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Directed by Stephen Ives

Lynden B. Miller explores the life and work of America's first female landscape architect, Beatrix Farrand.

BEATRIX FARRAND'S AMERICAN LANDSCAPES follows award-winning public garden designer Lynden B. Miller as she sets off to explore the remarkable life and career of America's first female landscape architect, Beatrix Farrand. Farrand was responsible for some of the most celebrated gardens in the United States and helped create a distinctive American voice in landscape architecture.

Although she created gardens for the rich and powerful, including John D. Rockefeller, Jr., J.P. Morgan, and President Woodrow Wilson, she also was an early advocate for the value of public gardens and believed strongly in the power of the natural world to make people's lives better.

Through the documentary, Miller journeys to iconic Farrand gardens, engaging designers, scholars and horticulturists in a spirited dialogue about the meaning and importance of this ground-breaking early 20th-century woman. Lynden Miller's experience as New York City's most prominent public garden designer is woven into a wide-ranging biography of Farrand's life and times.

DVD / 2019 / (Grades 7-12, College, Adults) / 62 minutes

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Directed by Charles Wilkinson

Portrait of Haida artist, Robert Davidson, whose art and activism point the way towards a renewed connection with the natural world, perhaps saving us from ourselves.

Haida artist Robert Davidson is one of the foremost cultural icons of the age. HAIDA MODERN features candid and revealing conversations with the artist himself, along with commentary from art historians, politicians, musicians and family members detailing the importance and impact of Davidson's work. Highlighted in these conversations is the story of how Davidson carved the first totem pole raised on the island of Haida Gwaii in over 100 years — a spiritual and political act credited with sparking a reawakening of Indigenous culture in the Pacific Northwest.

In HAIDA MODERN, we see how Indigenous and non-Indigenous citizens alike—inspired by Davidson's art—are coming together to forge political movements led by Indigenous activists and artists, fighting the critical environmental battles of our time. That is the great and enduring power of Robert Davidson's 14,000 year old indigenous Haida culture: the power of an art so beautiful, it must be seen over and again.

DVD / 2019 / (Grades 7-12, College, Adults) / 80 minutes

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By Pedro Ruiz

The chronic shortage of housing in Central Havana has pushed the city upwards, where life spills out onto the rooftops. Resilient and remarkable, these rooftop dwellers have a privileged point of view on a society in the process of major transformation.

This wondrous documentary tells the story of a secret village, hidden from the clamor of the streets below, nestled above a decaying district. The makeshift houses are inhabited by Arturo, Tita, Pedro, Lala, Roberto, Jose, Reynol, Juan, Alejandro, Maria and Omar.

Like many others, they have been forced to make their home on these rooftops. But from their perch, they bear witness to extraordinary change below.

DVD / 2019 / 80 minutes

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Directed by Niels Bolbrinker and Thomas Tielsch

Celebrate the 100th anniversary of Walter Gropius' Bauhaus with this lively and wide-ranging exploration of the movement uniting modern design, art, architecture and performing arts with communal social living to form an academic discipline and utopian way of life. Combining free imagination and play with strict structure, Bauhaus' members included Anni Albers, Marcel Breuer, Wassily Kandinsky, Paul Klee, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, Laszlo Moholy-Nagy, Oskar Schlemmer and more. The most comprehensive film on its subject to date, Bauhaus Spirit explores this influential 20th-century movement's history, legacy, and continued relevance in an age where function and environmental sustainability have taken on new urgency.

DVD (English, German, With English Subtitles, Color) / 2018 / 90 minutes

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Director: Joseph Hillel

Phyllis Lambert, Blanche Lemco van Ginkel, Cornelia Hahn Oberlander, Denise Scott Brown - four trailblazers who became accustomed to being the only woman in the room. Each has an extensive list of accomplishments in architecture, planning and landscape architecture dating back 60+ years and has taught, mentored and inspired generations of professionals. Since the 1950's, they have worked for and collaborated with some of the leading figures in architecture, from Le Corbusier to Louis Kahn and Mies van der Rohe, while finding their own voices in the male-dominated world of architecture. How have they envisioned our cities?

