Architecture + Film

Architecture + Film



Developed in conjunction with the Charlotte chapter of the American Institute of Architects, the Bechtler Museum of Modern Art’s Architecture + Film series investigates themes in modern and contemporary architecture through the lens of film.

On August 17, the Bechtler screens Sketches of Frank Gehry, a documentary by the late Sydney Pollack, the Academy Award-winning director of Out of Africa, Tootsie, The Way We Were and other classic films. Pollack reveals a personal side of Frank Gehry, an architect best known for bringing a sculptor’s sensibility and a deconstructive aesthetic to his designs.

Gehry is that rare kind of architect who has garnered both critical acclaim and popular fame. Not since Frank Lloyd Wright has an architect been such a household name. Pollock spent hours in Gehry’s studio, on building sites, and in his home to capture the essence of Gehry’s unique architectural process and his shy and elusive personality. The two take a tour of the architect’s earliest structure (a hay barn in California) and some of the most recognized buildings of the modern era, including the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao in Spain and the Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles. 

Also featured is a look at the renovation Gehry completed on his own home in Santa Monica. In 1978 Gehry wrapped the outside of his 1920s bungalow with metal, plywood, chain fencing and corrugated steel. “When I bought it, I realized I had to do something to it before we moved in,” Gehry says in the film. “I loved the idea of leaving the house intact and not messing with it. I came up with the idea of building the new house around it.”

Released in 2006, Sketches of Frank Gehry features interviews with Gehry’s clients, admirers and friends including former Disney chiefs Michael Eisner and Michael Ovitz as well as former Guggenheim director Thomas Krens. View trailer here.

A New York Times review credited the film for “respecting the essential enigma of its subject even as it illuminates his ways of thinking about form, space and construction.”

A short presentation led by Marley Carroll, Vice President of Design at Clark Nexsen, will precede the film.

Running time: 83 minutes.


An event reception begins at 6 p.m. in the Bechtler lobby followed by the presentation and film screening at 7 p.m. Tickets are $10 for non-members and $8 for members. Cash bar and free light bites. Tickets may be purchased online, by phone 704.353.9200 or at the visitor services desk.

Upcoming Architecture + Film Offerings

September 21 – Bird’s Nest: Herzog & de Meuron in China

October 19 – Philip Johnson: Diary of an Eccentric Architect

November 16 – Louis Sullivan: The Struggle for American Architecture

Image: The Walt Disney Concert Hall, Los Angeles. Photo by Ultan Guilfoyle, courtesy of Sony Pictures Classics Inc.

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ex © 2022 Bechtler Museum of Modern Art All images and content copyright. All rights reserved. Credits: Design: MODE. Artwork Photography: JoAnn Sieburg-Baker, David Ramsey General Photography: Eric Bahrs, Mitchell Kearney, Gary O'Brien, Nancy Pierce, Maxim Vakhovskiy Copywriting: Pam Davis Charlotte Skyline Photo: courtesy of Visit Charlotte School of Paris: John Boyer (Copy), MODE (Design)
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