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Architecture & Design Film Festival:DC returns

The Architecture & Design Film Festival:DC (ADFF:DC) is back on track to return to the National Building Museum March 24-26, 2022.

Architecture & Design Film Festival:DC returns

The National Building Museum will again partner with the Architecture & Design Film Festival to produce and host ADFF:DC in Washington, D.C., March 24-26, 2022

Opening Night Celebration - March 24 @ 6:00 PM - includes In-Person Q&A with Design Visionary Bruce Mau following screening of namesake film MAU

Bruce Mau
Mau — 2021 / 76 min / Austria –Directors: Jono & Benji Bergmann –Courtesy of motion picture MAU
  • 12 feature-length films and a selection of short films from around the world that explore innovation and creativity in sustainability, historic preservation and adaptive reuse, as well as the important contributions of indigenous architects and the dynamic nature of design leadership.
  • Highlighted in this year’s festival are legendary icons like Frank Lloyd Wright and Marcel Breuer, renowned contemporary Danish architect Dorte Mandrup, in addition to other architects making their marks around the world.

First complete in-person program of the ADFF 2021/22 season in the US

Where & When

  • InPerson — National Building Museum401 F Street NW, Washington, DC 20001
  • Opening Night Celebration — Thursday, March 24, 6:00:PM – 9:30 PM.
  • Festive Event — to be held in the Museum’s soaring Great Hall and includes an open bar with signature cocktail, hors d’oevres and dim sum, and an opportunity to mingle.
  • In-Person Q&A with Bruce Mau — following film screening
  • About the film Mau — The namesake documentary explores the designer’s unlikely creative journey and ever-optimistic push to tackle the world’s biggest problems with design. Over the span of his career, Mau has transformed from a world-class graphic designer to designer of the world by advising global brands like Coca-Cola and Disney — and rethinking a 1000-year plan for Mecca, Islam’s holiest site.
  • Festival – March 24-262022

Tickets, Schedule, Program Descriptions & Registration for the public

  • Opening night – Tickets are $40 for Museum members, $25 for students and $50 for non-members, which includes the film, Q&A with creative visionary Bruce and reception. Registration Here
  • Individual films and associated programming – Tickets are $12 for Museum members, $5 for students and $15 for non-members. The $85 FlexPass allows admittance to multiple films and Opening Night festivities.
  • Full schedules, program, film descriptions and ticketing information are available here.

ADFF:DC Film Briefs

Another Kind of Knowledge – Portrait of Dorte Mandrup

2021 / 78 min / Denmark
Directors: Marc-Christoph Wagner and Simon Weyhe

Another Kind of Knowledge – Portrait of Dorte Mandrup

Another Kind of Knowledge is the result of a conversation that started in 2017 with the renowned Danish architect Dorte Mandrup, an established figure in the Scandinavian architectural world who is increasingly achieving prominence on an international level. In this film portrait, Mandrup reveals the cornerstones of her practice—place, history, materiality and sculpture — which she synthesizes to produce a consistent articulation of the contemporary.

Architect of Brutal Poetry

2021 / 70 min / Slovakia
Director: Ladislav Kabos

Architect of Brutal Poetry

Hans Broos, a famous Brazilian architect, German by origin, is the subject of this revealing film.  Suffering from Alzheimer’s disease, he decides to tell the story of his life to his reflection in the mirror and confesses to acts as a reflection of his own memories.

Battleship Berlin

2021 / 40 min / Germany
Director: Nathan Eddy

Battleship Berlin

Berlin’s brutalist architectural heritage is under fire in this documentary film. The city’s powerful Charité Hospital wants to destroy a brutalist icons of the Cold War era — the infamous former animal research laboratory called the Mäusebunker. A dedicated group of politicians, preservationists, architects, gallerists and students fight for an adaptive re-use of this magnificent, uncompromisingly unique structure.

Beyond Zero

2021 / 81 min / USA
Director: Nathan Havey

Beyond Zero

Ray Anderson had spent 20 years building Interface, the largest carpet tile company in the world.  He was blindsided in 1994 when he lost a large client order when an environmental consultant objected to Interface’s carpet tiles.  The documentary details how he met this emerging sustainability challenge, changed his life forever, and established an inspiring company mission with the potential to change the world.

Breuer’s Bohemia

2021 / 73 min / USA
Director: James Crump

Breuer’s Bohemia

Marcel Breuer was a prolific designer of residential architecture — a legacy often obscured by his success as a Bauhaus furniture maker and his large-scale built projects, including the Whitney Museum of Art in New York and US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD’s) headquarters in Washington, D.C.  Breuer’s Bohemia surveys the houses he designed in the 1950s -1970s, many commissioned by high-profile politically progressive clients and cultural peers, including Alexander Calder, Arthur Miller and  Philip Roth, marking a unique intersection of postwar architecture, art, and personal letters.