Through original interviews, archival material and stunning cinematography, filmmaker Joseph Hillel uncovers how each of these independent thinkers has been working, observing and thinking about the transformations shaping the city of today and tomorrow. As the world becomes increasingly urbanized, the insights of these forward-looking women who have built social and environmental values into their work seem more relevant now than ever.

DVD (English, French, With English Subtitles) / 2018 / 81 minutes

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By Edward Lawrenson

In the late 1950s, a Liberian-American-Swedish company called LAMCO established mining operations in the remote highlands of Liberia. The arrival of this multinational firm spurred the design and construction of a sprawling modernist new town called Yekepa to house employees and their families. Today this new town is almost entirely abandoned, its buildings empty and facilities left to ruin. What remains tells a story of colonialism, of environmental destruction, an elusive beast and the empty promises of industrialization.

Our story of Yekepa begins in 1955, on Christmas Eve, when Scottish geologist Sandy Clarke discovered the largest ore deposit he'd ever seen. By the end of the decade, LAMCO had begun mining work, with Clarke acting as is chief geologist. A few years later the company is extracting iron ore from a mountain of profound cultural value to the locals.

To accommodate its employees and their families, LAMCO builds a large new town, boasting modernist architecture, replete with western-style amenities. Yekepa is soon referred to by locals as "an America in Liberia" for its likeness to towns in the US, seen in pictures, and now seemingly built from scratch in an isolated part of West Africa.

Today there are no more LAMCO workers in Yekepa. Once the iron ore deposit was depleted, operations were shut down, the employees and their families returned home, and the town abandoned (a sense of decline accelerated by the coming civil wars in Liberia).

Uppland features interviews with members of a Mano tribe who for generations lived on the land that Yekepa was built upon (and were displaced by mining operations), as well as former LAMCO employees, alongside remarkable Super-8mm home movies and archive photography. Uncovering the history of Yekepa, filmmaker Edward Lawrenson and architect Killian Doherty explore the demise of a once-thriving community, an episode that speaks to the tragic legacies of colonialism and the extractive industries' involvement in the region.

And the beast? According to Mano beliefs, the beast, or 'zena', was a creature said to patrol the mountain where the iron ore was discovered. It has, however, mysteriously disappeared, last seen by villagers when Sandy Clarke first laid eyes on the mountain.

DVD / 2018 / 30 minutes

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By Ruth Zylberman

209 Saint-Maur Street is a classic Haussmann building in the 10th arrondissement of Paris: Stone, built around a courtyard, shops on the bottom floor. In the first decades of the 20th century, it was home to some 300 working class people, about a third of them Jewish.

And then came the Nazi occupation. Parents rounded up and deported. Children left on their own. Neighbors hiding Jewish kids under the blankets.

THE CHILDREN OF 209 SAINT-MAUR STREET is filmmaker Ruth Zylberman's painstakingly researched reconstruction of life in the building before and during the Second World War. (At one point she wrote to every single person in France with a particular last name trying to find a resident of the building.) There's the small grocer whose husband is deported and who loses her business when it is "Aryanized." The deaf woman who eagerly writes down the names and locations of Jews so the Nazis can find them. The girl whose father hid Jews in the apartment and threatened to murder his collaborator son if anything should happen to them. And the Jewish children themselves, now elderly, many living abroad, who recall the rumors of roundups, the hiding, and the friends they played with. "I wonder if all of this was real," one of them, the son of Polish immigrants, says.

Zylberman finds Henry Osman, a 79-year-old American whose parents placed him in the care of an organization that hid Jewish children. Osman knows almost nothing about them. And he's not sure he wants to know. He's put that all behind him. But Zylberman has documents and photos. She convinces him to come to 209, where he stares at the flagstones in the courtyard, and wonders if his parents once walked on them.

Zylberman creates a living reconstruction of 209, using a drawing of the building and appending images and archival documents about individuals to it. During interviews, she sparks memories with models of everyday objects like furniture or sewing machines. Throughout the film, we also see images of daily life in the building today, as children practice music and families come and go with their groceries.

For the documentary's final scene, she invites all the now-elderly "children" who lived here to return to the building. Some come with their own descendants. It's as though the pieces of the puzzle she has spent years assembling have finally come together.

