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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.