Enter the unique realm of the “beautifully disturbing” with Project Senium, a new short film exploring the aging interiors of an abandoned mental hospital. Named for the Latin word for ‘decay’, the atmospheric film documents the asylum in breathtaking depth and detail, elevating material often dubbed ”ruin porn” to a level of cinematic beauty.
Santiago Calatrava’s City of Arts and Sciences has taken a starring role in Tomorrowland, Disney’s latest blockbuster. Located in the former riverbed of the Turia in Valencia, Spain, the City of Arts and Sciences comprises a cinema (L’Hemisfèric), a landscaped walk and sculpture garden (L’Umbracle), the Príncipe Felipe Science Museum, the largest aquarium in Europe (L’Oceanográfico), and the renowned Palau de les Arts Reina Sofia. The complex was constructed in stages commencing in July 1996, and opened to the public in October 2005. Unique and strikingly futuristic, the iconic group of buildings caught the eye of Tomorrowland producer Jeffrey Chernov, who spoke effusively of the building at a recent press conference for the film.
“Calatrava’s architecture is just phenomenal and inventive and exciting. It’s very skeletal, like you’re looking at the vertebrae of a dinosaur or prehistoric fish,” said Chernov. “You walk into that place and you never want to leave. That’s the vibe we wanted for Tomorrowland.”
“An alternately factual documentary presented by nameless hosts Reggie Watts and Carolina Ravassa Brasilia takes viewers on a whirlwind tour of the famed capital of Brazil. In topics ranging from architecture, religious ceremonial practices, and spiritual conscious alignment, Reggie and Carolina traverse some of the world’s most impossibly futuristic human landscapes, extolling earnest advice about the culture, practices, and habits of the Brasilienese people. With a synthesizer soundtrack from the late 60/early 70s, Brasilia exposes the unknown truths of this exotic utopian city nestled in the cradle of South America.” – Film description courtesy of Reggie Watts via Indiewire.
Although his name may not appear in most architectural history books, Sir Kenneth Hugo Adam has influenced architecture for over fifty years. Better known as Ken Adam, he has been responsible for the production design of over 70 films in his career, most notably for his work on the James Bond franchise. The architect of Fort Knox in Goldfinger, the Zero Gravity Satellite in Moonraker, and Super-Tanker Liparus in The Spy Who Loved Me, Adam has shaped architectural design in film since the 1940s.
Adam is the recipient of two British Film Academy Awards, including one for Dr. Strangelove, and in 2003 became the first film production designer to receive a knighthood. He has been at the helm of some of the world’s most well-known and influential films – from Chitty Chitty Bang Bang to Crimes of the Heart – and his drawings are now on display for the first time. In 2012, Sir Adam donated his entire body of work to the Deutsche Kinemathek in his home city of Berlin, where the first retrospective of his work is now on display, entitled ‘Bigger Than Life: Ken Adam’s Film Design.’
Find out more about Adam’s vast body of work after the break
In December of last year, we brought you news of Tomas Koolhaas‘ kickstarter campaign to fund a documentary about his father, Rem Koolhaas. Well, not only was Koolhaas’ REM documentary fully funded, three generous backers offered up $500 each in return for one question to be answered directly by Rem Koolhaas himself. The video above is the result of those questions, in which Koolhaas responds to questions on urbanism in the developed country of the Netherlands compared to still-developing India, as well as a question about how his early work in film-making and scriptwriting influenced his architectural career.
Watch the video above and read on after the break for a synopsis of Koolhaas’ answers
The highly anticipated 3D film series Cathedrals of Culture has now opened around the world. Directed by Wim Wenders and a team of five other acclaimed directors (Robert Redford, Michael Glawogger, Michael Madsen, Margreth Olin and Karim Aïnouz), the collection – according to The Guardian’s Oliver Wainwright - “feels more like a series of vapid promotional videos.” Arguing that in most of the films (with the exception of Michael Madsen’s) the narrative is lost in favour of cinematic shots, “Cathedrals of Culture presents a limited and internalised view of what architecture is, a fault perhaps driven by the obsession with the 3D camera. [...] It has a self-satisfied, sometimes cultish, air that makes you feel like you’re taking part in some collective brainwashing exercise.” Wainwright concludes that Living Architectures is the best place to go. See some of their films featured in ArchDaily’s 40 Architecture Docs to Watch in 2014.
