A new hour long documentary for PBS’ series, Building the Great Cathedrals, explores the mystery of how, in the 15th century, Florentine architect Filippo Brunelleschi constructed one of the largest domes the world had ever seen. Winning what could be considered one of the earliest architectural competitions, Brunelleschi developed a unique system that allowed construction on the dome to occur while services were being conducted in the cathedral 100 metres below. The team in this episode model this freestanding structure in an attempt to understand just how Brunelleschi achieved such a feat of Renaissance engineering.
You can find out more about the film here. Please note that the film is only viewable through PBS within the USA. For those of you outside the USA, you can watch the 30 second preview above; for those in the USA, see the full video after the break…
In an hour long documentary for PBS, Geoffrey Baer tours the USA in search of the ten buildings that “changed America.” From a state capitol designed by Thomas Jefferson to resemble a Roman temple to Henry Ford’s factory that first saw the Model T enter production, the film explores the “shocking, funny, and even sad stories of how these buildings were created.” Investigating places of worship, shopping malls, concert halls and skyscrapers this film is tipped as ”a journey inside the imaginations of the daring architects who set out to change the way we live, work, and play.”
Find out more about the film here. Please note that the film is only viewable within the USA.
This time last year we published our 30 Architecture Docs to Watch in 2013 featuring a fantastic range of films telling the tales of some of the world’s greatest unsung architectural heroes. We now bring you eleven more for 2014, looking past the panoply of stars to bring you more of the best architectural documentaries which will provoke, intrigue and beguile.
Los Angeles-based cinematographer Tomas Koolhaas is nearing completion of his highly anticipated film, REM. The feature length documentary, which focuses on the work of Tomas’ famed father, Rem Koolhaas, is the first architectural film to “comprehensively explore the human conditions in and around Rem Koolhaas’ buildings from a ground level perspective.” Rather than lifeless still shots and long-winded, intellectual discourse, REM exposes the one thing that gives each building function and purpose: how it is used by people.
So far, REM has been funded entirely by grants. However, in order for Tomas to collect the necessary funds to complete post-production, he has turned to you by launching a Kickstarter campaign.
Watch REM’s official trailer above, which follows a parkour expert as he moves through the Casa De Musica in Porto, and follow us after the break for Tomas’ exclusive interview with Kanye West, who comments on his work with OMA at the 2012 Cannes film festival.
Think traffic is bad now? One billion cars are already on the road today and another billion is expected to join in the coming decade. Pollution and stressful commuting is at an all time high, empowering many politicians and bicycle activists to declare war on the multi-billion dollar car industry which has profoundly impacted city development worldwide.
Bikes vs. Cars is a feature-length, in-progress film that hopes to be part of the global movement by shedding light on the city’s car-centric past and bike-friendly future. Learn more and join the cause at the Bikes vs Cars Kickstarter Campaign website.
For more, read “Why Cycle Cities Are the Future.”
Writers, directors, producers, and actors in the Hollywood film industry play major roles in shaping how millions around the world perceive architects and the architectural profession. Television shows, too, create stereotypes of professions that are repeatedly drummed into the brain with each successive episode. Both make long-lasting impacts that may encourage or dissuade young people from pursuing architecture as a career.
Interiors is an online film and architecture journal, published by Mehruss Jon Ahi and Armen Karaoghlanian. Interiors runs an exclusive column for ArchDaily, analyzing and diagramming films in terms of space.
The rise of the director in music videos came in the early 1990s, when MTV started crediting directors alongside artists and song titles. The influx of visionary directors such as Michel Gondry, Spike Jonze and David Fincher emphasized that music videos were becoming an auteur’s medium, much in the same way as film. The shift from stylized and performance-based music videos into narrative-based works, however, came much later, as the medium became more “cinematic” in its look and narrative structure.
Justin Timberlake’s music videos similarly parallel this evolution. His earlier works have always focused on locations and space, his choreography and the physicality of his performances. In “Cry Me a River,” we follow his movements through various rooms in a house. In “Rock Your Body,” his choreography and performance is the center of attention as he is surrounded by lights in an enclosed space. In “My Love,” we see the contrast of black and white while focusing on the vastness of empty space. However, the narrative-based music video for “Mirrors,” from his long-awaited album, The 20/20 Experience, marks a departure for the artist.
The work of a Production Designer has many parallels with that of an Architect. Both are tasked with bringing to life a conceptual environment, keeping true to that concept through budgets, time pressures, logistics and regulations. Both share a similar creative process, developing the ideas and then collaborating and coordinating with a team of professionals to give those ideas physical form. However, Production Designers are concerned with creating environments to be captured on film only for a matter of moments. Not something a standard Client is likely to request from an Architect.
While the freedom of not having to fully resolve building details – just making it look that way (not to mention the added bonus of avoiding the inevitable callbacks for defects), may seem appealing, consider having to dismantle everything you have created at the end of the process. Somewhat of an anticlimax you would think.