DVD (French, English, With English Subtitles, Color) / 2017 / 100 minutes

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By Heinz Emigholz

A prologue examines three buildings from the 1930s designed by Julio Vilamajo in Montevideo which could have inspired the work of Eladio Dieste, the subject of this documentary. The industrial and functional buildings presented span the period from 1955 to 1994; their organic brick construction is astonishing and inspiring. Emigholz's camera gives itself over to the elegantly curved lines, reveling in the buoyant, graceful shell architecture, which lets both air and light pass through, while also examining its surroundings to discover parallels in nature. Then the camera makes its way in turn through dismal, rubbish-strewn industrial areas to cathedral-like factory halls that house eerie mountains of unidentified substances. The epilogue "Dieste (Spain)" presents later buildings designed by the architect, smaller-scale copies of his larger church buildings. Closed off and compact, they come across like caricatures, out of place in the foreign setting. They form a sobering footnote that only illustrates the uniqueness of successful architecture all the more vividly.

DVD / 2017 / 95 minutes

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Director: Don Freeman

In this documentary, photographer Don Freeman explores the homes designed and lived in by notable American artists, revealing the inventiveness derived from the dialogue between each artist's practice and the construction of their handmade homes. Ranging from the romantic (Hudson River School painter Frederic Church's Olana, framing views of the Catskills to echo his paintings), to the futuristic (Paolo Soleri's silt-casted structure Cosanti growing out of his bell-making experiments in the Arizona desert), to the sublime (George Nakashima's mid-century modern ode to the beauty and versatility of wood), what they all have in common is a fierce spirit of individual expression that deserves deeper examination in this age of architectural standardization.

DVD / 2015 / 87 minutes

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Director: Maurizius Staerkle Drux

Gottfried Bohm is widely regarded as Germany's preeminent architect. The son of a master builder of churches, he's also the patriarch of a modern architecture dynasty to which his three sons Stephan, Peter and Paul belong. But with the death of Gottfried's wife Elisabeth, also an architect and a key source of inspiration for all the Bohm builders, the family loses its emotional lodestone.

Concrete Love paints an intimate portrait of the complexity and inseparability of life, love and art.

DVD (German with English subtitles) / 2015 / 88 minutes

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Director: Oeke Hoogendijk

In 2003, the ambitious renovation of one of the world's greatest museums began. The Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, home to a glorious collection including masterpieces by Rembrandt and Vermeer, was supposed to reopen its doors in 2008 after five years of construction. But from the start, the project was opposed by unyielding bureaucrats and public resistance. The museum directors battled politicians, designers, curators and even the Dutch Cyclists Union as they struggled to complete the renovation and put its massive collection back on public display. Five years late, with costs exceeding half a billion dollars, the museum finally reopened.

Oeke Hoogendijk's epic documentary captures the entire story from design to completion, offering a fly-on-the-wall perspective on one of the most challenging museum construction projects ever conceived. With its decade-long scope, the film reveals a surprisingly dramatic story that art and architecture lovers will not want to miss.

DVD (Dutch, English, French, and Spanish with English Subtitles) / 2014 / 131 minutes

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Director: Marcia Connelly & Katherine Knight

In a rapidly urbanized world, what does the future hold for traditional rural societies? As Fogo Island, a small community off the coast of Newfoundland, struggles to sustain its unique way of life in the face of a collapse of its cod fishing industry, architect Todd Saunders and social entrepreneur Zita Cobb's vision for positive change results in the envisioning, designing and building of strikingly original architecture that will become a catalyst for social change.

Experience this staggeringly beautiful place and how the community and local workers, together with Saunders and Cobb, come together and play a role in this creative process during a time of optimism and uncertain hope. Change is coming to Fogo Island.

DVD / 2014 / 54 minutes

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By Ruben Abruna

A designer from Puerto Rico pioneered green architecture thirty years ago, and today he confronts climate change with sustainable constructions such as a house without a roof that is completely independent of the power and water utilities, a micro-eco-house on wheels, a pre-designed sustainable house, a parachute-house and a solar-electric car, among others.

