Urbanization in Turkey

Csaba Jelinek

Agoraphobia (Imre Azem, 2013, 53’)
Sunday March 9 – 15:30
Overdrive: Istanbul in the New Millennium (Aslihan Unaldi, 2011, 75’)
Sunday March 9 – 17:30

“They are changing the whole world. But they, the rich, they cannot take that all, that cannot be!” – says an old lady whose land and house, where she lived for the past fifty years, will soon be expropriated. We are in the suburbs of Bursa, in West-Turkey, where the interview was made, during a four-day study visit involving half a dozen urbanists familiarizing with city developments of Ankara, Bursa and Istanbul. In Imre Azem’s film, Agoraphobia, we are becoming policy tourists for four days to understand complex processes – namely Turkish city renewal practices, and related social, economic and political procedures, through “site visits” and “expert meetings”. An analysis of such a study visit, in itself, and of the potential knowledge gained through it, would be quite an important task.

It is not easy to focus on these meta-questions though, since the urbanization issues and public policies in matter, are amazingly complex and interesting in themselves. For the first glance, we face a similar modernization project that has redrawn the images of socialist cities of Western Europe: 15-20- storey buildings rise in quarters where one-level buildings did earlier; suburbs are replaced with the good old panel block housing aesthetics. Participants, mainly from the Netherlands, cannot resist comparing Turkish city rehabilitation projects to those in the beginning of the century, in the Netherlands. It slowly turns out, that nothing is, as it seems: “slums” sentenced to demolition do not turn out unlivable. “Social housing”, as it appear in official documents, means condos for previous tenants with a huge mortgage in reality. So-called “city regeneration” projects are more likely to be drastic interventions of bulldozers. And despite the facts, that the volume and costs of almost half a million apartments, having been built by a state owned organization called TOKI, resembling to the housing investments in Eastern and Western Europe after the Second World War; their realization, organizational and political frameworks significantly differ from them. We cannot ignore dissimilar social contexts, demographic tendencies, political intentions and Turkey’s position in global world economics.

Although the situation presented in the film is globally known – including disappearance of public spaces, the crash of interests of market philosophy and low-status city dwellers, it is important to map local peculiarities and local terms of resistance. It is worth “co-watching” Aslihan Unaldi’s film, Overdrive that introduces housing in Istanbul and other city conflicts including consequences of global warming, matters of city (public) transport, and how such problems are embedded in historical narratives. After watching the two films, we may have a better understanding on the background of the ongoing urbanization boom in Turkey.  Furthermore, we may learn a lot of the motivations of the country-wide growing oppositional movement, rooted in the protests on Taksim square, accompanied by a thorough media cover.

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Away from all suns!

Samu Szemerey

Film: Away from all suns! (Isabella Willinger, 2013, 77’)
Sunday 9 March – 20:00

The short period of Russian Constructivism was a unique experiment to create a new architecture. The movement, which declined with the rise of Stalin’s cultural propaganda, set out to create the forms and spaces of modern society and the optimistic visions of progress. Its program was as radically new as its uncompromising aesthetics: housing compounds with kindergartens and canteens, public buildings with libraries and theatres showed the changing social roles of women, children and workers.

This unprecedented heritage exists today mostly in ruins. Embedded in Moscow’s urban tissue the living units, printworks, workers clubs and schools shown in Isa Willinger’s documentary still stand as uncanny mementos of a once envisioned, fantastic future. Their modernity is at once heroic, intimate and tragic, evoking Nietzsche’s comments on a world after the death of God, but also mankind’s unquenchable momentum and optimism in its quest for the future.

Today’s occupants may fight against their buildings, or for actually saving them. The film shows the fates of utopias called home, the experiments of domesticity, and the calling out of the forgotten future’s ghosts by rebuilding the futurist opera Victory over the Sun. The manifestos of one of the most significant periods of architecture in the last century seem today just as timely and radical as ever.

