Under the theme "Blueprint for Better," the American Institute of Architects had invited to its third annual I Look Up Film Challenge earlier this year and encouraged U.S.-based architects to team up with filmmakers to showcase how architectural design can leave a positive social impact.
The winning films have now been announced, and the grand prize winner is Myles Kramer, director of Community by Design: Skid Row Housing Trust.
GRAND PRIZE WINNER: Myles Kramer
Community by Design: Skid Row Housing Trust
The film features Los Angeles-based firms Michael Maltzan Architecture and Brooks + Scarpa Architecture and their design contributions to those who suffer from the city's overwhelming homelessness crisis.
"I always felt that space and design had some kind of varying impact on my moods and my thinking, but I just didn’t know why," explained Kramer. "It was only after working on this project, did I learn more specifically about how architecture and design affects people’s day to day lives."
From the film description: "Los Angeles has the highest number of unsheltered people in the country. The Skid Row Housing Trust in downtown Los Angeles provides not only housing for the homeless but innovative solutions to keeping them off the streets. In 1989 The Skid Row Housing Trust began restoring and preserving single room occupancy housing in the downtown area. Currently, the Trust focuses on new construction projects while collaborating with renowned architects including Michael Maltzan Architecture, and Brooks + Scarpa Architecture. By utilizing design techniques to provide natural lighting, open courtyards, and semi-public spaces, the Trust fosters a sense of community within its buildings."
"Residents have the option to attend various job training, mental health, and art classes throughout the buildings, which help the tenants transition from living on the streets. With the use of intelligent building design, community classes, and wrap around health services, The Skid Row Housing Trust offers effective solutions to fighting homelessness with a proven track record. The portfolio of buildings that the Trust owns is steadily expanding, using a model that can be replicated in any city."
FIRST RUNNER UP: Brad Deal
From the film description: "Pisces, from Greek mythology, takes the form of two fish connected by a cord that allows them to help others and ensures that they don’t loose one another. Pisces and its myths became the framework for our 2017 design build project: A bridge that connects the two sides of a summer camp for children with special needs and creates an variety of opportunities for one of their favorite camp activities, fishing."
SECOND RUNNER UP: Julian Pham
A Little Alcove: San Francisco Navigation Center
From the film description: "Our film is about the Navigation Center: A pioneering, transitional housing concept for the homeless in San Francisco. We followed one of the residents, Fred Vickers, around the Navigation Center to hear his story and spoke with the project’s architects and designers to learn about what influenced them and why this project is so important to the City. The Navigation Center program is designed to serve San Francisco’s highly vulnerable and long-term homeless residents who are often afraid of approaching traditional shelters and services. Navigation Centers provide room and board to San Franciscans without shelter while case managers work intensively to connect them to jobs, public benefits, health services and permanent housing opportunities. The location for the featured Navigation Center is also innovative as it is built on a temporarily available site – a dead-end street right-of-way - that will be available for only three years – and utilizes modular construction, elevated on a demountable wood deck system, that can be reconfigured and relocated once the site is vacated."
The three winning directors will receive prizes as well as exclusive screenings at the Architecture & Design Film Festivals in Chicago (September 26) and New York City (November 1). The jury for the 2017 challenge included Rosa T Sheng, Thomas Vonier, Michael Ford, John Montague, Priscilla Ghaznavi, and Glenn Kiser.
The public is now invited to vote for their favorite film and select the People's Choice winner. Visit ilookup.org to watch all films and cast your vote until October 6.
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