Thursday, August 26, 2010

2010 Architecture & the City Film Series

Celebrate the relationship between architecture and celluloid through this five-part series of documentary films, which spotlight the built environment, the architectural profession and the ever-mythical architect’s ego.

The films will be presented on every Wednesday in September at 6:00 pm in the San Francisco Main Library’s Koret Auditorium. Each program is free, but registration is required. Register at

September 1
- The Last Wright (directed by Lucille Carra; 55 minutes)

In 1908, when Frank Lloyd Wright was considered the most innovative architect in Chicago, he traveled to Mason City, Iowa, to design a unique, mixed-use city block—a bank and an adjoining hotel facing a park. This film offers a provocative, ironic tapestry of an American century, tracing the life, death and rebirth of a Midwest downtown through the prism of The Park Inn.

Park Inn Hotel and City National Bank Building by Frank Lloyd Wright (image source: Wikimedia Commons)

September 8 - Make No Little Plans: Daniel Burnham and the American City (directed by Judith Paine McBrien; 50 minutes)

Few individuals have had more impact on the American city than architect and planner Daniel Hudson Burnham. Among his firm’s best known works are the Flatiron building in New York, Union station in Washington, DC and The Field Museum in Chicago.

September 15 - Infinite Space: The Architecture of John Lautner (directed by Murray Gregor; 90 minutes)

Infinite Space traces the lifelong quest of visionary genius John Lautner to create “architecture that has no beginning and no end.” As a young man, Lautner broke from his mentor, Frank Lloyd Wright, and went west to California to forge his own architecture. His life was marked by innovation and inspiration, endless battles with building codes, an accidental leap into the epicenter of pop culture, bitterness at lost opportunities, and finally, monumental achievement.

Segel House in Malibu, California by John Lautner (image source: Wikimedia Commons)

September 22 - A Necessary Ruin and Other Architectural Shorts (directed by Evan Mather; 50 minutes)

A Necessary Ruin relates the powerful, compelling narrative of the history of the 1958 Union Tank Car Dome, located north of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, designed according to the engineering principles of visionary design scientist and philosopher Buckminster Fuller. The evening also features The Image of the City and So What?, among other architectural shorts, followed by a conversation with the filmmaker.

Union Tank Car Dome by Buckminster Fuller (source: Buckminster Fuller Institute)

September 30 - FLOW (directed by Irena Salina; 84 minutes)

Irena Salina’s award-winning documentary investigates what experts label the most important political and environmental issue of the 21st Century—The World Water Crisis. Salina builds a case against the growing privatization of the world’s dwindling fresh water supply with an unflinching focus on politics, pollution, human rights, and the emergence of a domineering world water cartel.

These programs are a joint presentation of the San Francisco Public Library and AIA San Francisco. The film series is generously made possible in part by the LEF Foundation.

The complete schedule for the 2010 Architecture and the City Festival

A Reading List of Recent Reference Titles:

Frank Lloyd Wright From Within Outward (Guggenheim Museum, 2009).

Daniel H. Burnham: Visionary Architect and Planner by Kristen Schaffer (Rizzoli, 2003).

Between Earth and Heaven: The Architecture of John Lautner (Rizzoli International Publications, 2008).

Buckminster Fuller: Starting with the Universe (Whitney Museum of American Art, 2008).

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