Architecture & Design Film Festival zooms in on L.A.

The Los Angeles edition of the Architecture & Design Film Festival kicks off its five-day salute to art, architecture, design, fashion and urban planning Wednesday with showings of “If You Build It,” “Design Is One: Massimo & Leila Vignelli” and “16 Acres.”

The L.A. film festival, running through Sunday, will feature 30 recent feature-length and short films from around the world. “There is something for everyone who likes design at the festival,” said the festival’s founder and director, architect Kyle Bergman.

Tickets to film programs are $14. The films will screen at the Los Angeles Theatre Center, 514 S. Spring St.

Several documentaries in the series will focus on designs specific to California, including “The Oyler House,” a film about the Lone Pine retreat designed by Richard Neutra; “Coast Modern,” a look at West Coast Modernist architecture; and “Telos: The Fantastic World of Eugene Tssui,” making its world premiere.

Director Kyung Lee said she hoped her documentary on Tssui, considered by some to be an eccentric nature-based architect, would challenge viewers’ perception of what architecture should be.


“So many people have opinions about architecture and what they like and what they don’t like,” she said. “I’d like people to come and see for themselves. Maybe it’s not practical, but we should be able to extend our idea of architecture.”

The festival also will feature question-and-answer sessions with the filmmakers, including Kyung Lee and Eugene Tssui (“Telos: The Fantastic World of Eugene Tssui”), Aimee Madsen (“Paolo Soleri: Beyond Form”) and Doug Pray (“Levitated Mass”), as well as five hourlong panel discussions.


Clifford Pearson, deputy editor of Architectural Record, will moderate “Remaking the City,” a panel on population, scale, urban design and Danish architect and urban planner Jan Gehl, whose work is featured in the film “The Human Scale.” Panelists are architect Jonathan Ward, Los Angeles Times architecture critic Christopher Hawthorne and Mina M. Chow, professor at the USC School of Architecture. 7 p.m.


Frances Anderton, host of KCRW’s “DnA: Design and Architecture”; Knud Erik Hansen, chief executive of Danish furniture company Carl Hansen & Son; architectural historian Barbara Lamprecht; and others will discuss “No Easy Chair: Architects and the Design of Furniture.” 2:30 p.m.


Architect Alice Kimm, professor at USC’s School of Architecture, will moderate “Learning Culture: Embedded Architecture,” a discussion on the current state of architectural education, with Kevin Kennon, founding principal of United Architects; architect and educator Ingalill Wahlroos-Ritter; professor and designer Amy Murphy; and urban historian Norman Klein. 4:30 p.m.


Architecture critic Michael Webb will moderate “Purism and Pragmatism: Restoring Classic Modern Houses,” a panel on the restoration and delicate balance between idealism and practicality. He will be joined by actress and preservationist Kelly Lynch, who owns Richard Neutra’s Oyler House; designer Michael Boyd of Boyd Design; and architect Frank Escher, partner at Escher GuneWardena Architecture and an expert on John Lautner. 2:30 p.m.


Mimi Zeiger, critic, curator and founder of the architecture zine and blog Loud Paper, will present “Hands-on, Ground-up: Community and Design/Build” with Steve Badanes, director of the Neighborhood Design Build Studio at the University of Washington; artist Jenna Didier; and Dave Sellers, architect and co-creator of the utopian Prickly Mountain enclave in Vermont. 5:30 p.m.


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