for empathy in how we move through the city. Far from creating enmity, a multiplicity of flows can encourage greater sensitivity. Walkers, runners, skateboarders, pedicabbers, bikers, limousine, bus, and truck drivers, drone operators, kayakers, and swimmers can find ways to share the city, while feeling that their space is free and respected.
MASS Design Group Documentary, "Design that Heals," to Premiere at New York 2016 Architecture and Design Film Festival
Can a building help stem the tide of large epidemics?
In 2010, in the midst of the world’s worst cholera outbreak in over a century, MASS Design Group was challenged to design a cholera treatment center where the construction process, as well as the finished building, could address the underlying structural and social conditions that allow cholera to thrive.
This is the subject of Design that Heals, a new documentary that portrays the challenges, innovations, and triumph of the project, proving that, “Architecture and health are inseparable.” (Dr. Jean-William Pape, GHESKIO founder)
The 31-minute film, an official New York 2016 Architecture and Design Film Festival selection, will premiere September 29th at 6:30 and October 1st and 7:30. Screenings will be held at Cinépolis Chelsea, 260 West 23rd Street, New York, NY 10011.
In the canon of great Dutch architects sit a number of renowned practitioners, from Berlage to Van Berkel. Based on influence alone, Rem Koolhaas—the grandson of architect Dirk Roosenburg and son of author and thinker Anton Koolhaas—stands above all others and has, over the course of a career spanning four decades, sought to redefine the role of the architect from a regional autarch to a globally-active shaper of worlds – be they real or imagined. A new film conceived and produced by Tomas Koolhaas, the LA-based son of its eponymous protagonist, attempts to biographically represent the work of OMA by “expos[ing] the human experience of [its] architecture through dynamic film.” No tall order.
Filmed at the Vertou Cultural Center, designed by Atelier Fernandez & Serres, this video by filmmaker Lucas Bacle challenges the traditional conventions of cinematography, employing architectural drawings to provide context for the actions of the film’s protagonist. The cultural center itself becomes a central character to the short film, as Bacle layers video on top of orthographics, highlighting the character's relationship in space to the plans and sections.
Following the burgeoning success of the 7th New York Architecture and Design Film Festival (ADFF), this year's incarnation—which will run September 28 through October 2 2016 at Cinépolis Chelsea—appears set to maintain its position as the nation's and most popular largest subject-focused film event. Over 30 feature-length and short films, curated by Festival Director Kyle Bergman, will be presented, including Eero Saarinen: The Architect Who Saw the Future, a film that examines the life of the eponymous modernist architect.
Featured in Extraordinary Playscapes, the summer exhibition at BSA Space, The Plas Madoc Adventure Playground in Northern Wales is one of the world’s newest adventure playgrounds. Fondly known as "The Land," it employs some of the play movement’s oldest "junk" philosophies.This new documentary explores a place where old tires and dumpster detritus take the place of swing sets and slides, and is “a must-see for anyone interested in play work, or play, period.” (Amy Fusselman, "Savage Park”)
For architects, if I may generalize an entire professional community, there are few novelists as cultishly beloved as J.G. Ballard. Borges or Calvino have their fair share of admirers, but to borrow an adjective more frequently applied to buildings, Ballard is the most iconic of literary figures—especially for readers of a concrete-expansion-joint persuasion. Witnessing war as a child, training in medicine, and thereafter writing from a rather bloodless middle-class patch of suburbia, Ballard spun tales of urban life that continue to be uncomfortably visceral.
The Jane Jacobs Documentary - a feature length film focusing on the life and work of celebrated author and urban activist, Jane Jacobs - is set to be released Fall 2016. Coinciding with the author’s 100th birthday, Robert Hammond, Co-Founder and Executive Director of Friends of the High Line, and Matt Tyrnauer, producer/director of Valentino: The Last Emperor, plan to have the film tour festivals near the end of this year.
The love affair between architecture and film has been well documented. From huge breathtaking sets to small spaces for intimate conversations, the architecture in a film often plays as strong a role as any character in translating the director’s vision to his/her audience. In constructing the environments of their narratives, the great filmmakers could even be considered architects in their own right—that's the claim presented in this video from the British Film Institute, which looks at the work of celebrated director Jean-Luc Godard and how the architecture in his films transforms to suit their tone. In pictures such as À bout de souffle (1960), Le Mépris (1963) and Week End (1967), Godard uses streetscapes to convey optimism or pessimism, uses walls to emphasize the emotional distance between lovers, and even includes a cameo from the particularly photogenic Villa Malaparte. Watch the video to learn more about the techniques used to achieve these moods.