Still of Frank Gehry in *Building Justice,* dir. Ultan Guifoyle.
Photo: Courtesy of ADFF

5 Standouts at the Architecture & Design Film Festival

The tenth edition of ADFF explores architecture’s untold stories, from Frank Gehry’s investigation of prison design to the post-9/11 life of the Twin Towers’ engineer

The tenth edition of the Architecture & Design Film Festival opens tonight at the SVA Theater and Cinépolis Chelsea in New York—and it isn’t just for architecture buffs. This year’s films go far beyond just showcasing beautiful buildings; they delve into the personal trials of history’s game-changing architects and explore the often-overlooked social and ecological impact of today’s innovators. With a lineup that includes over 30 feature-length and short films, ADFF is the largest festival of its kind in the U.S. Here, we’ve picked five standouts you won’t want to miss.

Leslie E. Robertson with a sketch of the World Trade Center. Photo: Courtesy of ADFF

1. Leaning Out
Directed by Basia and Leonard Myszynski

This moving documentary steps into the journey of Leslie E. Robertson, tracing his journey from the young engineer who oversaw the construction of the World Trade Center in the 1970s to the human rights advocate he became following the towers’ collapse on 9/11.

From Mies on Scene: Barcelona in Two Acts, dir. Xavi Campreciós and Pep Martin. Photo: Courtesy of ADFF

2. Mies on Scene: Barcelona in Two Acts
Directed by Xavi Campreciós and Pep Martin

A pair of Spanish directors endeavor to unveil the history of Ludwig Mies van der Rohe’s iconic German Pavilion, designed for the Barcelona International Exhibition of 1929. Today, the structure—which disappeared for over 50 years following its controversial disassembly—remains one of many architects’ greatest influences.

From Enough White Teacups, dir. Michelle Carpenter. Photo: Courtesy of ADFF

3. Enough White Teacups
Directed by Michelle Bauer Carpenter

Carpenter follows Danish nonprofit INDEX in its mission to harness sustainable design for community revitalization, blindness prevention, land mine destruction, vaccine delivery, and more.

Recommended: New York Dealer Paul Kasmin Expands His Empire

Still of Frank Gehry in Building Justice, dir. Ultan Guifoyle. Photo: Courtesy of ADFF

4. Building Justice
Directed and produced by Ultan Guifoyle

Architect Frank Gehry’s investigation of prison design uncovers its many flaws, from the worst American prisons to the much more accommodating prisons of Norway, widely considered to be the world’s most successful.

The Botín Centre by Renzo Piano in Santander, Spain. Photo: Courtesy of ADFF

5. Renzo Piano: Architect of Light
Directed by Carlos Saura

Saura follows the brilliant architect Renzo Piano through the design of the Botín Centre in Santander, Spain, in a documentary that ultimately captures the dynamism of Piano’s creative process.

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