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Living Architectures | Architecture as Experience

February 3, 2010

An Almodovorian Guadalupe-meets-Corbusian machine for living in Koolhaas Houselife, featuring Rem's Maison à Bordeaux

We’ve been seeing bits and pieces of the Living Architectures film series and reading good reviews of the first installment here and there, so here’s a convenient roundup of the four trailers available until now: Koolhaus Houselife, Xmas Meier, Pomerol Herzog & De Meuron, and Gehry’s Vertigo (the trailer for the 5th film, Inside Piano, is yet to be released.)

Created by Italian architect, director and video-artist Ila Bêka and French-born Louise Lemoine, who studied cinema and philosophy, the five-part documentary made its debut with Koolhaus Houselife as the opening film of the London Architecture Foundation‘s Architecture on Film screenings, and is part an exhibition at New York’s Storefront for Art and Architecture.

The films “seeks to develop a way of looking at architecture which turns away from the current trend of idealizing the representation of our architectural heritage. The cult of perfect, disembodied forms entirely devoid of people, inevitably leads to a break-up between architecture and living space.”

The point is to “talk about architecture, or rather to let architecture talk to us, from an ‘inner’ point of view, both personal and subjective. Unlike most movies about architecture, these films focus less on explaining the building, its structure and its technical details than on letting the viewer enter into the invisible bubble of the daily intimacy of some icons of contemporary architecture.”

In depicting the human occupations of iconic buildings and capturing the often unrecorded dialogue between architecture and its users, the approach of Bêka and Lemoine is a fresh alternative to the conventional portrayal of starchitecture, or any architecture for that matter. I can’t help but think of the recent video The Third and the Seventh, in juxtaposition, which, although its well-deserved merit lies in the technical feat of fully computer-generated architecture, perpetuates the perception of architecture as object. In contrast, Living Architectures takes the pulse of the buildings themselves, revealing the human side of these typecast icons to convey architecture as experience rather than image.

Take a look at the four trailers below:

Koolhaus Houselife

Xmas Meier

Pomerol Herzog & De Meuron

Gehry’s Vertigo

All photos © Ila Bêka and Louise Lemoine

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