It’s here again — I can’t wait! Starting Feb. 21 at the National Building Museum, there will be an entire weekend of films dedicated to architecture and design. I basically took a vacation from my family last year to attend as many as I could. And this year is shaping up to be the same.
Here’s a sampling of what you’ll see — starting from my most geeky favorite: A film about the structural engineer who made the World Trade Center buildings so high—and kept them standing for as long as they did on 9/11:
“Leaning Out: An Intimate Look at the Twin Towers Engineer Leslie E. Robertson”
The festival is also featuring films about major architects such as Frank Gehry and Renzo Piano.
Frank Gehry serves as the film festival’s opening-night star, with a film focused on his advocacy for better prison design:
Renzo Piano will later hold forth on the architecture of light itself:
and here’s a study on Mies Van Der Rohe’s Barcelona Pavilion:
I’m also eager to see a documentary about the German industrial designer Dieter Rams, whose work with Braun and Vitsoe influenced the way so many of today’s consumer products look and function.
And while we’re on the topic of design, this film takes on the notion that graphic design can capture the very essence of an entire country: Canada
“To know a country’s graphic design is to know its history” —Wired Magazine
So much of what I write about for magazines is the striving by architects and designers to blend indoor and outdoor space. The Swiss-born Albert Frey counts among the pantheon of architects who pioneered this technique, using the American landscape as his muse and Le Corbusier’s modernism as his method.
I remember so clearly when I was in college, seeing the Berlin Wall coming down through pictures taken by my friends studying abroad and also in newspapers. Portions of those heavily graffitied walls are now in the Newseum here in DC, where I’ve taken my kids. But I never thought about other old communist relics that have been splashed with rebellious tags over the years since they’ve fallen out of use. That’s why I’m excited to see this film:
I fell in love with Dutch design a couple years ago when I went to a design festival in The Hague, but this film explores other Dutch innovations that go way beyond the “white teacups.”
And considering how much my kids are into their video games, I should at least be able to demonstrate that they can be used for legitimate purposes as a life pursuit. This film asks the question, can games change the world?
So now I’ve saved the coolest—AND WEIRDEST—for last: A film about a bunch of artist outliers who built this thing in Santa Fe: