There’s been a flurry of activity in the world of film and architecture this week. Notable LA filmmaker and film critic Thom Andersen released his unconventional documentary Reconversão about last year’s Pritzker Prize-winning architect Eduardo Souto de Moura and their mutual fascination — one you know we share — with abandoned spaces, contemporary ruins and the societal conflicts that create them. Add to that an intriguing Kickstarter for Great Spaces, a web series by four young design enthusiasts exploring the world one space at a time, showed up in our inbox and persuaded us to champion their worthy cause.
To celebrate the very best of multidisciplinary mash-ups, we thought we’d take a look at some of the fantastic films about architects that have been made over the years. From one of the most inspiring films you will ever see about husband-wife creative powerhouse Charles and Ray Eames (notably narrated by our favorite art house badboy James Franco) to Academy Award-winning director Sydney Pollack’s look at America’s design darling, Frank Gehry, click through to check out our picks for must-see films focused on one of the most enigmatic and conflicted characters in the world: the architect.
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Earlier this week you may have read about the theft of seven paintings from the Kunsthal, a museum in Rotterdam. It was a very big deal. Not only were the paintings on loan, but the stolen work — which is estimated to be worth roughly $100 million — included pieces by Monet, Matisse, Gauguin, and… Read More
Cramped, labyrinthine city space can be as alluring as it is claustrophobic. While some people yearn for vast uninterrupted landscapes and stretching horizons, others are drawn to squeeze themselves into an efficiency apartment that’s smaller than the average half-bathroom. With skyrocketing real estate prices and little room left to build in cities like New York or Tokyo, architects have begun to rethink the use of modern urban space.
As most architects, designers, and artists know, limitations can sometimes be much more creatively fruitful than facing endless possibilities. Rather than resort to rebuilding city space, the following seven examples of confined architecture take head on the challenge of limitation. Each of these designs is inspired by efficiency, envisioning novel ways of building around the issue of congestion.
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The shortlist for the prestigious annual RIBA Stirling Prize — which is like the Booker or the Turner, but for British architects — has been announced, and as Rowan Moore at the Guardian points out, the nominated buildings — which include a theatre, a stadium, a cancer center, a laboratory, a bank office, and an art gallery — are all “works that avoid the sugar rush of instant spectacle and which, by holding back a little, help you better experience the arts, drama, landscape or sport in and around them.” Which is not to say that they’re boring, but might explain why Zaha Hadid’s over-the-top, winged Olympic Aquatic Centre didn’t make the cut even though she’s taken home the prize for the past two years running. If you’re in the mood for some lovely (if understated!) visuals, click through to peep the six buildings that will be duking it out come October 13th for bragging rights and a £20,000 purse.
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1. The Flaming Lips and Weezer are planning to play two New York City-area shows together — as in side by side, trading off songs back and forth for the entire length of each concert. We don’t know about you you, but we’d love to see this trend catch on. [via Brooklyn Vegan]… Read More
Business Week has whet our design whistle with a round-up of the world’s most influential designers, a list of 27 luminaries who regularly impress and inspire in the fields of graphic, industrial, and even auto design, from MoMA curator Paola Antonelli to the so-called father of modern video games. Lest you think the premise a bit nebulous, the editors have included a neat little caveat: “Not only is “influential” difficult to measure, but “design” is also nigh on impossible to define neatly.” We’ve rounded up a few personal design heros from the list, after the… Read More
Despite the clunky moniker, we read with interest as The Independent UK rattled off the seven — count ‘em, seven — relevant starchitects in the world, constrasting them with commercial building firm Skidmore, Owings & Merrill. SOM is a workhorse firm (established in 1936) that has put up major projects from Dubai to Beijing including five of the ten tallest buildings in the world — in other words, America’s first “super practice.” What SOM hasn’t hammered down is the je ne sais quoi of its flashier architectural contemporaries. A primer on the heavy hitters after the… Read More
Yesterday the architecture world’s Preacherman, Jonathan Glancey, weighed in on the “what is good design” debate. Glancey — architecture critic for the Guardian — is fed up with computers, dammit. “Many of our new buildings and streetscapes feel increasingly digital rather than real,” he wrote on Building Design. It’s an argument people have been making for years — and it’s wrong.
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“Forget the myths the media’s created… The truth is, these are not very bright guys, and things got out of hand.” So says Deep Throat (Hal Holbrook) to Bob Woodward (Robert Redford) in All the President’s Men, a movie widely regarded as the best political picture of the last thirty some-odd years. It is also, however unintentionally, the finest film about architecture ever made. All those half-lit interiors, those labyrinths! those car parks and corridors and elevators! Oh, the Brutalism!
Director Alan Pakula’s 1976 minor-key masterpiece is a veritable primer for the layperson on late modern architecture, but there’s a valuable lesson in it too for today’s post-post-(post-?)modern architects and the critics who adore and abhor them. If we want to know where to find significant buildings of the ‘00s — or if there aren’t any, why not — we could hardly do better than to listen to Deep Throat. (Only to the pseudonym. Mark Felt sounds like the name of a paid spokesman for prostate medication.)
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