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.
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.
Charles and Ray Eames are among the most influential designers of the 20th Century. Enthusiastic and tireless experimenters, this husband and wife duo moved fluidly between the fields of photography, film, architecture, exhibition-making, and furniture and product design. The Eames Office was a hub of activity where they and their collaborators produced a wide array of pioneering designs, communicating their ideas with a boundless creativity that defined their careers. They embraced the joy of trial and error and approached design as a way of life.
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.
When it comes to expensive artforms, architecture undoubtedly tops the list (even if the artistic merits of some of the absolute priciest buildings are sometimes dubious). But what may not be so obvious is that many of architecture’s iconic works have been completed on budgets not so dissimilar to the work of another artistic industry: filmmaking. Each with their own set of merits, works from both categories have transcended time, confirming that (in most cases) they have more than returned on their initial investment.
To illustrate this point, we’ve complied a list of buildings from eras past, paired with movies of similar budgets completed in the same calendar year. Which buildings or movies have contributed the most based on their initial costs?
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.
The visual medium of film has meant that style has always played a significant role in cinema. It’s one of the reasons why film and architecture have gone hand in hand for the past hundred years. In some sense, both mediums display complementary qualities; film as photography captures the structural aspects of architecture, while architectural design dictates cinematic space.
The same can’t be said for television – because even though television has undergone an aesthetic transformation in the past few years, with shows like The Sopranos, Mad Men, Breaking Bad, True Detective, and The Knick, it’s still very much a character-based medium. The format itself allows for the close examination of characters over the course of many hours.
Concrete Love is a film about the Böhm family. Shot at their residence in Cologne, Germany, and on location at their projects—both completed and under construction—around the world, the film's Swiss director, Maurizius Staerkle-Drux, spent two years in close quarters recording scenes and conversations that offer a profound insight into the world of Pritzker Prize-winning architect Gottfried Böhm, the late Elisabeth Böhm, and their three sons.
Read on to be in with a chance of winning a copy of the film.
The city has been explored as a theme in movies since the early days of cinema, appearing as both a setting and a protagonist in films by renowned directors like Fritz Lang, Jean-Luc Godard, François Truffaut, Roberto Rossellini and Quentin Tarantino. In one of the first films ever made, Arrival of a Train at La Ciotat (1925), the Lumière brothers already show the modern urban environment as an important element and part of the contextualization.
Yet the cinema and the city have an extensive relationship, each influencing one another. The influence of architecture (especially modern) in the settings and cities of films can be seen in movies like Jacques Tati’s My Uncle (1958) and Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner (1982), while the influence of cinema in architecture and buildings can be seen in the work of architects like Rem Koolhaas, Jean Nouvel and Bernard Tschumi.
We have compiled a list of 10 films in which the city plays a much more important role than just the mere setting, acting as a true protagonist of the plot.
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.
Three Harvard students have launched a Kickstarter Project to fund a short film and digital exhibition on the Turkmenistan-China gas pipeline, which runs along the historic Silk Road. "From 'Silk Road' to 'Gas Road'" will explore the "cultural, ecological and urban implications" of the 21st century intervention, following the summertime journey of Lu Xiaoxuan, Benny Shaffer, and Justin D. Stern along the pipeline. The project is being carried out through Harvard's Fairbank Center for Chinese studies, and the trio intends to finish filming and photographing for the project this summer.
Learn more about the project and how to support it after the break.
The Listeners Project, a small London-based initiative that works with young filmmakers in unique architectural spaces to develop and create short films, have taken residence in the former BBC Television Centre. The building, designed by Graham Dawbarn of Norman & Dawbarn in the late 1940s, has an iconic plan that resembles a question mark. The centre, which was once the beating heart of the majority of the British Broadcasting Company's television production, was listed in 2009 before it was finally vacated in 2013.
Minimalism has its challenges and for this seven-year-old sibling of two, it’s not for children. Nominated for Best Animated Short Film at the 87th Academy Awards, Me and My Moulton captures the unconventional life and struggles of three kids with modernist architect parents. Watch the trailer above and see what director Torill Kove believes are five sure signs your parents were architects, after the break.
Now, after 130 private screenings in 26 countries, you can watch the official world premiere of Archiculture here on ArchDaily. The 25-minute documentary captures a rare glimpse into studio-based design education, trailing five architecture students throughout their final thesis semester at Brooklyn’s Pratt Institute.
American film director Wes Anderson shares something in common with architects: a love for symmetry. Serving as proof, this kogonada produced video reveals Anderson’s masterful use of symmetry by compiling perfectly centered scenes from his many works.
In recent years, high profile news outlets like The New York Times and CNN have featured architects’ struggles by citing the dire unemployment statistic of 13.9% for recent graduates, the highest of any college major. Many architecture firms are still reluctant to hire new full-time members to their team, and all too often students and recent graduates remain without work. Since approximately 40% of architecture graduates pursue work outside of the architectural profession, and the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB) currently reports 26,850 students enrolled in accredited architecture programs, we can assume that over the following years 10,000 students trained as architects will forge their own path in a variety of other occupations.
One of the most creative, high profile fields that can offer an architect a wide range of positions is the film industry. And, in fact, those with architectural backgrounds have been making the transition into the filmmaking industry for decades. Our timeline showcases a sample of those with an architectural education who have enjoyed enormous success in the filmmaking industry over the last 80 years as actors, set designers, or directors.
You can read more about their stories (including how Jimmy Stewart went from architecture to acting), after the break...
Fifth project of the Living Architectures series, Inside Piano is composed of three films on three symbolic buildings of Renzo Piano's career. A visit throughout the prototype-building of the Centre Pompidou. An immersion in the soundproof world of a submarine floating in the depths of the Parisian underground. A journey aboard a luminous magic carpet of a highly sophisticated architectural machine. A humorous, caustic and quirky point of view.