Film Night, Wednesday 20th March – Dark City – CANCELLED


Sorry, cancelled (due to sickness)

Alex Proyas’ Dark City is clearly indebted to the usual suspects of Metropolis, Bladerunner, various interpretations of Gotham City and maybe even Brazil, as well as overlapping to some degree with the Matrix and Inception. It’s less well known than these, but it’s been recommended to me more than once, so I thought we’d give it a go.

To explain it may give away much of the plot, so I won’t.  Suffice it to say that it’s a kind of ‘cyber-noir’, set (seemingly) in a city of permanent night.  A good cast includes Rufus Sewell.

Rarely do fictional cities include their own subway maps:

And yes, someonw really has included it in their Phd thesis:

Come along at 7.30, as we’ll start at 8pm. Hudson’s cafe, Boppstr 1, 10967

Categories : Event   Film

The Fountainhead, Wednesday 23rd January


There are lots of films that are directly or obliquely about architecture, but not many that are actually about architects (I’m not counting here the kind of films where Tom Hanks plays a neatly widowed architect, shorthand for “creative type with higher/stable income” and pursued by Meg Ryan, with unfailingly tedious consequences).

This film is properly about an architect, in the form of modernist architect Howard Roark, played by Gary Cooper.  Based on the book by the borderline bonkers/proto-libertarian Ayn Rand, The Fountainhead is all about one man’s individualistic stand against the forces of commercialism, mainstream taste, clients and, eventually the rule of law itself.  The main character may or may not be loosely based on Frank Lloyd Wright – in any case he was apparently asked to design the buildings featured in the film, but his fees rather exceeded the budget).

The film was pretty much panned on its release in 1949, and maybe comes under ‘interesting’ rather than classic, but I’ve never seen the whole film so am looking forward to finding out.

8pm, admission free. At Hudson’s Cafe, Boppstraße 1 (corner of Schönleinstraße), 10967.

Categories : Film

Film Night: Berlin Babylon, Wednesday 5th December.


Am very excited that Hubertus Siegert, director if the 2001 documentary film Berlin Babylon, will be joining us for a screening of his film, with a chance to chat about it afterwards.

The doc follows many of the key architects and other players in the ‘euphoric’ first wave of Berlin’s reconstruction in the late 1990s, including Renzo Piano, the late Günter Behnisch and others as they muse on the business of reconstructing huge areas of the city from scratch.

Plus it’s got a soundtrack composed by Einstürzende Neubauten, which you can’t say about many architecture documentary films. Or indeed most films.

As usual, 7.30pm at Hudson’s Cafe, Schönleinstr 1.  Be punctual, as we want to have some time at the end!

Categories : Event   Film

Koolhaas – HouseLife


Have decided to do this on Tuesday (30th October), to avoid a Wednesday clash with Halloween, but also with an event at the AdK.  So a chance to see HouseLife, the documentary about the Rem Koolhaas-designed private house in the south of France.

Unlike most archi docs, HouseLife follows a week in the life of a starchitect design through the eyes of its cleaning lady, as well as a number of other people tasked with cleaning its inaccessible glazing and attempting to fix the never-ending leaks.

As usual, 7.30pm at Hudson’s Cafe, Schönleinstr 1.

Categories : Event   Film   Rem Koolhaas / OMA


A brief pause in Hejduk-related posts to mention that have just launched their reworked and updated site.  I mention them here because a) thry’re rather good, but also because b) case I’ve spent the last few weeks helping out, uploading videos and such, so I feel in a small way that it’s my baby too.

Essentially, it’s what the name suggests – a collection of films about architecture.  Many of these are made by or with Architekturclips themselves (Isabel Schmidt and Fred Plassmann), but there are now two additional sections: Architekten Stellen sich vor, where architects and other commercial organisations* can submit their own videos, and Good Movies, which are, well, good movies that we’ve found elsewhere (YouTube, Vimeo etc).

The films are predominantly in German but many have english subtitles, or are just very watchable anyway.