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Japanese architecture before and after the bubble

Balázs Irimiás

Films: Nakagin Capsule Tower: Japanese metabolist landmark on the edge of destruction (Yamazaki Rima, 2010, 58’); Intercalary spaces (Damien Faure, 2012, 50’)
Saturday 8 March – 21:00

The Nakagin Capsule tower is a landmark of Japanese architecture; even those know it, for which metabolism does not extend beyond their own diet. They might not remember its name, only the iconic 3D dominos hidden behind a highway in Tokyo.

The movement that pinned Japanese architecture onto the world map – Metabolism – had the power of joint thinking, joint dreaming and joint vision of built environment, popping up during the accelerated post-war mass construction, possibly in response to the largely futile architectural attitude of the era. These visions usually stay on the planning desk, unless they emerge during exceptional economic growth periods. Not incidentally the oil economies of the Middle East were utterly fascinated by the movement, nonetheless Japan remained the place for most practical realizations. Nakagin Capsule, the Japanese Metabolist icon is now on the verge of demolishing.

Prominent theoreticians worldwide have referred to this Japanese golden era of architecture from the sixties ever since. Being unique, as a group of courageous and experienced architects mutually proliferating each other, came up with their dreams of futuristic grandeur collectively.

The object representing the central philosophy of Metabolism is the brainchild of their youngest member that time, Kisho Kurokawa. He regarded the Nakagin capsules a sine qua non of Metabolism, going to extremes in saving it from being vanished (he bought 8 capsules himself) disregarding economical and maintenance feasibility.

Now, as the destruction becomes an utter menace, the movie goes after the human aspect. I won’t promise a U-turn, nonetheless it will take the most radical conservationists for a short trip to the other side at least.

Urban gaps

Extension of living spaces to the public realm, siege of the public domain are getting more of an issue in Hungary nowadays. But Japan is the country where it has been up for many decades, due to their population density, cultural background and their worldview.

These ideas gain popularity during economic crisis rather than economic growth – like what we are experiencing right now.

The French documentary lines up some unexpected characters – the self-taught insectologist, the ornithologist or the PE teacher – next to the architect experts of omnipresent and functioning nanoscale city spaces, proving all the same. These tiny gaps in the urban fabric deserve our attention, even if we are not necessarily aware of their existence.

The segment of contemporary Japanese architects who design multi-storey residences on land that was left behind, being too small for a bicycle parking, express their views, like the founders of Atelier Bow-wow or Life & Shelter, who are credible and passionate on their field. The unmaintained urban gaps are important, they are part of our closet, check the movies, they are actually beautiful.


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Venice: the last days of a city

Bálint Kádár

Film: The Venice syndrome (Andreas Pichler, 2012, 80’)
Sunday 9 March – 17:30

Venice is a strong brand today, a must-see destination, and big business. It is a must see place, and all are coming to see it. All those tourists rarely think about how a city of 200,000 inhabitants in its glory days can support 21 million visitors each year. It cannot. Today we reached the moment when the number of tourists arriving to Venice each day outnumbers the 58,000 locals still resident here. The danger is evident, if one recognizes that a city is not merely the aggregate of all the buildings, statues, streets and canals, but the community of people creating, developing and maintaining these spaces and artefacts. That is, the culture of the city. The film visits some of the inhabitants of the city, to show what have remained of the culture of Venice, how real urban life becomes impossible under the pressure of mass-tourism. The creator is consumed by its magnificent creation.

Tourists do not have a leading role in the movie of Andreas Pichler. We can have a precious insiders look into the real Venice, to be feared that it will be a last one. The main discourses are about the closing of the central post office, the difficult situation of the famous Rialto fish market, the moving of parts of medical care to the mainland, and of the difficulties to buy milk in the neighbourhood. Some organize demonstrations, some sign petitions, but all faces carry some kind of resigned sadness. To all these people the “terraferma” – mainland is alien world, but they cannot resist the high rents and ceasing services. A dissolving community leaves behind only a desert of souvenir shops and holiday apartments. The scale of mass-tourism compared to the possibilities of locals correlates well to the scale of the luxury cruiser ships invading the views of the Venetian palaces.

