The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York has acquired all 16 films produced by directors Ila Bêka and Louise Lemoine. Their films, collectively titled “Living Architectures,” focus on the unseen inhabitants of famous buildings –housekeepers, window washers, concierges and more – fighting the long standing stereotype that architectural criticism is the sole domain of the intellectual elite. The collection, which is less than 10 years old, has remained in the spotlight for its contemporary commentary on architecture.
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.
About twenty years after the last documentary on Kevin Roche was released, London-based film company Wavelength Pictures will produce an updated look at the life and work of the Pritzker Prize-winning architect, with a section of the film focusing on his projects in Columbus, Indiana, reports local paper The Republic. Wavelength Pictures plans to come to Columbus in 2016, filming buildings that Roche designed and conducting interviews.
Interiors is an online film and architecture publication, published by Mehruss Jon Ahi and Armen Karaoghlanian. Interiors runs an exclusive column for ArchDaily that analyzes and diagrams films in terms of space. Their Official Store will carry exclusive prints from these posts.
Star Wars (1977) is more than a film. It’s a worldwide phenomenon. The Star Wars saga is its own universe, and with such distinct characters and mythology, even talking about Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope as a standalone film (which is part of such a larger whole) is a fascinating exercise. It’s quite remarkable that for a film that takes place in space, in worlds outside of ours, it still holds up, architecturally.
Fogo is a small, rocky outcrop off the coast of Newfoundland, Canada, with a population of just over 2000 people. Its sub-arctic natural landscape of lakes, rivers and mountains is interspersed by eleven small settlements and has now become the scene for a collection of follies, studios and residences designed by Norwegian practice Saunders Architecture. Most recently, Fogo's rocky wilderness and contemporary architectural interest—reminiscent of the land around Todd Saunders' current home city of Bergen—has been captured in a one-hour documentary film directed by Marcia Connolly and Katherine Knight, entitled Strange & Familar: Architecture on Fogo Island.
Over the past 20 years, Pixar’s films have attracted vast audiences around the globe. In worldwide box office sales its first film, Toy Story (1995) boasted $362 million, followed by A Bug’s Life (1998) $363 million, Toy Story 2 (1999) $485 million, Monsters, Inc. (2001) $525 million, and Finding Nemo (2003) a whopping $865 million. Factoring in additional home theater movie rentals and purchases, along with cable, theme parks, and consumer products, the influence of Pixar on generations of children and their parents around the world has been enormous. In terms of global impact, no educator, no author, and no architect even come close.
While Pixar’s pioneering role in the world of cinema, storytelling, and digital rendering is already well documented, its links with architecture have yet to be fully explored. One of Pixar’s greatest, and perhaps overlooked, talents is its ability to create convincing architectural worlds adjacent to and within the human world we inhabit every day. Pixar worlds could become a new tool to encourage critical thinking about our environment.
After spending five-figure sums on their education, you might think that architectural students would, at the very least, continue in the architectural profession. However, as investigated in a new BBC Business article, many students of architecture “are using their newly-learned digital animation and design skills to break into the world of film.” With a growing demand for both architectural and all other kinds of animations, the number of film careers built from architectural foundations seems to be burgeoning. Architects-turned-filmmakers now work on a wide variety of projects, from special effects in Beyoncé videos to Oscar-winning films, to visualization films of future architectural projects.
Learn more about how digital animation has created a “two-way street” between architecture and film, here.
The nation’s largest film festival celebrating architecture and design will return to NYC in two brand new locations in Chelsea. Opening night will be held at the SVA Theatre, and the duration of the ADFF, from October 14-18, 2015, will be held at the Bow Tie Chelsea Cinemas - a newer, bigger and more central location to accommodate a large expected audience and allow for exciting new programming. The seventh edition of the festival will present a curated selection of 30+ intriguing feature-length and short films in addition to panel discussions and Q&As with design thought leaders and filmmakers from around the world. The films explore the human elements of art, fashion, architecture and design in our everyday lives, while making the topics relatable, entertaining, and engaging for a broad audience.
Are you looking for the perfect walled city to lay down your roots? Look no further than Minas Tirith, J.R.R. Tolkien's fictional capital of Gondor, located in mountainous and remote Middle Earth. Except, if an ambitious group of British architects get their way, it might not be fictional for much longer. With their plans to construct a replica of Minas Tirith in the non-fictional hills of southern England, the Lord of the Rings-inspired community promises to be a bustling center of activity occupied by the most diehard Middle Earth supporters. This is only possible, of course, if the founders of Realise Minas Tirith are able to fundraise £1.85 Billion ($2.86bn USD) within 60 days on Indiegogo.
The online lecture, similar to the podcast, is an easy, often entertaining way of absorbing knowledge and the opinions of thinkers and practitioners from around the world. We've gathered together some of our favourite sources for watching architectural lectures online. Ranging from Barbaralee Diamonstein-Spielvogel's famous American Architecture Now interviews with Frank Gehry in 1980 and Robert Venturi and Denise Scott-Brown in 1984, to Sir Peter Cook speaking at Frankfurt's Staedelschule in 2012, these open-source films provide invaluable insights into architects and architects throughout recent history.
Check out our favourite sources after the break.