When architect Fernando Abruna Charneco, FAIA, began designing in the 1970's many dubbed him as "crazy" for putting nature first before erecting a building, a practice which later would be labeled as sustainable green architecture. He inherited the design mantra of "doing more with less" from his mentor R. Buckminster Fuller, the inventor of the Geodesic Dome and the Dymaxion car, with whom he worked as an apprentice.

In times of climate change and the doomsday consequences it entails, THE ABSENT HOUSE delivers a much-needed, hopeful, pro-active message that we can live sustainably while preserving the planet for future generations.

DVD (Color) / 2013 / 55 minutes

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Director: Stefan Haupt

One of the most iconic structures ever built, Barcelona's La Sagrada Familia is a unique and fascinating architectural project conceived by Antoni Gaudi in the late 19th century. More than 125 years after construction began, the basilica still remains unfinished. Sagrada: The Mystery of Creation celebrates Gaudi's vision and the continuing work of architects as they strive to complete the colossal project while delving into the process of artistic creation in a historical context.

La Sagrada Familia was commissioned by the Order of St Joseph in 1882. After conflicts arose between the Order and the original architect, 31 year old Antoni Gaudi was hired to complete the design. A devout Catholic and architectural prodigy, Gaudi envisioned a place of worship that combined elements of classic French Gothic style and the curvilinear, organic aspects of the budding Art Nouveau school.

Despite decades of delays, thousands of artisans, laborers, and designers have contributed to the ambitious and glorious landmark. Inspired by Gaudi's vision, the film explores our fundamentally human search for the meaning of existence, and the quest for creative expression.

In the midst of the hustle and bustle of the Catalonian metropolis, the documentary investigates the structural developments of the Sagrada Familia while allowing the audience time to observe, perceive, and reflect upon the historical, artistic and personal significance of the basilica.

DVD (Catalan, Spanish, French, and German with English Subtitles) / 2013 / 90 minutes

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Director: Jason Hutt

When best-selling author Joshua Foer (Moonwalking with Einstein) began to build his first sukkah, a small hut that Jews build and dwell in every fall for the holiday of Sukkot, he wanted to move beyond the generic plywood boxes and canvas tents that have become the unimaginative status quo. He discovered that while the bible outlines the basic parameters for what a sukkah should look like and how it should function, it leaves plenty of room for variation and interpretation. Foers thought, 'what if contemporary architects and designers were challenged to design and construct twelve radical sukkahs? What would they come up with?' And so was born the design competition and exhibition known as "Sukkah City."

Sukkah City chronicles the architecture competition created by bestselling author Joshua Foer and Roger Bennett (Reboot co-founder) that explored the creative potential of the ancient Jewish sukkah and created a temporary exhibition of 12 newly designed sukkahs in the heart of New York City. The film goes behind the scenes of the jury day, the construction, and the exhibition to provide an entertaining and inspiring portrait of the project's visionary architects, planners and structures and celebrates an exciting, singular moment in the American Jewish experience.

DVD / 2013 / 67 minutes

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Director: Richard Hankin

The rebuilding of ground zero is one of the most architecturally, politically, and emotionally complex urban renewal projects in history. The struggle has encompassed eleven years, nineteen government agencies, a dozen projects and over $20 billion. Aside from the engineering challenges, several constituencies-politicians, developers, architects, insurance companies, local residents, and relatives of 9/11 victims-profess a claim to the site and are often in conflict with one another. According to The New York Times, "Where some saw lucrative real estate, others saw a graveyard. Where some saw Rockefeller Center or Lincoln Center or Grand Central Terminal, others saw Gettysburg."

Today, three thousand workers are building four of the tallest skyscrapers in America, a train station, a performing arts center and a sacred memorial and museum. What will emerge in downtown Manhattan will redefine the city and country for generations.

16 Acres is the story of how and why this historic project got built. At the heart of the story is the dramatic tension between noblest intentions, the desire of everyone involved to "get it right," and the politics, hubris, ego, and ideology. As with all great urban projects, from the Pyramids to Rome's Colleseum to Rockefeller Center, a small group of powerful people will dictate the outcome. With inside access to the project and these key players, 16 Acres tells the story behind the headlines.

