This week, the annual film extravaganza explores A&D’s big personalities – like David Adjaye and Bjarke Ingels – and bigger issues, like disaster-proof architecture and urban displacement.
The Architecture & Design Film Festival, which kicks off tonight in New York’s Chelsea neighbourhood, boasts an impressive lineup of over 30 features and short films, curated by festival founder Kyle Bergman. The program hits all the right notes, from whimsical and inspirational to thought-provoking and soulful, exploring trailblazing practitioners and innovative projects as well as the social and political effects of place-making in today’s world.
On the cerebral side, many films explore how architecture and urban planning can dramatically change the course of the future – for the better or the worse. “The Dryline” depicts how Rebuild by Design, an initiative of the Hurricane Sandy Rebuilding Task Force and HUD, responded to the superstorm’s aftermath with bold and progressive solutions to protect New York and New Jersey from catastrophic weather in the years to come. “The Land of Many Palaces” explores the disheartening side of modernization; it follows the plight of farmers being pressured by the government to relocate to new urban centres, such as Ordos – which had an ambitious masterplan but has since turned into a ghost city.
For a hit of inspiration, there are several documentaries that spend time with the world’s most creative minds in architecture. In “David Adjaye – Collaborations: A portrait of the architect through the eyes of others” the British-Ghanaian architect’s work – which includes the upcoming National Museum of African American History and Culture – is viewed through the lens of his interdisciplinary relationships with artists, curators and writers. In “Experimenting Architecture: Hagy Belzberg,” the Santa Monica-based architect and designer discusses his innovative use of materials and technology. And in “Worldcraft: Bjarke Ingels (Future of Storytelling 2014),” the Danish architect-of-the-moment asks the world to dream big with him – how else could you come up with something as wild as the proposed Google campus?
Buildings also make star turns. “Strange and Familiar: Architecture on Fogo Island” focuses in on the world-renowned and AZ Award–winning project in Newfoundland and Labrador by entrepreneur Zita Cobb and architect Todd Saunders. And “The W.I.N.D. House” follows architect Ben van Berkel’s process in realizing a Dutch couple’s dream abode – an ambitiously eco-sensitive smart home at that.
Then there’s the short and sweet. In the vibrantly animated “5 Sure Signs Your Parents Were Architects,” Torill Kove – who received an Oscar nomination in 2015 for “Me and My Moulton” – illustrates her idiosyncratic childhood. Hint: if you get a scale model of the Rockefeller Center as a toy, wear clothes fashioned out of Marimekko fabrics and live in a home filled with Scandinavian chairs, you might be the offspring of Norwegian architects.
The seventh edition of the Architecture & Design Film Festival will be held in two new Chelsea locations: the SVA Theatre for Opening Night (Oct 13) and the Bow Tie Chelsea Cinemas for the duration (Oct 14 to 18).