The medium of film has long been employed to visualise, document and narrate architectural and urban space. Since the advent of more accessible devices to capture and record these journeys and explorations it has been used more frequently by practices and students in an attempt to develop new ways of experiencing built designs. #donotsettle, a YouTube channel established by two architects and urban enthusiasts while studying at TUDelft in The Netherlands, seeks to reconcile the disparity between film as architectural representation and as an experiential medium. Although not high in production value, their films are exciting examples of how user-oriented architectural 'vlogging' can uncover an entirely new way of understanding the world around us, imbued with a refreshing level of enthusiasm and authenticity.
It's a well-known fact that architects, almost without exception, love the 1982 film Blade Runner. Architects also love scale models. So what could possibly be more exciting than seeing photos of the model shop of the film? Enter this Imgur album of 142 photos from behind the scenes, posted earlier this week by user minicity. After the break, check out our selection of images of the Tyrell Corporation's imposing pyramidal fortress, among other things, under construction.
Interiors is an online film and architecture journal, published by Mehruss Jon Ahi and Armen Karaoghlanian. Interiors runs an exclusive column for ArchDaily that analyzes and diagrams films in terms of space. Their Official Store will carry exclusive prints from these posts.
There has been much said and written about the use of the long take in Alejandro González Iñárritu’s Birdman (2014), and how its filmmakers stitched together numerous long shots in an attempt to make the majority of the film feel like a continuous scene. The film follows (literally) its protagonist, Riggan Thomson (Michael Keaton), an actor past his prime, as he plans his career comeback with a stage production.
Emmanuel Lubezki seems the ideal collaborator for the director’s vision. The cinematographer, known for his extended takes in films such as Y Tu Mamá También (2001), Children of Men (2006) and Gravity (2013), has made use of the technique as a way of bringing audiences closer to the action. Birdman is the culmination of his experimentation with the form, bringing together these ideas and creating an immersive experience with a sense of urgency.
The film, of course, uses digital effects and editing as a way of creating its illusion. Birdman’s cuts are hidden between instances of darkness, made possible through the work of production designer Kevin Thompson, who started his work by mapping out the entire film on a floor plan of the sets.
The architecture of containment is a fascinating area. The spartan utilitarian spaces of prisons are among the most highly considered, sophisticated and expensive there are. It’s unusual for designers to create spaces for people who experience it against their will (well, mostly) and it is a tricky balance between creating sensitive, positive places for rehabilitation and community expectations about what punishment should look like. There are different approaches around the world: the US take a particular stance; the Norwegians have another. Hollywood, of course, has its own interpretation. And it is not concerned by such trivialities as the Geneva Convention.
In 1954 British sculptor Henry Moore was commissioned to design and install a large wall relief into Joost Boks' new bouwcentrum (Construction Centre) in the Dutch city of Rotterdam. The project, pieced together with approximately 16,000 hand-carved Dutch bricks, stands as the sculptor's only work completed in the humble material. In a short documentary film produced by ARTtube, architectural historian Wouter Vanstiphout narrates the fascinating story behind Wall Relief No.1.
In an essay and accompanying mini-documentary film by Ellis Woodman for The Architectural Review, Siza's iconic Quinta da Malagueira housing estate (1973-1977) in Évora, Portugal, is comprehensively explored and examined with a refreshingly engaging critical weight. Rather than develop multi-story housing in the sensitive landscape around the city, Siza proposed "a plan that distributed the programme between two fields composed of low-rise terraced courtyard houses." As a result, the arrangement of these structures adjust to the "undulating topography ensuring that the narrow, cobbled streets along which the houses are distributed always follow the slope."
As is made clear in the film (above), one of the remarkable aspects about the Quinta da Malagueira estate is that it is "governed by a third layer of infrastructure" which takes the form of "an elevated network of conduits that distributes water and electricity [...] much in the manner of a miniature aqueduct." For Siza, this was a logical move as it provided the cheapest means of distributing utilities around the complex. Woodman ultimately concludes that "Siza’s work at Malagueira invites a reading less as a fixed artefact and rather as one episode in the site’s ongoing transformation."
Film often makes a mockery of architectural features. Glass facades are obliterated by gunfire, grisly murders are set against a white modernist palette, deconstructed stairs are the cause of nasty accidents or ludicrous slapstick, and you just know a tensile fabric roof will be shredded by the time 007 is finished with it.
There is one architectural feature however that has benefited from very complimentary treatment by the film industry, and surprisingly it is a sustainable one. Green roofs and other “architectural” green spaces have been popping up regularly in mainstream movies over the past decade: blockbusters including The Vow (2012) and Source Code (2011) utilized the greenscape outside Gehry's Jay Pritzker Pavilion in Millennium Park; last year the Vancouver Convention Centre was featured in both Godzilla and Robocop; and Kaspar Schroder’s 2009 uber cool documentary My Playground, about the sport of parkour (the art of bouncing off buildings made famous by the opening scenes of Casino Royale), features BIG’s Mountain Dwellings in Copenhagen. And we cannot forget two of the biggest film franchises in history: both of Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit franchises feature green roofs in their portrayal of Hobbiton – home of the virtuous and incorruptible Hobbits.
In 1970 the BBC followed architects Alison and Peter Smithson through the construction of their seminal housing project, Robin Hood Gardens (London). The impact of their architecture continues to resonate well into the 21st century, most recently in the British Pavilion at the 2014 Venice Biennale. Robin Hood Gardens was demolished in 2013, bringing an end to the Smithson's utopian vision. Listen to Alison Smithson explain the European Housing Condition (as the vision stood in 1970), the state of British infrastructure as it was, and hear Peter Smithson discuss the impetus for their most famous collective housing project.