The old gondolier, the removal man with his boat, the tourist guide or the musicians rented for serenades all watch with incomprehension the take-away tourists, and the mere headway of superficiality and mass consumption in this industry – the only one left. The acclaimed writer and landscape architect Trudy Sammartini cries out a quiet fulmination: “Barbarians”! According to present tendencies the last inhabitant will leave Venice in 2030: the thousand year old culture will then fall in the hands of barbarians definitively.

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The beauty of delusion

Dániel Kovács

Film: Precise poetry: Lina Bo Bardi’s architecture (Belinda Rukschcio, 2013, 55’)
Satudray 8 March – 17:00

Architecture is the answer to all the problems of humanity. Lina Bo Bardi’s work is based on that theory. She is the same age as modernity: born in 1914, the year of the Werkbund exhibition, in Cologne. She started her career in her home country, in Italy. Though Precise Poetry is a film on her life’s work, directed by her sixty years younger German colleague, Belinda Rukschcio; it is focusing entirely on Bardi’s Brazilian works. Lina and her husband arrived to Brazil in 1946 where they both made a great career – she as an architect while he as a museologist and art historian. Lina’s first plan (actually built in 1951), was Casa de Vidro, also shown in the movie, their home with her husband, a glass building standing on columns in the outskirts of Sao Paolo, just 2 years after Philip Johnson’s similar, renown building was built. The villa itself, once so visible, is hard to find today: Bardi re-afforested the property that was a tea-land previously, thus it feels like being in the woods behind the glass walls.

Though the film begins with Bardi’s famous work, the new building of Sao Paolo’s art museum (managed by Bardi’s husband at that time), the small villa tells a lot more about the architect’s personality: her faith in modern ideas and her distinctive spirit. That building had an important role in the intellectual life of the 1950’ of São Paulo: all the important people were invited to Sunday lunches. Like during those years back then, Bardi is becoming Lina within these very moments of the film. According to stories told by both clients and former colleagues – almost all of them are men – a picture of a rather autocratic, abstract minded figure of a woman is drawn who was also sensitive to practical issues – a true character of the 20th century.

And that is the biggest merit of the film. It does not aim to understand most of the buildings she designed, not even those that strongly contributed to the Lina-myth: such as the asymmetrical, punched, concrete silos of SESC Pompeia. In the meantime, during those long monologues, some really important things have been told, among others, references to the ideological aspects of Lina’s art. Who would dare to identify with that as an architect these days? Architecture is the answer to all problems of humanity. Lina Bo Bardi’s work is based on that statement, and it is nonetheless valuable, though we know: this statement is false.

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One big step

Réka Kovács

Film: Space Metropoliz (Fabrizio Boni, Giorgio de Finis, 2013, 100’)
Friday March 7 – 21:00

Talking seems to rule this film a bit too much! The voluble Italian speech of this many contributors puts our ability of reading subtitles to the test, and as the story goes on, we can sweat more and more about missing some important details. Because it is not only the words that flow, but the excellent thoughts and ideas of these people, one better than the other. Avoiding any bullshit, there is always a new twist, point of view or truth that keeps forcing our stunned minds to come to the right conclusions. In the meantime the narrative is just being interpreted in Film Language with a great sense of proportion.

