Screenings: 2013 Architecture & Design Film Festival

ny2013_right_resize2Now in its fifth year, the Architecture & Design Film Festival will take over Tribeca Cinemas October 16th through the 20th to showcase 25 feature-length and short films ranging from biopics on a specific architect or building to documentaries chronicling neighborhood change. In addition to the Q&As that follow most programs, the festival will host three panels piecing together themes from the films on screen. Download the schedule and get more information on the full slate of programs and films on the Festival website, but first take a look below for some of the films Urban Omnibus readers might particularly enjoy.

Program 1: The Human Scale
9:15pm | October 16th | Q&A with Andreas Dalsgaard
9:30pm | October 16th | Q&A with Andreas Dalsgaard

The Human Scale (directed by Andreas Dalsgaard) explores the work of Danish Architect Jan Gehl who has spent 40 years studying how humans use streets, how they walk, see, rest, meet, and interact, inspiring the reorganization of streets at the human scale with walking streets and bike paths across the world. The short Skyscape (directed by Yoram Savion, Kash Gaines, and Ben Tarquin) is a snippet of the work of YAK FILMS, a international production team documenting the global dance movement in the urban environment. Here, YAK displays a selection of the original pieces performed and filmed at some of the work sites operated by Sciame Construction Co. around New York City, pairing urban dance with urban design and architecture. A Q&A with Director Andreas Dalsgaard will follow.

Program 2: The Vision of Paolo Soleri
7:15pm | October 19th | Q&A with Lisa Scafuro, Will Bruder, and Will Wright
5:00pm | October 20th | Q&A with Lisa Scafuro, Will Bruder, and Will Wright

The Vision of Paolo Soleri (directed by Lisa Scafuro) charts the artistic quest of the Italian-American architect, environmentalist, and philosopher, posing questions about mankind’s future and architecture in a world facing environmental, social, and economic crisis. The documentary is paired with the short Building is People (directed by Lyndon Lorenz), which celebrates the people and processes that make communities happen in the metropolis of tomorrow. Following the films, Director Lisa Scafuro, architect Will Bruder, and designer Will Wright will be on hand for a Q&A.

Program 4: My Brooklyn
9:30pm | October 17th | Q&A with Kelly Anderson
9:30pm | October 19th | Q&A with Kelly Anderson

Kelly Anderson’s My Brooklyn documents the makeover of downtown Brooklyn’s Fulton Mall as small businesses are displaced by chain retail and luxury condos and identifies the specific policies that drive seemingly natural neighborhood change. For more on the film, check out Daniel Rojo’s review from 2012. Following the feature, enjoy the short Grow Dat Youth Farm (directed by Chuck Olsen and Susan Marks), which highlights the work of a farm in New Orleans that uses growing and cooking food to nurture a diverse group of young leaders. Stick around for a Q&A with My Brooklyn director Kelly Anderson after the films.

Program 10: Social Life of Small Urban Spaces
3:00pm | October 19th | Q&A with Alexis Taylor

In a throwback screening, the festival pairs Social Life of Small Urban Spaces, William “Holly” Whyte’s highly influential film that analyzes the success and failures of urban spaces by observing the way people move through them, with Subject, Theory, Practice: An Architecture of Creative Engagement (directed by Adam Nathaniel Furman), a short film exploring what it means to cultivate depth as a developing designer and architect in the 21st century. The screenings will be followed by a Q&A with Alexis Taylor of the Municipal Art Society.

Program 13: Helsinki Music Centre
5:30pm | October 17th
7:15pm | October 20th

Helsinki Music Centre – Prelude (directed by Matti Reinikka and Milsa Latikka) provides an overview of the creation of the complex that gives the film its name, composed of a 1,700-seat concert hall home to the Finnish Radio Symphony and the Helsinki Philharmonic, five smaller concert halls, and an academy for the promising Finnish musicians of the future. The architects aimed to build the project in harmony with its urban surroundings while creating a world-class facility, sparking debate over its high cost along the way — a similar discussion that the Architectural League examines in its new report Success Looks Different Now aNew York and other cities around the world embark on high-priced capital construction for cultural institutions and sports teams.

Program 15: If You Build It
8:15pm | October 18th

If You Build It (directed by Patrick Creadon) follows designer-activists Emily Pilloton and Matthew Miller to rural Bertie County, the poorest county in North Carolina, where they work with local high school students through a year-long design and build project that not only teaches basic construction skills but empowers the students to reinvent their town. For more on the potential for art, design, and skill building used to empower youth and improve communities, check out our recent features Local Connections: The Red Hook WiFi Project and Young New Yorkers: Restorative Justice through Public Art.


Jonathan Tarleton is a writer, activist, and urbanist with aspirations to contribute to a more sustainable and inclusive urban environment. He is a digital editorial assistant at The Architectural League and has made his way to Brooklyn from his roots in Georgia and North Carolina.

Jonathan Tarleton is a former editor of Urban Omnibus.

The views expressed here are those of the authors only and do not reflect the position of The Architectural League of New York.