Not so, says Catherine Martin, veteran Production Designer, two time Academy Award winning Art Director, and the creative force behind the sets and costumes of Baz Lurhmann’s films.
Interiors is an online film and architecture journal, published by Mehruss Jon Ahi and Armen Karaoghlanian. Interiors will run an exclusive column for ArchDaily, analyzing and diagramming films in terms of space.
If cinema is a matter of what’s in the frame, David Fincher is an artist who is very much concerned about all four corners of his canvas. In his career, visual effects have always been at the forefront of his films, but his later works have also showcased his level of maturity as a storyteller. In Zodiac (2007), The Social Network (2010) and The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (2011), visual effects play an integral role in the advancement of the story, as Fincher explores the relationship between visual effects and space.
The spaces we analyzed decrease in size with each film – an entire block in Zodiac, a business establishment in The Social Network and a single room in an apartment in The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. In each instance, we are dealing with spaces that depend on an effect of some sort.
Since the emergence of the modern multi-storey building in the late 19th century, screenwriters and art directors have embraced the high-rise building as both backdrop and prop in the drama of feature films. It’s easy to understand the fascination. The precarious nature of a skyscraper – their height, their reliance on competent engineering and emergency systems, and their all-controlling security – provide abundant opportunities for action and disaster. And all with a built-in view.
But while Hollywood loves a high rise, it hasn’t treated them well. Plot lines usually tap into a general scepticism about the kind of engineering feats which make them possible and often carry some underlying moral message about the dangers of technology and advancement.
Architects and students worldwide are highly anticipating the Monday premiere of Archiculture - a documentary that offers a unique glimpse into the world of studio-based, design education through the eyes of five architecture students finishing their final design projects at Brooklyn’s Pratt Institute. The film, directed and produced by two architect-turned-filmmakers Ian Harris and David Krantz of Arbuckle Industries, features exclusive interviews with leading professionals, historians and educators to help create a crucial dialog around the key issues faced by this unique teaching methodology.
Eager to learn more, we sat down with director Ian Harris for an exclusive interview. Read the interview and share your thoughts after the break.
Madrid-based architect Angel Borrego Cubero of Office for Strategic Spaces (OSS) has directed and produced the first documentary focused on the tense process that often characterizes an architectural competition. Appropriately titled The Competition, the film captures a fascinating account on how five world renowned architects – Jean Nouvel, Frank Gehry, Dominique Perrault, Zaha Hadid and Norman Foster – “toil, struggle and strategize to beat the competition.” The premise is based on a nearly forgotten, 2008 competition for a new National Museum of Art of Andorra, a small Pyrenees country nestled between Spain and France, which has yet to be realized.
As we’ve mentioned before, Irish designer Eileen Gray was undoubtedly one of the most influential, and most overlooked, designers of the 20th century. However, a new Kickstarter campaign aims to put that right once and for all. The campaign is seeking funds to help renovate Gray’s seminal house, E-1027, for the production of a feature film about the architect.
From Frank Lloyd Wright to Oscar Niemeyer and the 2013 Pritzker Prize laureate Toyo Ito, this short film features a series of excerpts from interviews, speeches and documentaries of the most influential Architects from the past 70 years who have shaped the notion of Architecture. As described by the video’s producer, viaViLi, “this accumulation of scenes some how expresses the condition of Architecture today – its moments of Glory and Misery.”
You would think that of all film genres, Science Fiction would be the one least likely to feature real buildings. It stands to reason that production designers would want to avoid connections with things so grounded in reality. But in fact, there is somewhat of a tradition of using modern architecture as a foundation for the creation of fictional film worlds.
Science fiction relies on an audience believing in the world they are presented with. Clever camera work, perspective design, and temporary materials can only do so much. What often tips the balance in favour of using real, Modern buildings – rather than a temporary set – is the authenticity and atmosphere they provide the Science Fiction genre.
Read about Modern architecture in Sci-Fi films Blade Runner, Gattaca, Aeon Flux, and more, after the break…
This article comes courtesy of Charlotte Neilson, the author of the fascinating design blog Casting Architecture. Her column, Through the Lens, will look at architecture and production design in TV and film.
The categorisation of period architecture generally remains firmly in the realm of the professional or amateur enthusiast – let’s face it, you can go through life without knowing the difference between a Corinthian and Ionic column without too much inconvenience. Oddly, however, most people are able to name a few of the main features of Art Deco architecture fairly easily – the curved corners, stylised forms, the use of bakelite and chrome, the transport motifs.
It’s interesting that this period is so much more familiar to us, considering it spanned quite a short timeframe compared to other architectural styles; the Arts and Crafts and Art Noveau movements, for example, which both occurred in a similar time frame to Art Deco, are much less known to the wider community.
It’s possible of course that Art Deco is just more omnipresent because of its universal appeal, or its uniqueness, but I think most of the credit should go to Monsieur Hercule Poirot.
Learn more about Agatha Christie’s contribution to Art Deco, after the break…