Zaha Hadid has been featured in a 30-minute BBC Secret Knowledge film based on Kazimir Malevich: The Russian Revolutionary: Zaha Hadid on Kazimir Malevich. One of Hadid’s greatest influencers, the Russian painter and theoretician inspired the Dame’s AA graduation thesis which transformed Malevich’s 1923 Arkitekton model into a 14-story hotel that stretched across London’s Hungerford Bridge. You can watch the film online (here) through September 16.
This time-lapse video, entitled “Above LA,” is Chris Pritchard’s love letter to Los Angeles. Filmed over the course of two years, Pritchard sought out locations to showcase the city in a way people rarely get to see – from above. Some of the views were easy to seek out, while others involved some exploratory hiking and trespassing. He encourages “everyone – lifelong Angelenos, transplants, visitors – to hit the trails, drive the mountain roads, find a reason to get on top of a high-rise. From the basin to the valley, this city offers so many opportunities to rise above and look down. Never stop exploring.”
Steven Holl Architects, in collaboration with Spirit of Space, have created two short films of the recently completed Seona Reid Building at Glasgow School of Art. The film series explores the complementary contrast of the new Reid Building and Charles Rennie Mackintosh’s 1909 building (which recently suffered a devastating fire), where “each work of architecture heightens the integral qualities of the other.”
The first film takes the viewers on a “poetic climb” up and through the building’s social circuit, which “purposefully encourages inter-disciplinary activity, with the hope to inspire positive energy for the future of art.” The second film unpacks the design of the Reid Building in a conversation with design architects Steven Holl and Chris McVoy.
Interiors is an online film and architecture journal, published by Mehruss Jon Ahi and Armen Karaoghlanian. Interiors runs an exclusive ArchDaily column analyzing and diagraming films in terms of space.
Stanley Kubrick has been called many things: pretentious, unpretentious, alienated, ambiguous, audacious, empty, disturbing, outrageous, devilish, soulless, patient, unflinching, impersonal, arrogant, calculated, paranoid, aloof, visionary, genius, tyrant, misogynist, cineaste, original, and in the immortal words of Kirk Douglas, a “talented shit.”
It’s interesting to note then, when asked about his film, 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968), Stanley Kubrick himself said, “It’s not a message that I ever intend to convey in words.” The film itself is a “nonverbal experience.” There are no words – or dialogue – for more than two-thirds of the film. Stanley Kubrick is a visual storyteller; in his films, words are secondary.
Laboratorio de Arquitectura Dominicana (LAD), curators of the Dominican Republic’s first-ever Venice Architecture Biennale participation, has launched a Kickstarter campaign to raise funds for a short documentary that will reveal the daily life of La Feria. Originally built by brutal dictator Rafael Trujillo as a symbol of power and wealth, the 1950s fairground has transformed into an “architectural protagonist” within the city of Santo Domingo that serves various government bodies by day and illicit enterprises by night.
If successful, award-winning filmmaker Corinne van der Borch will capture the historic center’s dualistic nature, revealing untold stories about La Feria’s turbulent past as well as explore how its architecture changed the city.
Learn more and support the film here on Kickstarter!
Alysa Nahmias and Benjamin Murray’s Unfinished Spaces has been awarded the 2014 Society of Architectural Historian’s (SAH) Award for Film and Video, an award presented annually to the “most distinguished work of film on the history of the built environment.” Initially released in 2011, the critically acclaimed documentary reveals the turbulent past of Fidel Castro’s Cuba and tells the story of his utopian dream to construct the Cuban National Arts Schools. You can learn more about the film here, and the school’s history, here.
The BBC’s Tony Hall has announced that Zaha Hadid will be presenting a 60-minute Secret Knowledge film based on Kazimir Malevich. The Russian painter and theoretician, who founded the Suprematist movement, inspired Hadid’s AA graduation thesis which transformed Malevich’s 1923 Arkitekton model into a 14-story hotel that stretched across London’s Hungerford Bridge. Hadid will be one of many influential art leaders enlisted to participate in the program, which intends to place the arts on “center-stage.”
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.