Architecture and film have multiple overlaps. Generally, good architecture, as good filmmaking, responds to the human condition in narrative form. Both encapsulate culture as the experience of space and time. Architecture and film unfold at different scales, allowing us to travel through real and virtual worlds. Both mediums originate in our imaginations, before taking shape in the material world. They are both collaborative and can be expensive and time consuming to initiate and complete. Films are set in cities, landscapes, and buildings in which architecture functions as a visual shorthand, conveying crucial details about characters and plot. The buildings and spaces that we daily inhabit play active roles in our lives that can feel protective, oppressive, hostile or even sublime.
Film can give architects a more profound understanding of how architecture is experienced, providing another perspective for theoretical and built work. Skene Catling de la Peña has had an ongoing interest in the medium of filmmaking for its narrative possibilities and as a way of testing the original underlying ideas of their projects. This is a small selection of short films that explore some of their work.
Because of this ongoing interest in film and architecture, after several fortuitous encounters in London and Santiago de Chile in 2015, Charlotte Skene-Catling and Manuel Toledo-Otaegui came up with the idea to create the first film festival in the UK dedicated to these shared topics. Just one year later, the Architecture Film Festival London was launched. ArchFilmFest London was the first festival in the UK to focus on architecture and film. A biennial, five-day event with screenings, physical installations, symposia, a competition, workshops and social events, ArchFilmFest London is partnered with the established ArqFilmFest in Santiago, Chile, the first architectural film festival in Latin America.
The Archfilmfest London brings together key positions and preoccupations that straddle the border between architecture and filmmaking. Providing a platform for these disciplines to meet, creating dialogue around form, content, technique and technology, promotes a deeper collaboration between innovations in both mediums. From storytelling motifs to the new frontiers opened up by CGI and virtual reality, to architecture acting as a central character in film, this festival’s core themes reveal the myriad ways in which film and architecture captivatingly coexist.