First of all, these Romans are very adorable. They declare a space program for a community on the margins, and everyone’s daily routine from the sax player to the philosopher, the radical ufologist, the acrobat, the architect, the astronomer, the artist, the performer and the facepainter girl gets into service. The purpose is a safe landing and a happier life on the Moon. By watching the enthusiasm of the organizers and the inhabitants of Metropoliz (Tor Sapienza district, Roma) about the project, considering their moon landing as a mere fake seems absurd. While Marco brings rocket models to perfection, Andrea designs a launch scaffolding, Daniel jumps into a spacesuit with ease and takes a moonwalk, Giuliano hangs out with the Moon rabbit and Cobol programs intelligent robots, there are unknown civilizations fighting in the kitchen, and delicious couscous being prepared. „A small step for mankind, yet a long trip for those who live on the other side of the city”, says the narrator right, when the company takes a bus to visit the planetarium. „You cannot go to the Moon with no money”, says a sceptic guy right at the start, and his sentence echoes on our minds from time to time, just as the famous quote.

However, this mixed colony of the abandoned salami factory had faced the lack of money and other troubles so many times that some mission to the Moon cannot beat them. The wide perspective that the project opens to them proves to be a good motivation to proceed. The reward for their efforts (and ours, who kept reading) is realizing that the completely new establishment based on the common good, in which refusing immigrants or the outcast is an absurdity – indeed can exist. The time of setting up national flags triumphantly on the surface of the Moon is over.

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112 films submitted

Thanks for everyone! We are working on the 2014 programme, news coming soon…


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Call for entries

6th Budapest Architecture Film Days, March 2014

Deadline: 31th October, 2013.

Do you have a film on architecture? The Budapest Architecture Film Days is now accepting submissions for its 6th edition to be held in Budapest in March 2014. We are looking for works in all genres, forms and lengths related to design, architecture and built environment. Entry is free.

The mission of the film festival is to generate a dialogue between architectural practice that finds inspiration in cinema, and cinema borrowing its subjects from architecture and the city. For more information about the festival please visit www.kek.org.hu/filmnapok/en. For related questions please contact filmnapok@kek.org.hu.

Please find the steps of submitting a film below:

1 – Fill out the online submission form
2 – Send your film via an online file-transferring platform (dropbox, wetrasfer, etc.) to filmnapok@kek.org.hu

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Gyakornoki felhívás

A Kortárs Építészeti Központ gyakornokot keres, heti 1-2 napos rendszeres munkavégzésre a  Budapesti Építészeti Filmnapok 2014-es kiadásának megvalósításához, rugalmas időbeosztásban.

Amit szeretünk:
– nyitottság és rugalmasság
– jó kommunikációs készség
– magabiztos angol nyelvtudás
– érdeklődés az építészet, design iránt

Várható feladatok:
– internetes adatgyűjtés, adatrendszerezés, fordítás
– kommunikáció, kapcsolattartás filmforgalmazókkal
– irodán kívüli feladatok (szórólapozás, plakátelhelyezés)
– részvétel a kommunikációs és közönségkapcsolati feladatokban

Honoráriumot nem tudunk fizetni, de a gyakornoki program során betekintést nyerhetsz a fesztivál működésébe, megismerheted a programszervezés és a kommunikációs munka rejtelmeit, és megnézheted az összes vetített filmet. Az elejétől fogva csapattagnak tekintünk és fontos, érdemi feladatokban vehetsz részt.

Építész, művészettörténész, szociológus, kulturális és design menedzser hallgatók (vagy már végzettek) jelentkezését várjuk, illetve bárkiét, akit érdekel a téma. A jelentkezést a filmnapok@kek.org.hu címre küldd szeptember 15-ig!

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May 27: Vacant Films: Torre David and Unfinished Italy

KÉK presents the next event of the Spring Architecture Film Series:
Vacant Films: Torre David and IUnfinished Italy
May 27., 8pm, Müszi (1085 Budapest, Balaha Lujza tér 1.)

