Architecture and Design Film Festival

by Michael Donn

The Resene Architecture & Design Film Festival breaks ground at the Embassy Theatre and Lighthouse Cinema (Cuba & Petone) from 16 May. Check out the programme on the Resene Website or click through for tickets to the Embassy or Lighthouse websites.

The creative team from Art Dept (who are the team behind Island magazine) have curated this collection of documentaries into four categories – the iconoclastic (7 films), design radicals (4), a feminine vision (4), and green-minded (3).

You might like to go to these movies and then discuss the categories and what they say about us. As a starter for those conversations, we offer:

  • after viewing Maurice and I a movie premiering at the Festival focused on Sir Miles Warren and his partner in practice Maurice Mahoney – appropriately listed under the iconoclastic category – what are the costs / benefits of the architecture produced?
  • you could examine the architects who are in the design radicals group and ask about their engagement with the client (for example, I’m hoping to understand a little more about locals’ views of Le Corbusier’s Chandigarh).
  • I am personally wondering why there are no full length films about women architects in the feminine vision group. There is a short, prior to the film about Irish fashion designer turned New York based Interior Designer Clodagh. There is no data in the programme, but after some internet scrolling, it seems German and Russian self-styled auteur. Boris Noir’s short visits the work of Mexican architect Gabriella Cabrillo, Berlin-based architect and university lecturer Johanna Meyer-Grohbrügge and New York architect and Harvard Professor Toshiko Mori. For those wondering Arch Daily has more information here. Are we missing the translation of this interest into feature length film?
  • I always like to come away from green presentations understanding how my friends and I could apply the ideas in everyday life. Under this topic, I have to attend the Rem Koolhaas movie amongst the three listed. I still get chills from my initial excitement at the depth of building science acumen displayed in the design of his Casa da Musica in Porto, Portugal; followed by horror at our architecture student tour guide’s assertion that it was 10 times (!) over budget, and over a year late as the centrepiece of Porto’s celebration as the City of Culture for Europe.
    If that movie fails to excite, it is accompanied by the Festival’s first film in te reo: filmmaker Miriama Toms’ documentary Tūhononga: Co-occupying with Earth and Sky “explores the use of Māori narratives to create architecture that co-exists with more-than-human entities like Ranginui, Papatūānuku and Tāwhirimātea”.