National Building Museum Hosts First D.C. Edition of the Architecture & Design Film Festival

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Over 25 Films from Nine Countries will be presented by the Nation’s Largest Film Festival Devoted to Architecture and Design

WASHINGTON, D.C.—The National Building Museum will partner with the Architecture & Design Film Festival to launch the first festival in Washington, D.C. (ADFF: D.C.), presented with the Revada Foundation. ADFF is the nation’s largest film festival devoted to the creative spirit that drives architecture in design. Over the course of four days, the festival will screen films that explore the life and work of architects such as Rem Koolhaas and Bjarke Ingels, and journalist, author, and activist Jane Jacobs, and timely topics such as design for positive social change and generative healthcare design. ADFF: D.C., presented by the National Building Museum with the Revada Foundation, begins with an Opening Night celebration and screening of BIG TIME on the evening of Thursday, February 22, 2018. The festival runs through Sunday, February 25, 2018.

“We are thrilled to be hosting the Festival at the National Building Museum,” said Kyle Bergman, ADFF founder and director. “I believe film is one of the best ways to inspire curiosity in the world we design and build, and look forward to sharing a diverse array of perspectives and projects at the inaugural edition of ADFF: D.C.”

The National Building Museum will be the venue for all films, featuring three separate theaters, two of which will be specially outfitted for the festival, including the Museum’s iconic Great Hall. Full schedules and ticketing information is forthcoming and will be detailed at Feature film highlights of ADFF: D.C. include:

BIG TIME (Opening Night film)
Architect Bjarke Ingels made a name for himself and for his design firm BIG in his native Denmark, winning international acclaim for his bold, untraditional designs. Director Kaspar Astrup Schröder follows Ingels over six years as he takes on his largest project yet, relocating to New York City to create VIA 57 and then getting the commission for the new 2 World Trade Center. How will the maverick genius balance his professional ambition and personal life when given the chance to change the city’s iconic skyline?

Building Hope: The Maggie’s Centres
This is the fascinating story of Maggie’s, a unique cancer charity. In 1993, Maggie Keswick Jencks was diagnosed with terminal cancer and was told she had three months to live. On hearing this devastating news she was left to sit on a plastic chair in a hospital corridor. The only place she could find to cry was a bathroom stall. Her husband and co-founder Charles Jencks, said, “I think that initial shock was certainly the moment when Maggie thought we can do better than this. You don’t have to suffer in a corridor on death row having just been told that you are going to die. That was the moment architecture and medicine met in our minds.” In the last year of her life, Maggie spent her time working on an idea for a cancer center which she hoped would change the lives of other cancer sufferers. Since her death the most prominent names in architecture from Zaha Hadid, Norman Foster, Frank Gehry and others have designed astonishing landmark buildings bearing her name.

Citizen Jane: Battle for the City
The film highlights Jane Jacobs’ magisterial 1961 treatise The Death and Life of Great American Cities, in which she single-handedly undercuts her era’s orthodox model of city planning, exemplified by the massive Urban Renewal projects of New York’s “Master Builder,” Robert Moses. Jacobs and Moses figure as two larger-than-life personalities: Jacobs, a journalist with provincial origins, no formal training in city planning, and scarce institutional authority seems at first glance to share little in common with Moses, a high prince of government and urban theory fully ensconced in New York’s halls of power and privilege. Yet both reveal themselves to be master tacticians who, in the middle of the 20th century, became locked in an epic struggle over the fate of the city. In three suspenseful acts, Citizen Jane: Battle for the City gives audiences a front row seat to this battle, and shows how two opposing visions of urban greatness continue to ripple across the world stage, with unexpectedly high stakes.

Glenn Murcutt: Spirit of Place
Glenn Murcutt: Spirit of Place explores the life and art of Australia’s most famous living architect. With a bevy of international awards, including the prestigious Pritzker Prize, Murcutt has put Australian architecture on the map. Yet, by choice, he has never built outside his own country. Murcutt’s focus instead has been the creation of energy-efficient masterpieces perfectly suited to their environment, and his breakthrough designs have influenced architects around the world. This documentary follows Glenn Murcutt, now 80 years old, as he designs his most ambitious project to date—a mosque for an Islamic community in Melbourne.

REM, the documentary by Rem Koolhaas’s son, explores the architect’s life, working methods, philosophy, and internal landscape, from a never seen perspective of intimacy and immediacy. This point of view allows the viewer to understand Rem’s ideas in a way they couldn’t otherwise. These ideas are not merely explained as intellectual concepts but also in practice—the reality on the ground, fruition in concrete and metal. The film shows how these structures, some massive and some small, all over the world, affect every aspect of the lives of the people that built them, use them, and live inside them.

ADFF: D.C. is presented with the Revada Foundation, courtesy of the estates of Reva and David Logan, with additional support from American Institute of Architects and The Howard Hughes Corporation. The film festival lounge is furnished by Herman Miller, and the projection equipment provided by Sony.

The National Building Museum is America’s leading cultural institution dedicated to advancing the quality of the built environment by educating people about its impact on their lives. Through its exhibitions, educational programs, online content, and publications, the Museum has become a vital forum for the exchange of ideas and information about the world we build for ourselves. Public inquiries: 202.272.2448 or visit Follow us on Twitter: @BuildingMuseum and Facebook:

Founded in 2009, the Architecture & Design Film Festival celebrates the creative spirit that drives architecture and design. Through a curated selection of films, events, and panel discussions, ADFF creates an opportunity to educate, entertain, and engage all types of people who are excited about architecture and design. It has grown into the nation’s largest film festival devoted to the subject with an annual festival in New York and satellite events around the world. For more information, visit or @ADFILMFEST on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.