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Studio Gang, Aqua, Chicago

Architecture & Design Film Festival schedule

The ADFF runs May 5–9 at the Gene Siskel Film Center and SCREEN at theWit


All screenings and discussions at Gene Siskel Film Center, 164 N State St, unless specified SCREEN at theWit, 201 N State St ( El: Brown, Green, Orange, Pink, Purple (rush hrs), Red to State/Lake. Bus: 2, 6, 10, 24, 29, 124, 134, 135, 136. Admission to each screening $10; AIA and Chicago Architecture Foundation members $8; students $7; GSFC members $5; SAIC students and faculty, and Art Institute staff $4. Discussions free.

Program 1: How Much Does Your Building Weigh, Mr. Foster? Thu 5 at 8:15, 8:30, 8:45pm (SCREEN at theWit). Mon 9 at 8:15pm. English starchitect Norman Foster, whose projects include the Reichstag in Berlin and London’s “Gherkin,” gets a flattering biopic.

* Program 2: Graphically Speaking Fri 6 at 3pm, Sun 8 (SCREEN at theWit) at 7:30pm. Hillman Curtis’s super-short documentaries about graphic designers Stefan Sagmeister and Paula Scher complement the feature Milton Glaser: To Inform and Delight.

Program 3: Oh Canada! Fri 6 (SCREEN at theWit) at 7:15pm, Sun 8 at 1pm. Citizen Lambert: Joan of Architecture—a documentary about Mies champion and Canadian Center for Architecture founder Phyllis Lambert—is the centerpiece of tonight’s bill. It’s accompanied by “Wilderness Utopia,” a three-minute “fictional prospectus” for the unbuilt town of Hirshhorn, Ontario—designed by Philip Johnson—and the short documentary Twice Upon a Garden, which visits Elsie Reford’s famous Jardins de Métis.

* Program 4: Two to Tango Sat 7 at 3pm, Sun 8 (SCREEN at theWit) at 3:15pm. Contemporary Days: The Designs of Lucienne and Robin Day surveys the long, brilliant careers of the couple often described as England’s Charles and Ray Eames. It’s supplemented by two shorts: “Onion Pinch Baroque Counterpoise,” in which dance and sculpture intersect, and “The Aluminum Chair,” which examines the manufacture of a famous Eames design.

* Program 5: Renegade Redux Fri 6 at 9pm, Sun 8 at 5:30pm. Space, Land and Time: Underground Adventures with Ant Farm appears with the shorts “Subversive Architects” and “Left Behind” (a film shot in Liverpool’s threatened historic Tobacco Warehouse).

* Program 6: Enduring Icons Fri 6 at 5pm, Sat 7 at 1pm. Vincent Scully: An Art Historian Among Architects, a portrait of the longtime Yale scholar, is shown with the shorts “Kimbell Museum, Water and Sky,” and “Saving Lieb House,” which reveals the unconventional fate of a project by Robert Venturi and Denise Scott Brown.

* Program 7: Poetry in Motion Fri 6 (SCREEN at theWit) at 9:15pm, Sun 8 at 6:45pm. Visual Acoustics, an homage to the late architectural photographer Julius Shulman, is paired with the saucy-sounding short “La Petite Maison, an Architectural Seduction.”

* Program 8: Amped and Revamped! Fri 6 at 7pm, Sat 7 at 5:30pm. Kaspar Astrup Schroder’s excellent introduction to parkour, My Playground, appears with Brooklyn-set “Dumpster Pools” and “The Art & Science of Renzo Piano,” which explores the Modern Wing architect’s design for the California Academy of Sciences.

Program 9: Thinking Big Sun 8 at 1pm, Mon 9 at 6pm. Charles Guggenheim’s 1967 documentary Monument to the Dream, which is about the building of St. Louis’s Eero Saarinen–designed Gateway Arch, and Adam Goss and Red Mike’s super-short promo “St. Louis Can Soar,” appear with The Making of the Biennale with Aaron Betsky, a glimpse behind the scenes of the 2008 Venice Architecture Biennale.

