5 Highlights from New York City’s Architecture & Design Film Festival

architecture

At this year’s edition, a run of films shine a light on issues of housing, from the perils of gentrification to the intractable challenge of urban homelessness.

Still from Goff, a film showing during the Architecture and Design Film Festival. Courtesy ADFF

Today marks the kick-off of the 11th Architecture & Design Film Festival (ADFF) in New York City. This year’s festival boasts a roster 25 films strong, running over the course of five days at the Cinépolis Chelsea theater. Thematic content unsurprisingly runs the gamut, but several films dwell on issues of housing.

We highlighted a few films below, but you can find the full listing and schedule on the ADFF website.Architecture of InfinityDir: Chistoph Schaub2018, Switzerland

Within the world of architecture, the boundaries of the “sacred” do not stop at the doors of churches, mosques, and other religious buildings. In his new film, the Swiss filmmaker Christoph Schaub is fairly catholic in his definition of the term as applied to space, finding, for instance, a certain meditative calm in a James Turrell installation. That being said, Schaub’s film does devote screen time to more conventionally denominational houses of worship (though it would be a mistake to call Peter Zumthor’s rural Bruder Klaus Field Chapel conventional).

Architecture of Infinity will be screened in conjunction with the short documentary, James Turrell: You Who Look.

Courtesy ADFFArchitecture of InfinityDir: Chistoph Schaub2018, Switzerland

Within the world of architecture, the boundaries of the “sacred” do not stop at the doors of churches, mosques, and other religious buildings. In his new film, the Swiss filmmaker Christoph Schaub is fairly catholic in his definition of the term as applied to space, finding, for instance, a certain meditative calm in a James Turrell installation. That being said, Schaub’s film does devote screen time to more conventionally denominational houses of worship (though it would be a mistake to call Peter Zumthor’s rural Bruder Klaus Field Chapel conventional).

Architecture of Infinity will be screened in conjunction with the short documentary, James Turrell: You Who Look.

Courtesy ADFFWhat It Takes to Make a HomeDir: Daniel Schwartz2019, Canada

Vienna is known to have the best social housing stock in Europe. Los Angeles has one of the highest homeless populations in North America. What explains the difference in housing policy between the cities? And the overlaps (Vienna, it should be pointed out, still has a high homeless population)? This film, the first in a three-part documentary cycle produced by the Canadian Centre for Architecture (CCA), explores these issues through the work of architects Alexander Hagner and Michael Maltzan. 

Courtesy Canadian Centre for ArchitectureWhat It Takes to Make a HomeDir: Daniel Schwartz2019, Canada

Vienna is known to have the best social housing stock in Europe. Los Angeles has one of the highest homeless populations in North America. What explains the difference in housing policy between the cities? And the overlaps (Vienna, it should be pointed out, still has a high homeless population)? This film, the first in a three-part documentary cycle produced by the Canadian Centre for Architecture (CCA), explores these issues through the work of architects Alexander Hagner and Michael Maltzan. 

Courtesy Canadian Centre for ArchitectureThe Human ShelterDir: Boris Benjamin Bertram2018, Denmark

With climate change threatening the biome, it’s safe to say that the idea of “shelter” has never been as hotly contested as it is now. Migration, not domestic permanence, might become the new law of life. Conversely, already dense megacities will continue to densify, rewiring expectations of privacy in the process. Director Boris Benjamin Bertram traveled the world—from Lagos to Tokyo—to see how, despite these existential disruptions, people nevertheless manage to make a home for themselves.

Courtesy ADFFThe Human ShelterDir: Boris Benjamin Bertram2018, Denmark

With climate change threatening the biome, it’s safe to say that the idea of “shelter” has never been as hotly contested as it is now. Migration, not domestic permanence, might become the new law of life. Conversely, already dense megacities will continue to densify, rewiring expectations of privacy in the process. DirectorBoris Benjamin Bertram traveled the world—from Lagos to Tokyo—to see how, despite these existential disruptions, people nevertheless manage to make a home for themselves.

Courtesy ADFFPUSHDir: Fredrik Gertten2019, Sweden

PUSH investigates the global housing economy through a unique, personal perspective. At the heart of the film is Leilani Farha, UN special rapporteur on adequate housing, who is passionate about taking to task the culprits behind the crisis. Criss-crossing the Atlantic, Farha meets with vulnerable tenants in Barcelona and Toronto, London and New York, all postcard-perfect capitals of the FIRE economy.

The October 19 screening will be followed by a Q&A with Farha.

Courtesy ADFFPUSHDir: Fredrik Gertten2019, Sweden

PUSH investigates the global housing economy through a unique, personal perspective. At the heart of the film is Leilani Farha, UN special rapporteur on adequate housing, who is passionate about taking to task the culprits behind the crisis. Criss-crossing the Atlantic, Farha meets with vulnerable tenants in Barcelona and Toronto, London and New York, all postcard-perfect capitals of the FIRE economy.

The October 19 screening will be followed by a Q&A with Farha.

Courtesy ADFFCity DreamersDir: Joseph Hillel2018, Canada

Women hold up half the sky, true, but they also hold down half the ground. City Dreamers look at four architects and planners who have changed the face of their respective cities. Viewers will be familiar with Denise Scott Brown (Philadelphia) and Phyllis Lambert (Montreal), but they will be excited to learn of the preservationist Blanche Lemco van Ginkel (Montreal/Toronto) and landscape architect Cornelia Hahn Oberlander (Vancouver). 

City Dreamers will be closing ADFF on Sunday, October 20, and will be followed by a Q&A with Lambert, Hillel, and architecture critic Paul Goldberger.

Photo: Ron Milewski 1971; Courtesy CCA – Fonds Phyllis LambertCity DreamersDir: Joseph Hillel2018, Canada

Women hold up half the sky, true, but they also hold down half the ground. City Dreamers look at four architects and planners who have changed the face of their respective cities. Viewers will be familiar with Denise Scott Brown (Philadelphia) and Phyllis Lambert (Montreal), but they will be excited to learn of the preservationist Blanche Lemco van Ginkel (Montreal/Toronto) and landscape architect Cornelia Hahn Oberlander (Vancouver). 

City Dreamers will be closing ADFF on Sunday, October 20, and will be followed by a Q&A with Lambert, Hillel, and architecture critic Paul Goldberger.

Photo: Ron Milewski 1971; Courtesy CCA – Fonds Phyllis Lambert

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