Torre David

2013, 22 mins, colour, Venezuelan film with English subtitles

R: Urban-Think Tank

Torre David, a 45-story office tower in Caracas designed by the distinguished Venezuelan architect Enrique Gómez, was almost complete when it was abandoned following the death of its developer, David Brillembourg, in 1993 and the collapse of the Venezuelan economy in 1994. Today, it is the improvised home of a community of more than 750 families, living in an extra-legal and tenuous occupation that some have called a vertical slum. Urban-Think Tank, spent a year studying the physical and social organization of this ruin-turned-home. Where some only see a failed development project, U-TT has conceived it as a laboratory for the study of the informal. This film is a call to arms to architects and everyone – to see in the informal settlements of the world a potential for innovation and experimentation, with the goal of putting design in the service of a more equitable and sustainable future.

Befejezetlen Itália

2010, 33 mins, colour, Italian film with English subtitles
D: Benoit Felici

In his diploma film the young director tells us about hundreds of public buildings left unfinished, embodying a unique architectural style throughout Italy. The uncompleted buildings were left behind by an era uncertain about its future and loaded with political corruption, but getting beyond their physical borders – these buildings have become the new scenes of human ingenuity. The unfinished as the source of creativity is without doubt worth being screened, now as a journey through Italy. The film has won student awards and was announced as winner in the category of short films or documentary at several film festivals in the last two years.

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May 6: Small and Smart: Contemporary Slovenian Architecture on Film

KÉK presents the next event of the Spring Architecture Film Series:
Small and Smart: Contemporary Slovenian Architecture on Film
May 6., 7pm, Kino (1137 Budapest, Szent István krt 16.)

The Slovenian Museum of Architecture and Design (MAO) in cooperation with the Institute for Architecture and Culture (ARK) prepared a series of short films on contemporary Slovenian architecture. The six films will be introduced by lectures of Jeff Bickert, the project’s curator (ARK) and Dr. Petra Čeferin (director of ARK).


The features buildings:
Terrace houses on Jurčkova Street, Ljubljana, 2099 – architect: Jože Peterkoč
House D, Ljubljana, 2005–2008 – Bevk Perović Architects
Waste recycling plant, Pivka, 2005–2007 – Dekleva Gregorič Architects
Square and open-air altar, Brezje, 2005–2008 – architects: Maruša Zorec and Martina Tepina
Biotechnology Faculty, Ljubljana, 2006–2010 – architects: A biro
Stožice Sports Park, Ljubljana, 1997–2010 – Sadar + Vuga Architects




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April 29: Christoph Draeger & Heidrun Holzfeind: Tsunami Architecture

KÉK presents the next event of the Spring Architecture Film Series:
Christoph Draeger & Heidrun Holzfeind: Tsunami Architecture
60 min, 2012, with English subtitles
April 29, Toldi mozi, 7pm – in presence of the directors


The 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami was one of the worst natural catastrophes in history. While international attention has faded, post-tsunami challenges continue to have an impact on affected communities. In the winter of 2010/2011, Draeger and Holzfeind took a three-month trip to the five countries most affected–Thailand, Aceh/Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Maldives and India– to investigate the current state of architecture built or reconstructed in the aftermath of the tsunami. Using video and photography, the artists documented the long-term effects of the disaster through conversations with survivors, eyewitnesses, aid workers and rescue personnel. 

“We were interested in how the flood of aid money has transformed the affected regions, rebuilt and refashioned local economies and shaped communities. How has architecture built after the tsunami been able to respond to the individual needs of affected communities? How were these communities able to participate in the recovery process? How have these structures been adapted over time by their inhabitants, and how did architectural interventions alter societal and communal structures?” (Draeger/Holzfeind)

The film will be introduced by the directors, Christoph Draeger and Heidrun Holzfeind.
Bfore the screening, we’ll show excerpts from Heidrun Holzfeind’s Colonnade Park and Christoph Draeger’s The Last News.