Featuring Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Governor George Pataki, Chris Ward (Executive Director of the Port Authority), developer Larry Silverstein, architects Daniel Libeskind, David Childs, and Michael Arad, and relatives and advocates of the 9/11 victims. The also introduces a supporting cast of Pritzker-prize winning international architects and engineers; influential journalists who have covered the rebuilding; construction workers, as well as neighbors, critics and observers who are very much part of the fabric of New York.

DVD / 2012 / 95 minutes

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The economic impact of buildings with a high "wow" factor on cities like Bilbao, Manchester, and Chicago has brought back in vogue the debate on the role of architects in society, producing neologisms such as "starchitect" to characterize their media relevance. With provocative works like the Jewish Museum in Berlin and the World Trade Center in New York, Daniel Libeskind has gained universal acclaim. A true Renaissance man-with a background that features music, poetry, and opera set and costume design-Libeskind envisions architecture as a reflection and active part of the local culture, whereby buildings engage a lasting dialogue with their inhabitants. He sees sustainability as not only a technological attribute, but also a measure of social relevance. In this Falling Walls lecture, Libeskind discusses his more than 40 current projects and his innovative online teaching approach at the Leuphana University Lüneburg, aimed at building the "ideal city of the 21st century."

DVD / 2012 / 16 minutes

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Directed by Andreas M. Dalsgaard

Influential Danish architect Jan Gehl argues that we can build cities in a way which takes human needs for inclusion and intimacy into account.

50% of the world's population lives in urban areas, by 2050 it will be 80%. Cities have become the primary human habitat. According to revolutionary Danish architect and urban planner Jan Gehl, if we are to make cities sustainable and livable for people we must re-imagine the very foundations of modern urban planning. Rather than examining buildings and urban structures themselves, Gehl and his team meticulously study the in-between spaces of urban life, the places where people meet, interact, live, and behave.

How do the spaces that surround us enhance or disturb our interactions with others? How can we make our streets more accessible by foot or bike? Through his world acclaimed work, Gehl has been leading a revolution in urban planning that has been transforming cities worldwide. From the expanded pedestrian spaces in New York's Union Square, to Copenhagen's famed bike lanes, to the rebuilding of earthquake devastated Christchurch, New Zealand, Gehl's team bring real solutions that promise a more humanistic dimension to cities where people are not displaced by congested streets, skyscrapers, and the car-centric urbanism of the 1960s and '70s.

Stunningly photographed, THE HUMAN SCALE travels around the world to explore how Gehl and other like minded designers, city planners, and urban activists have begun to transform such cities as as New York, Beijing, Christchurch, and London.

DVD / 2012 / (Grades 8-12, College, Adult) / 77 minutes

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Director: Mike Dorsey

In 1959, a working-class government employee named Richard Oyler, living in the tiny desert town of Lone Pine, California, asked world-famous modern architect Richard Neutra to design his modest family home. To Oyler's surprise, Neutra agreed. Thus began an unlikely friendship that would last for the rest of Neutra's life.

Considered the "father of California Modern Architecture," Time Magazine put Richard Neutra on their cover in 1949, ranking him second only to Frank Lloyd Wright among America's greatest architects. The Oyler House: Richard Neutra's Desert Retreat explores how a man of his stature came to befriend this modest, small-town family, and his love for the home's stunning desert setting, which Neutra compared to the grandness of the mystical Gobi Desert.

Now owned by the actress Kelly Lynch (Road House, Drugstore Cowboy) and her writer-producer husband Mitch Glazer (Scrooged, Magic City), the post & beam-style home and its exotic surroundings shine through beautiful 5K digital cinematography, and the story comes to life through interviews with Richard Oyler, Kelly Lynch, Neutra's two sons, including modern architect Dion Neutra, and well-known Los Angeles real estate agent Crosby Doe, who has represented homes by some of history's greatest modern architects.