From Earth to Sky

2021 / 72 min / Canada
Director: Ron Chapman

From Earth to Sky

From Earth to Sky explores the work of seven unique and accomplished Indigenous architects as they design and complete extraordinary buildings in cities and communities across North America. The featured designers are Tammy Eagle Bull and Douglas Cardinal, the first Indigenous architects in North America.  Diverse in gender, age and artistic approach, each relates harrowing tales of dysfunction, poverty, violence, and assimilation, ultimately overcoming adversity to be recognized as leaders in their field.

High Maintenance – The Life and Work of Dani Karavan

2020 / 66 min / Israel
Director: Barak Heymann

Award-winning Israeli artist Dani Karavan has created nearly 100 environmental installations around the world. Despite his renown, Karavan is far from satisfied.  The film details how the architect becomes embroiled in a serious political and artistic conflict over his latest commission — a monument to Polish nationals who have risked their lives saving Jews during World War II.

Holy Frit

2020 / 119 min / USA
Director: Justin Monroe

Holy Frit chronicles how the irreverent Los Angeles artist Tim Carey and the company he works for, Judson Studios, bluff their way into winning the commission to make the world’s largest stained-glass window of its kind.  To fabricate his complex design, Carey finds a mentor to assist — a world-famous, Italian glass maestro, Narcissus Quagliata. The audience witnesses how Carey must put down his ego and submit to the artistic lessons of his complicated new master and collaborator.

Inside Prora

2019 / 100 min / Germany
Director: Nico Weber

Commissioned by Hitler prior to WWII, Prora is the longest building in the world and has been referred to as the “Monster by the Sea” and the “Colossus of Prora”.  Conceived as a three-mile-long vacation camp, it was converted to military barracks during WWII, and then was abandoned following Germany’s reunification. Now, hotels, museums and holiday homes are springing up — an unlikely triumph of Capitalism.  Inside Prora details the unfolding layers of history to reveal unexpected connections of society with modernist architecture and mass tourism.

Light Snatcher

2021 / 29 min / Finland
Director: Charlotte Airas

Light Snatcher

Light Snatcher investigates the intricate play of natural light in the work of Juha Leiviskä, one of Finland’s most successful contemporary architects.  This lyrical film reveals how light plays with buildings and space, like reverberation in music — and how light waves can act like sound waves, creating new dimensions of design.


2021 / 76 min / Austria
Directors: Jono & Benji Bergmann

Mau is the first feature-length documentary about the design visionary Bruce Mau and explores his unlikely creative journey and ever-optimistic push to tackle the world’s biggest problems with design.  Over the span of his career, Mau has transformed from a world-class graphic designer to designer of the world by advising global brands like Coca Cola and Disney — and rethinking a 1000-year plan for Mecca, Islam’s holiest site.

Mud Frontier: Architecture at the Borderlands

2021 / 63 min / USA
Director: Chris J. Gauthier

Mud Frontier: Architecture at the Borderlands

Mud Frontier: Architecture at the Borderland is about Ronald Rael and Virginia San Fratello and their work to connect contemporary technology with the legacy of pottery making and adobe architecture in the Southwest.  The film documents the team working to design and produce the first 3D-printed adobe structure in the United States. In a region considered one of Colorado’s poorest areas, Mud Frontiers seeks to provide solutions for more ecologically friendly, energy efficient, and affordable construction methods.

Unity Temple: Frank Lloyd Wright’s Modern Masterpiece

2020 / 55 min / USA
Director: Lauren Levine

Frank Lloyd Wright’s modern masterpiece, Unity Temple, is an homage to America’s most renowned architect during a pivotal time in his career. The film explores Wright’s first public commission in the early 1900’s and the painstaking efforts today to restore the 100-year old building back to its original beauty. The film intersperses the architect’s philosophies with quotes narrated by Brad Pitt.

What Does It Take to Make A Building?

2021 / 27 min / United Kingdom
Director: Jim Stephenson

An intimate portrait of architect Sarah Wigglesworth’s life and her mission to use her work as a vehicle for social change. Through her conversations with fellow architect Piers Taylor, Sarah discusses her architectural education — which was dominated by men and almost led her to quit the industry before graduation.  The conversations continue to discuss the experimental home and studio she designed and built with her partner Jeremy Till.

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