More information:
filmnapok@kek.org.hu and https://www.facebook.com/BudapestArchitectureFilmDays


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April 15: Mission Statements – The Architecture of Diplomacy

KÉK presents the next event of the Spring Architecture Film Series:
2011, 60 mins, colour, Dutch film with Hungarian subtitles
D: Jord den Hollander


In 1991 the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in the Netherlands decided to promote national architecture abroad. All over the world new embassies were realised by prominent Dutch architects. After 20 years the Dutch government stopped the project for economic and political reasons. The Ministry of Foreign affairs declared on April 8th 2011: ?We will move away from the traditional image of an embassy as a building with a flag and a mission staff.? The film Mission Statements tells the story of four of the most outspoken new embassies and shows the background of the buildings and presents a stunning view behind the curtains of daily life in the embassies.

Mission Statements – the architecture of Dutch diplomacy from Joep Mol on Vimeo.

Interview with Jord den Hollander: http://kek.org.hu/filmnapok4/beszelgetes-jord-den-hollanderrel-a-kuldetes-a-diplomacia-epiteszete-c-filmjerol/

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Sascha Waltz: two ways, to alleviate the difficulties

Interview with Sasha Waltz director of Dialoge 09 – Neues Museum, this year’s opening film. Article only available in Hungarian and in German from the Goethe Institut Budapest’s Website:


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Greetings from Denver

Design Onscreen–The Initiative for Architecture and Design on Film is honored to co-sponsor the 2012 edition of the Budapest Architecture Film Days.  We congratulate the team of enthusiastic Hungarian architects who have worked so hard to ensure that this year?s Budapest festival offers a stimulating mix of excellent design films from around the world.

Design Onscreen is a nonprofit foundation based in Denver, Colorado and dedicated to producing, promoting and preserving great films on architecture and design.  Founded in 2007 by documentary enthusiasts Kirk Brown and Jill Wiltse, Design Onscreen?s documentaries include: Modern Tide: Midcentury Architecture on Long Island (2012); Desert Utopia: Midcentury Architecture in Palm Springs (2011); Contemporary Days: The Designs of Lucienne and Robin Day (2010); William Krisel, Architect (2010), Journeyman Architect: The Life?and Work of Donald Wexler (2009) and Hella Jongerius: Contemporary Archetypes (2009).

We thank Budapest Architecture Film Days for including two Design Onscreen?s films in this year?s line-up. Desert Utopia: Midcentury Architecture in Palm Springs details the stunning architecture in California?s leading modernist mecca and explores the history of some of the era?s most original architects, including Richard Neutra, Albert Frey, John Lautner and E. Stewart Williams. Using rare archival footage and special access to many private homes, Desert Utopia offers an inside look at a community whose appreciation for architecture has created veritable nature preserve of modernist treasures.   Hella Jongerius: Contemporary Archetypes focuses on the creative process of one of the world?s top designers and her work for Vitra, Maharam and Royal Tichelaar.  In addition, the film explores the ?dance? inherent in any relationship between modern designers and manufacturers?each learning from, and bending with, the other. This film premiered at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) and the Museum of Arts and Design in 2009.

In addition to producing films, Design Onscreen also showcases the best in architecture and design films at festivals and series around the world. Since 2009, Design Onscreen has co-produced successful annual fests in Palm Springs and Denver, as well as co-sponsoring other new fests in Moscow and Toronto.

In May 2012, we?ll be presenting our biggest and most ambitious fest yet ? a 10 day, 20 film, 40 screening architecture and design film festival in Auckland, New Zealand, in partnership with Rialto Cinemas.

We?re delighted to witness and support the spread of these types of film festivals around the world.  Wherever we go, we see that these film screenings offer ideal settings for people who are passionate about architecture and design to gather in in-person (rather than just on the Web) to share ideas, opinions and projects. In each location, we find that these festivals bring together and often strengthen the local design community.  We hope that the same is true in Budapest this year!

We also thank Jord den Hollander and his team at the Architecture Film Festival Rotterdam (AFFR) for providing such a great and pioneering example of how to produce a truly excellent architecture and design film festival.  AFFR has also provided a valuable forum and connection point for those of us who organize the many new festivals of this type now blooming around the world.