DVD / 2012 / 46 minutes

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By Heinz Emigholz

Parabeton begins with the first still existing dome structure in Baiae near Naples, built in the first century B.C. It is followed in chronological order by seventeen buildings by the Italian building engineer Pier Luigi Nervi (1891-1979), including the Pirelli tower in Milan, the UNESCO headquarters in Paris, the House of Labor in Turin, the grand Sports Arena in Rome and the Papal Audience Hall at the Vatican. These sequences are interrupted by cinematic studies of Ancient Roman concrete constructions from the first century B.C., including the Pantheon and the Caracalla thermal baths in Rome, as well as the Hadrians Villa in Tivolo.

Considered by many to be the Architect's Architect of the 20th century, Pier Luigi Nervi is the creator of style-forming constructions and a grand master of concrete buildings. In its gorgeous compositions and cinematography, this wondrous documentary suggests a relationship between Nervi's bold constructions and the groundbreaking Roman inventions of 2000 years ago.

DVD / 2012 / 100 minutes

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By Heinz Emigholz

Perret in France and Algeria is both biography and cultural commentary, telling the story of architectural pioneer Auguste Perret's dual careers in these two countries. Many of the works that are described here are mired in history, including Parisian buildings destroyed (and later rebuilt by Perret) during World War II. Emigholz's stunning visual storytelling investigates the architect's relationship with the volatile societies where his designs came to life.

DVD / 2012 / 110 minutes

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Directors: Jason Cohn & Bill Jersey

The husband-and-wife team of Charles and Ray Eames are widely regarded as America's most important designers. Perhaps best remembered for their mid-century plywood and fiberglass furniture, the Eames Office also created a mind-bending variety of other products, from splints for wounded military during World War II, to photography, interiors, multi-media exhibits, graphics, games, films and toys. But their personal lives and influence on significant events in American life - from the development of modernism, to the rise of the computer age - has been less widely understood. Narrated by James Franco, Eames: the Architect and the Painter is the first film dedicated to these creative geniuses and their work.

DVD / 2011 / 82 minutes

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Director: Norberto Lopez Amado & Carlos Carcas

A portrait of one of the world's premier architects, How Much Does Your Building Weigh, Mr. Foster? follows Norman Foster's unending quest to improve the quality of life through design. By revealing his origins to how his dreams and influences inspired the design of emblematic projects like the world's largest building and its tallest bridge, Foster offers some striking solutions to humanity's increasing demand on urban centers.

DVD / 2011 / 78 minutes

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Directed by Anne Makepeace

Architect I.M. Pei returns to his home city of Suzhou, China to build a modern museum that complements the architecture of the 2,500 year-old city and sets a course for modern Chinese architecture.

I.M. Pei has been called the most important living modern architect, defining the landscapes of some of the world's greatest cities. A monumental figure in his field and a laureate of the prestigious Pritzker Architecture Prize, Pei is the senior statesman of modernism and last surviving link to such great early architects as Le Corbusier, Gropius, and Mies van der Rohe.

Entering into the twilight of his career and well into his eighties when the project began, Pei returns to his ancestral home of Suzhou, China to work on his most personal project to date. He is commissioned to build a modern museum in the city's oldest neighborhood which is populated by classical structures from the Ming and Qing dynasties. For the architect who placed the pyramid at the Louvre, the test to integrate the new with the old is familiar but still difficult. The enormous task is to help advance China architecturally without compromising its heritage. In the end, what began as his greatest challenge and a labor of sentiment, says Pei, ultimately becomes "my biography."

DVD / 2010 / (Grades 10-12, College, Adult) / 53 minutes

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By Bregtje van der Haak

Paris was the first truly modern large city. But it has remained largely unchanged since the 1860s.

Now, French President Nicolas Sarkozy has a vision to turn Paris into a model super-metropolis for the 21st century - a post-Kyoto sustainable city of 12 million that will break down the distinction between downtown and suburb, and that will drive France's economic growth. He calls it "Grand Paris" and he is determined that it will be the crown jewel of his legacy.

To realize his vision, Sarkozy's government engages 10 star architects, including France's Djamel Klouche and Roland Castro, Mike Davies from the UK, and Winy Maas, from Holland. Their mission: to spend a year rethinking Paris.

GRAND PARIS offers a compelling and sometimes suspenseful chronicle of the process, as the architects try to distill months of research and discussion into workable plans. It takes us inside some of the world's top architectural firms, as they compete for an opportunity to reshape one of the world's greatest cities.