* Program 10: Design/Build Sat 7 (SCREEN at theWit) at 7:30pm, Sun 8 at 8:45pm. The moving Citizen Architect: Samuel Mockbee and the Spirit of the Rural Studio accompanies a short about Australian architecture students, “Headspace 1.”

* Program 11: Tower Power! Sat 7 at 9pm, Sun 8 at 4:45pm. Edgar B. Howard and Tom Piper’s “Studio Gang Architects: Aqua Tower” (pictured) visits the Chicago firm’s Brick Weave House and SOS Children’s Village Lavezzorio Community Center as well as its famous skyscraper. The documentary complements The Desert Castle, a film about Norwegian firm Snøhetta’s work in the United Arab Emirates, and Année Zéro’s super-short about a Paris project, “Flower Tower, Edouard Français.”

* Program 12: Public/Private Both SCREEN at theWit, Fri 6 at 5:15pm, Sun 8 at 5:15pm. Helene Klodawsky’s informative Malls R Us appears with the surveillance-themed animation “Big Brother Britain” and the fanciful Italian short “Castrum.”

Program 13: Down Under & Up Sat 7 (SCREEN at theWit) at 3:15pm, Sun 8 at 3pm. The subject of “Peter Stutchbury: Architecture of Place” redesigned the Australian woolshed. That’s probably more practical than anything kooky French designer Philippe Starck, the focus of 43 Columns on Scene in Bilbao, has done. Année Zéro’s snapshot of Paris architecture, “Le Monde, Christian de Portzamparc,” rounds out the program.

Program 14: Adding Color Fri 6 at 4pm, Sat 7 at 5pm. Eye on Prague chronicles the late architect Jan Kaplicky’s (cofounder of Future Systems) controversial last project, a commission for the Czech Republic’s National Library. The doc appears with “White Box,” a super-short about the Japanese firm Sturdy Style.

Program 15: Antwerp Central Sat 7 at 7pm, Mon 9 at 8pm. Peter Krüger’s imaginative film about the Antwerp Central Railway Station delves into centuries of Belgian history, touching on colonialism, the development of high-speed rail and the station’s peculiar proximity to both Antwerp’s diamond district and its municipal zoo.

* FREE Documenting Architecture Fri 6, 5:30–6:30pm. Art Institute of Chicago curator Zoë Ryan moderates this conversation with architects Bjarke Ingels and Iker Gil, and designer Rick Valicenti.

* FREE Design/Build/Learn Sat 7, 3:30–4:30pm. ADFF codirector Kyle Bergman talks about the design/build approach to architecture with IIT professor Frank Flury; Hank Louis, the founder of the DesignBuildBLUFF graduate program, who appears in the ADFF film Citizen Architect; and Vermont-based architect David Sellers.

* FREE Telling Stories Sat 7, 5:30–6:30pm. WTTW’s Geoffrey Baer chats with architect Jeanne Gang; NPR contributor and former Hello Beautiful host Edward Lifson; and Ultan Guilfoyle, whose short film “Kimbell Museum, Water and Sky” appears in the ADFF.

* FREE Objects of Desire Sun 8, 3:30–4:30pm. AIA Chicago executive vice president Zurich Esposito joins Orange Skin owner Obi Nwazota; designer and SAIC prof Tim Parsons; and Richard Wright, founder of Wright auction house, to discuss things we probably can’t afford.

* FREE Filming Architecture Sun 8, 5–6pm. Edward Lifson sits down with former Chicago Reader film critic Jonathan Rosenbaum; Spirit of Space cofounder Red Mike, whose short “St. Louis Can Soar” appears in the ADFF; and Chicago Central Area Committee executive director Lee Bey, who blogs about architecture for WBEZ.

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