So thanks for supporting great films on design, and we hope that you enjoy the 2012 Budapest Architecture Film Days. May this festival will continue to grow and prosper for many years to come!

Please visit www.designonscreen.org for more information on our organization.

Heather Purcell Leja
Executive Director
Design Onscreen — The Initiative for Architecture and Design on Film

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This year’s themes

Movement and architecture

Dancing in the rebuilt Neues Museum and on the waving steel sheets of Frank Gehry, freerunning in Copenhagen and skateboarding in a run-down housing estate. Keeping off the grass in Eastern Hungary and jumping on the roof in the Hudson Valley. Starchitects, bloodthirsty pensioners, and a hidden camera. Why do Danish traceurs want to move to a playground and why don?t Józsa skaters just go back to theirs? Poetic images, graceful motions, the delicate play of the muscles. Take your skateboards and sod off or I?ll get my axe.

Memories of modernism

Did modernism really die on March 16, 1972, with the demolition of the infamous Pruitt-Igoe housing complex as Charles Jencks claimed? Or is it just that the image of the collapsing blocks has become an icon for the history of architecture, obscuring the social factors? How is it possible to preserve the heritage of modernism in Palm Springs and how was it possible to destroy it in New Orleans? This section recalls the micro- and macro-utopias of modernist architecture from the beginnings of the Bauhaus to Victor Gruen?s experiments with the shopping towns and the car-free cities.

Everyday life of buldings

The HQ of B&B Italia in Milan, the Antwerp railway station, the buildings of the Dutch embassies are all extrovert buildings. The first was used by Renzo Piano to experiment with turning the structure inside out as a preparation for the Pompidou Centre, the second aimed to proclaim the wealth of Leopold II and Belgium, while the carefully designed embassies wanted to embody the attitude and architecture of the Netherlands in foreign countries. But after a while, all buildings start to live their own lives, due to their interactions with the employees, the travelers, and the locals. These three films tries to map these connections, either through the eyes of the company workers, or by exploring their political backgrounds, or being inspired by literary references.


One film about an architect, one about a desgner, and one about an architect / designer / filmmaker couple. Where do the fields end and where do they overlap? Is it possible to find common points in the working methods of Hella Jongerius and Norman Foster and in the way Charles and Ray Eames ran their studio, decades before? How much should we know about them beyond their works, how much they wanted or want to reveal about themselves, and what do their creations reveal about them?

Post cities

Critical situations?in the settlement, in the flat, in the metropolis; on a Caspian oil platform, in the kommunalkas of Saint Petersburg, and on the streets of Detroit. These three levels also correspond with the domains of the secret, the private and the public. Just like the hellish Russian communal apartment, the kommunalka; the once closely guarded Azerbaijani settlement of oil workers is the heritage of the USSR. Now, for the first time, we can get an insight into the history of its founding, decline and unexpected revival, due to the skyrocketing oil prices. This factor, however, on the other side of the world, played a major role in the collapse of the Detroit motor industry, calling for a movie that would literally project the city?s roaring past onto its troubled present.

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Cats in the middle of the sea

Article only available in Hungarian.

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Interview with Jord den Hollander architect, director and head of the Architecture Film Festival Rotterdam (AFFR)

How did you as an architect become a festival organizer?

In 1999 in Rotterdam we organized a symposium on the topic of the image of the city. We showed the obvious films, like Metropolis, Blade Runner and we found out that there was lot of interest in the topic. I toke my chance and the year after we organized a very small event with only architectural films. We had about 8 documentaries and feature films. Since then we have grown immensely into an organisation that shows more than hundred documentaries and feature films. We also keep a database with many films that help similar festivals in the programming. I helped many other festival to start, was involved with Budapest, after I went to Russia, I did a festival on film and architecture in Warsaw.

Photo: Frank Hanswijk

Who is watching architecture films?

