Architecture & Design Film Festival

I think we’ve finally arrived. In its tenth year, the New York-based Architecture and Design Film Festival is coming to DC, and will begin on Thursday at the National Building Museum. Over four days, design lovers can screen more than two dozen films on architects, architecture, fashion design, theoretical design, designers and design movements.

And here’s the best part: Four DC by Design readers can win tickets to a movie of their choice! More on that in a bit…

“For years, I’ve been wanting to do it at the National Building Museum,” festival director and founder Kyle Bergman told me. While the festival has traveled around the country and abroad in past years, Bergman was been working with NBM staff to organize a venue here.

Next weekend’s festival will screen films in three theaters: the museum auditorium, the Pension Commissioner’s Suite, and the Great Hall—where viewers will wear special headphones to hear the sound so it doesn’t get lost in that cavernous space. “It’s finally happened, and hopefully this will be an annual event at the museum,” Bergman said. “Definitely in 2019, and hopefully every other year.”

I’m all over this festival and and want to see every single film.

Here are the films I’m most looking forward to:

“Big Time,” about the young architect Bjarke Ingels, who designed New York’s Via 57 West and 2 World Trade Center. You can see the trailer here.

Bjarke Ingels

BIG TIME – International Trailer from Good Company Pictures on Vimeo.


“Columbus,” the first narrative film to be included in the festival, is a story that takes place in the architecturally rich Columbus, Ind., where the likes of I.M. Pei, Eero Saarinen and Bob Stern have designed buildings:



“Dries,” a documentary about fashion designer Dries Van Noten:



“The Gamble House,” about the Greene & Greene design that ushered the Arts & Crafts movement in the United States:


The Gamble House Trailer from Don Hahn on Vimeo.


And of course, who could miss the documentary about Charles and Ray Eames:


This year’s festival will also travel between New York, L.A., New Orleans and Athens, Greece. For the most part, the film lineup is the same, but Bergman said he adds a couple films that are unique to each city that hosts the festival.

That means we in DC are the only ones who’ll see the politically motivated “Citizen Jane,” about journalist Jane Jacobs, who fought against New York’s massive “urban renewal” projects in the 1960s:



And  “Face of a Nation,” which probes why America abandoned its World’s Fairs, while they continue on as celebrations of great design in other countries:


FACE TRAILER 1-21-18 DK 7PM_VIMEO from mina chow on Vimeo.


How To Win:

OK, so here’s the good part: Kyle Bergman kindly offered to give away four tickets to readers who leave a comment here talking about why they want to see a specific movie in the program. Those picked randomly will get a ticket to the movie they request in their comment.

To review, here is the full movie program

Click here for general ticket-purchase information.

I hope to see you there!


  1. Tamara Lyons says:

    I would love to see Dries, as I grew up with a fashion designer Grandma, and am always drawn to the behind-the-scenes of putting together a collection. Plus, Dries is so talented and makes such stunning clothes!

  2. Jeff used to live in Columbus! Eames looks really great too. I’d enjoy tickets to either!

  3. Big Time for Bjarke Ingels and the controversy over the redesign of the Smithsonian’s Haupt Gardens AND Columbus for starring modernist architecture and John Cho, both big steps for inclusivity and diversity, as well as defining a sense of place physical and metaphysical.

  4. Pick me pick me! I am interested in Big Time and Bjarke Ingels for his work to revamp the Smithsonian (and the controversy with regard to the Haupt Gardens). Also want to see Columbus for the “star” of the film, the modernist architecture, though also very interested in the story of the two main human characters – this vehicle for an Asian American actor in a starring role is a great step forward for inclusivity and diversity.

  5. I would love to see the Eames film! They all sound wonderful, but the Eames film, in particular, will further educate me on the history of Eames’ furniture and design. As a boutique owner specializing in vintage furniture and decor, I look forward to any opportunity to learn more about the history of design!

  6. Face the Nation looks really interesting, and I wonder why I hadn’t asked the question before, where are all the World’s Fairs gone??

  7. Bethann Siegel says:

    Yes! This is great, so glad it’s come to DC. As an art enthusiast and recovering museum employee, I still dabble in art events and would love to see the opening night Big Time.

  8. I would LOVE to attend this event! I just graduated with a degree in architectural design and an art history minor. The film I want to see most is the Eames film because I touched on some of their designs in my senior thesis regarding the Case Study Houses. ❤️

  9. The ‘Eames: The Architect and The Painter’ will spur me on in my endeavor of designer/craftsman in modern furniture of forged steel and carved wood. My active library covers modern design, functionalist furniture, Parisian Art Deco ironwork and more.