Architecture and Design Film Festival brings the best in urbanism and design to Vancouver

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      The Georgia Straight is a proud media sponsor of ADFF Vancouver 2023.

      There’s something about built environments and home design that’s endlessly fascinating. 

      It’s why Architectural Digest pulls the big numbers telling us about home trends and showing off celebrities’ mansions. And home renovation shows continue to bankrupt people in pursuit of their dream retractable-solarium-swimming pool cover dreams. We all live somewhere—so what is it that makes our rooms, our homes, and our cities look like that? 

      We don’t have the answers. But the Architecture and Design Film Festival (ADFF) might. Based out of New York, it has grown over the years to include stops in Chicago, Toronto, and Vancouver. The fest screens a carefully curated lineup of features and shorts over four days that delve into the most interesting parts of urbanism and space style.  

      Many of the films on offer are having their Vancouver premieres, such as Rehab (from rehab), which examines how a physical rehabilitation centre in Basel, Switzerland uses its physical building to help recovery. Or consider this year’s veins, a supply chain story that follows 30,000 tons of marble across the world from quarry to construction (and examines the ramifications of said journey). 

      There’s also a trio of films exploring South Asia’s unique culture and context that are showing in the city for the first time. The Genius of the Place: The Life and Work of Geoffrey Bawa charts five of the Sri Lankan architect’s most magical works; The Power of Utopia – Living with Le Corbusier in Chandigarh pulls apart the ideas that went into Chandigarh, a city in north India envisioned as a utopia; and The Promise: Architect B.V. Doshi honours an influential Indian architect who died earlier this year.

      Perhaps best-known is My Architect, a 2003 movie that helped crystallize the entire niche. The 20th anniversary of the film sees ADFF bring back to the big screen the story of Nathanial Kahn, illegitimate son of architect Louis I. Kahn, as he tries to unravel the legacy of his dead father’s creations. (A cursory glance at the works on offer suggests “child of architect makes personal movie about parent” is an entire sub-genre in itself.)

      Catch opening night feature We Start With the Things We Find (about LOT-EK’s pioneering shipping container creations) at Hollywood Theatre, and other films at VIFF Centre’s Vancity Theatre, across the Remembrance Day long weekend.

      Architecture and Design Film Festival Vancouver 2023

      When: November 9 to 12

      Where: Hollywood Theatre, 3123 West Broadway, Vancouver; Vancity Theatre, 1181 Seymour Street, Vancouver

      Admission: Tickets available online