The New Bauhaus
The New Bauhaus

The Architecture & Design Film Festival (ADFF) will return to New York this fall for its 11th season. ADFF:NY is the festival’s anchor event that takes place annually during Archtober – New York City’s Architecture & Design month.

The festival will kick off on Wednesday night, with the US premiere of The New Bauhaus, a film exploring the artistic practice and legacy of Bauhaus master László Moholy-Nagy and his critical role in bringing modern design to America.

The festival will also include more than 25 other films that highlight important political and socio-economic issues like housing injustice and immigration as well as celebrate the prolific lives of trailblazing architects like Denise Scott Brown, Mario Botta, and Bruce Goff.

In addition, filmgoers can expect director Q&As, panel discussions with high-profile speakers like architect Phyllis Lambert and interactive installations, that will all amount to a massive and important moment to educate, entertain, and engage all types of people who are excited about architecture and design. The festival will then head to Vancouver and Toronto for the first time, followed by DC, LA and New Orleans with other satellite events throughout the year.

“We are thrilled to introduce so many incredible films into the U.S. this year,” notes ADFF Founder & Director, Kyle Bergman. “The lineup contains many films that stray beyond the traditional boundaries of architecture and design, and tread into the realms of politics, global health and inequality. It’s so important to address these topics today and to do so through a design-focused lens.”

A few of the film highlights for this year’s ADFF:NY include:

The New Bauhaus (Opening Night Film & US Premiere) – Directed by Alysa Nahmias, this film centers around the creative and controversial genius, László Moholy-Nagy, who brought the Bauhaus movement to America and founded the New Bauhaus school in Chicago. Often called “mechanistic,” “appalling,” and “anti-humanist,” Moholy-Nagy was a design renegade, whose teachings influenced many of the artists and designers who would go on to define the second half of the 20th century.

City Dreamers (Closing Night Film & U.S. Premiere) – Phyllis Lambert, Blanche Lemco van Ginkel, Cornelia Hahn Oberlander and Denise Scott Brown are four trailblazing architects who became accustomed to being the only woman in the room. Through original interviews, archival material and stunning cinematography, documentary filmmaker Joseph Hillel uncovers how each of these strong, independent thinkers has shaped the cities we live and work in. 


Gateways to New York (U.S. Premiere) – Director Martin Witz tells the story about the great Swiss structural engineer Othmar H. Ammann, who emigrated to New York in 1904 and whose work (including the George Washington, Bayonne, Triborough, Bronx Whitestone, Throgs Neck and Verrazano-Narrows bridges) redefined the art of bridge building in America during the steady acceleration of 20th century America.


PUSH (U.S. Premiere) – Housing prices are skyrocketing in cities around the world while incomes are not. PUSH, directed by Fredrik Gertten, sheds light on a new kind of faceless landlord, our increasingly unlivable cities, and an escalating crisis that has an effect on us all. This is not gentrification, it’s a different kind of monster. The film follows Leilani Farha, the UN Special Rapporteur on Adequate Housing, as she travels the globe, trying to understand who’s being pushed out of the city and why. Leilani Farha will be present during the screening of the film on October 17 and will be available for a Q&A following.

A Poetics of Living (NY Premiere) – On the shore of the Pacific Ocean in Chile, a young architect, who narrates this contemplative film, returns to the landscapes that are close to her heart. She guides us on an architectural exploration of Ciudad Abierta (The Open City) to reveal a collaboration of architects and artists where habitable space becomes poetic concept.

A Poetics of Living Trailer

The Human Shelter (NY Premiere) – The film is an epic, poetic journey investigating how we, as human beings, design and build our homes. Director Boris Bertran explores the concept of “home,” and how humans express themselves creatively within that sacred space, whether it’s a lagoon settlement in Lagos, a refugee camp in Iraq or a six square-meter dwelling in Tokyo.

Masters of Modern Design (NY Premiere) – From the hand-drawn typeface on the cover of The Godfather to Herman Miller’s biomorphic coffee table, the work of Japanese American designers including Ruth Asawa, George Nakashima, Isamu Noguchi, S. Neil Fujita, and Gyo Obata permeated postwar culture. Akira Boch’s film explores the less-discussed side of these second generation Japanese American artists’ pasts: how their World War II incarceration—a period of intense hardship and discrimination—had a powerful effect on their lives and art.

The full film lineup for ADFF:NY will be announced September 5 and tickets will go on sale September 16.

Additionally, ADFF’s Short Films Walk (SFW:NY) will take place on October 2, two weeks leading up to the anchor festival. A crowd favorite for the past five years and now onto its 6th season, SFW:NY brings crowds of ADFF fans to SoHo’s Design District, where attendees move from showroom to showroom while sipping drinks and viewing site-specific short films curated by ADFF.

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