The Architecture & Design Film Festival is making its third-annual stop in Chicago from April 12-16, at the Music Box Theatre on the city’s north side. (Our sister publication, ARCHITECT, is one of the festival sponsors.) The 31-film menu includes documentaries, features, and shorts from 13 countries, with one U.S. premiere and 12 first-showings for Chicago. Films are divided among 15 categories, with tickets sold on a by-program basis. Plus, a to-be-announced selection of industry leaders will hold panel discussions on design and building topics, free for festival attendees.
Even if you can’t make it to the Windy City, check out a few films that caught our eye:
American Homes (Program 2: Mission Statements) offers 12 minutes of animated drawings that depict the evolution of living spaces overlaid with narration from architecture experts and thought leaders. The speaker’s list packs a punch with The New York Times design columnist, Allison Arieff; Architecture for Humanity co-founder and executive director, Cameron Sinclair; Sci-Arc director, Eric Owen Moss; and practicing architect and Yale University School of Architecture dean, Robert A.M. Stern.
In Passive Passion (Program 8: Architect of Dreams), filmmaker Charlie Hoxie focuses on a group of Passive House enthusiasts who are looking to spur momentum for a building standard that’s already gaining ground in Europe.
Minka (Program 13: Biophilic Design: The Architecture of Life) tracks the relationship between American journalist John Roderick, Japanese university student Yoshihiro Takishita, and the abandoned farmhouse, or “minka,” that enmeshed their lives. The project, which required moving the structure from the Japanese Alps to the Tokyo suburbs in the late 1960s, prompted Takishita’s lifelong interest in rehabbing similar structures and helped to define the terms “family” and “home” for the two men.
The Pruitt-Igoe housing project in St. Louis (Program 5: The Pruitt-Igoe Myth) has been revived for a commentary on the idealism, subsequent neglect, and compounding mythology that was party to its destruction. Built in 1956 and once dubbed “the poor man’s penthouse,” it becomes a proxy discussion for the evolution of the post-World-War-II American City.
Robert A.M. Stern: 15 Central Park West and the History of the New York Apartment House (Program 14) tracks the development of the luxury apartment genre signature to New York’s Upper East Side, centering on the spectral of the area’s latest addition. The film—set to the rhythmic Gershwin in the background—shows historic and contemporary photos, drawings, and footage to help capture the gilded splendor that has charmed area visitors and residents since the early 20th century.