The film focuses particularly on Winy Maas, whose designs include the Netherlands' pavilion at the 2000 World's Fair, and master plans for an eco-city in Spain and for the Dutch town of Almere.

The challenges he and the other architects face are immense. How can industrial production and the knowledge economy be integrated? Should the city have one center, or be multi-polar? What kinds of transportation hubs are needed? How can residents of city and suburbs - separated physically, economically and by social status - be brought together in solidarity?

Maas begins with aerial and walking tours of the city, and with interviews with people living in the region. The result is a catalog of the seemingly intractable problems that have plagued Paris for well over a century. They include the stark separation between the posh neighborhoods of the city proper and the sprawling suburbs that ring the downtown, a lack of effective public transit, an extreme housing shortage, and neighborhoods that combine old village centres with bland towers of low-cost housing units. According to fellow architect Patrick Celeste, the city is "a mosaic of obstacles."

In addition to the demands of the Grand Paris project, Maas and the other architects in the film waver between being impressed with Sarkozy's vision, and worrying that they are simply being used for political purposes. For French architects the question is a particularly burning one. Are they being courted to truly bring about effective change in the city? Or to burnish the reputation of a leader whose politics many dislike?

Despite the challenges, the Grand Paris architects are imbued with a sense of optimism and possibility. But when the world's economy comes near collapse, the planners must face the possibility that growth can no longer be taken for granted, and that the public may have lost the taste for large-scale projects.

Will Paris be a bold model for future urban development? Or will the problems of the last 150 years drag on for decades to come?

GRAND PARIS can be viewed in conjunction with Paris, Ring Road, an exploration of the changes wrought by the Boulevard Peripherique circling the city; and Paris, 19th century, on the dramatic overhaul of the city led by Baron Haussmann in the 1860s. Together, a triology of films on the dynamic evolution of an iconic global city.

DVD (Color) / 2009 / 50 minutes

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By Christoph Schaub & Michael Schindhelm

Many events for the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games took place in the brand new, 100,000-seat National Stadium. Design plans for this massive structure began in 2003, when Swiss architects Jacques Herzog and Pierre de Meuron were selected by the Chinese government to design the new stadium, which because of its curved steel-net walls was soon dubbed by locals as the "bird's nest."

BIRD'S NEST chronicles this five-year effort, as well as Herzog and de Meuron's design for a new city district in Jinhua, involving hotels, office and residential buildings. Both projects involved complex and often difficult negotiations and communications between two cultures, two architectural traditions and two political systems. Herzog and de Meuron, the Basle-based architects, find themselves working with China's largest state construction company, Chinese artist and architect Ai Wei Wei, lawyers, and countless government bureaucrats.

The film reveals how Chinese cultural tradition affects both projects, with the architects carefully researching esthetic and philosophical concepts of Chinese society and culture, attempting to define universal qualities of "beauty" and being careful to avoid imposing Western ideas, and above all to create buildings that will blend in culturally by being sensitive to Chinese cultural traditions and ways of living.

In addition to following the progress of both projects, from initial design and groundbreaking, BIRD'S NEST features interviews with Herzog and de Meuron, Chinese architects Ai Wei Wei and Yu Qiu Rong, plus additional commentary by cultural advisor Dr. Uli Sigg, the former Swiss Ambassador to China, Professor Zhi Yin of Beijing's Tsinhua University, and Li Aiqing, Chairman of Beijing State-Owned Assets Management.

In showing the cultural barriers, political pressures, aesthetic concepts, client demands, and budgetary limitations of these major architectural projects-one intended to promote China's international appearance, the other designed to cater to the daily needs of the Chinese people-BIRD'S NEST explores how such international endeavors are helping to develop a "new tradition" in architecture.

"For those of you who aren't yet obsessed with Jacques Herzog and Pierre de Meuron-the Swiss architects behind London's Tate Modern, the Barcelona Forum, the de Young Memorial Museum in San Francisco, Allianz Arena in Munich, and 40 Bond Street in NYC-we think the stadium they've built in Beijing for this summer's Olympic Games might push you over the edge." - Good Magazine

DVD (Color) / 2008 / 88 minutes

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