Everybody love films and everybody lives in a house makes use of the public space. Architecture and film are the most influential art forms of the 20st century and it will be of the next century and the combinations of both disciplines are very important.

You were educated both in architecture and film. Do you see some overlaps in the working methods of these professions?

JdH: The process for me is the same because in both disciplines there is structure and meaning expressed in a different way. Everybody is looking at architecture the way it expresses itself though aesthetics, the material, the space but there is a meaning, a storytelling too and if you know that second layer architecture becomes very interesting. When you start a project it helps when you can make use of that other layer. Like in the film it is never straightforward. There is always a tension, a conflict like in architecture. I am teaching in both disciplines too and you can see that architects become better architects if they know how to work with film. In architecture it is about space and in film it is about time. But when you combine both, the way architecture translates in time you can put emotions in architecture and you can add structure to film.

How you became involved with the Budapest Architecture Film Days?

JdH: I was invited because of a film and I liked your festival and the people. When I came you had this wonderful venue, people drinking and dancing and laughing and screaming and I said wow this is the place where I belong. What I liked about your festival that you did it without any money. But of course you don?t start a festival for money. Look at our festival, we bring people from all parts of the world and they want to tell and exchange ideas about what they are doing and the atmosphere is so important. I travel all over the world to meet people who are willing to work and have a goal in their thoughts. Otherwise life is boring. We are in the world to move ourselves and to be active.  Of course it is always about love and it is always about good food and drinks and this is a topic that matters us all, everybody love films and everybody lives in a house makes use of the public space. Architecture and film are the most influential art forms of the 20st century and it will be of the next century and the combinations of both disciplines are very important.

Daniella Huszár and Noémi Soltész, 8 October, 2011.

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Interview with Francisca Mu?oz, founder of Arquitecture Film Festival Santiago (AFFS)

AFFS will be the first Architecture Film Festival in South America. Why did you decide to organize a film festival dedicated to architecture? What was your main objective?

AFFS: The members of the collective AFFS of Chile have followed with great enthusiasm and admiration the development of the architecture film festival Rotterdam AFFR and the similar initiatives in Europe to start off this triggering event. As architects, we were interested in the discussion that was generated around these festivals and it seemed that film was an excellent platform to broaden the reflection on architecture beyond the academic and technical world of the professionals directly tied to the field. Our initial incentive, then, is to inspire a broader public to reflect on the city through film. We want everyone to realize that architecture is alive, which is part of their daily lives, and it directly affects us and influences our social relations.

The Festival will be held in 2012 October. Could you uncover some of your plans for us?

AFFS: Our programming content shares many of the same aspects as those of the festivals that take place in the world, nevertheless, we want to put a distinctive stamp on our exhibition, giving priority to content created in Latin America and Chile, providing a new space of visibility to the creators of the continent. In the medium term, we are committed to the promotion of film production that incorporates architecture as a protagonist, however, we hope that the four-day long festival will be more like a Celebration of Architecture, where the public can participate not only in the projects, but also lectures, urban tours, installations, and other activities, experiencing the city in a unique way.

What issues in architecture and urban planning fascinate people the most these days? What are the most relevant questions of this field in South America or in Chile nowadays?

AFFS: Within the general public, the most relevant discussions today in Chile and South America are related to excessive urban growth, poor integration of cities and the lack of green areas. In some groups that are more ?conscious? ? academicians and also citizens – there is concern about the issue of heritage. For example, in recent days, the construction of a giant shopping mall in the city of Castro caused great commotion in the media and social networking sites. The criticized construction is taking place in a historic part of the city, very close to 1 of the 16 Chilean churches in the World Heritage list by UNESCO. This landmark case shows that architecture can become a subject of common interest; it can receive the critical eye of the ordinary citizen, and be deconstructed by a technical, academic, and why not say, egomaniacal eye.

Julia Oravecz, March 9, 2012.

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Don?t ya know the big D is burnin??

Article only available in Hungarian.


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