So do get in touch with them if you’re an architect and have something you think should be seen, or if you’ve come across something good on the Interweb.  They’re looking for well made short films (or good trailers for feature-length films), and are avoiding Youtube slideshows and CGI…  more this sort of thing:

*Some unkind people would point out that many architects’ practices are not very commercial organisations.

Categories : Film
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Oscar Niemeyer film


Did I mention this already?  I can’t remember, and don’t have the patience today to try my own (sometimes erratic) search function.  But the film’s running at the Babylon Mitte at the moment, and is, according to my mate Matt, not to be missed.  Hopefully I’ll be not missing it tomorrow, or perhaps some time later this week.

Post post note: actually, not that good – interesting in parts, but mainly emphasizing the then-nonagenarian (now centogenarian?) Niemeyer’s proclivity for serial marriage to woman a lot younger than himself.  Which, to be fair, is most women.

Apropos of nothing directly linked, when I was quickly searching for an image for this post (settling on the one above, thanks Nisi Masa), highest in the list came a piece by the ever-productive Owen Hatherley which has only a glancing connection – much more to do with the Babylon Kino and others, but is nonetheless worth reading.

Categories : Event   Film

Berlin Babylon, Stammtisch and other things


Some forthcoming things not to be missed:

On monday night (1st February) a showing of Berlin Babylon – Hubertus Siegert’s seminal documentary film about the reconstruction of prominent parts of Berlin in the 1990s, following many of the key players.  Showing as part of the Berlinsiche Galerie’s Berlin 89/09 season.  I’m working for him at the moment, so am possibly biased, but it’s worth seeing for lots of reasons, not least footage following the late Gunter Behnisch as he walks around the (at the time) semi-ruined Akademie der Kunst, Renzo Piano arguing about glazing details, and Helmut Jahn wearing a silly hat.

Also, if your partner doesn’t mind on Valentine’s Day, there’s the Berlinale Keynotes, with speakers including Norman Foster, Wolf D. Prix and Heinz Emigholz.

A couple of linked events on architecture and urbanism at the forthcoming Transmediale as part of the ‘Futurity Now’ programme: Topology of a Future City and Invisible Cities.

Plus of course ‘my’ regular Stammtisch, which will be on Tuesday 9th Feb (then back to the first Tuesday of each month thereafter) – at Kim – Brunnenstrasse 10, Berlin 10119 – from 8pm.

Disappointingly, I was hoping to arrange a group visit to the Dutch Embassy in February, but access/tours only available monday – thursday, so the planned saturday is not possible.  More on this once I’ve fixed a weekday date.

In summary, worth putting on your snow-wear for.

Short films and other things.


I’m still alive, but have been desperately busy over the last few weeks/months, with a lot of cake baking, plus other things, going on.  Actually, of these two (cake baking / other things) it’s been mainly cake baking.

But the ‘other things’ have been interesting.  I’ve been doing english subtitles for some short architecture films which the ever-fabulous have put together for the climate summit in Copenhagen next week.  I’ve listed them out here, if you’re mad keen to know which ones.

This one’s interesting in a techy sort of way, and is in Berlin.

And this one’s very interesting, although not subtitled by me (not subtitled at all, in fact) and not to do with sustainability.

By the way, the next Stammtisch will be on 5th January (the rule being the first Tuesday of the month).  Even though it’s January, and will doubtless be cold, and we will all doubtless be broke.

Architecture Films at the Deutsches Historisches Museum


William at Baustelle mentioned to me last night that the Deutsches Historisches Museum is running a series of architectural film screenings: ‘Kunst des Dokuments – Architektur‘.  It’s every thursday – tonight’s is Norman Foster’s Gherkin.

Worth going along not least to see the Zeughaus Kino itself, a ’superb example of ‘60s socialist functionalism’.

I would have flagged this up previously, but the DHM bombards me with such a huge number of press emails that I got behind with reading them, so that they piled up at the rate of several a day and I lost track.  Sorry!