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While feature length architecture documentaries like My Architect, Visual Acoustics and Unfinished Spaces have received oscar nominations and international acclaim (sometimes both), there’s always room in our hearts for shorts. One of the most talented filmmakers in this genre is Evan Mather, who has put together a string of the briefer variety. Eight of his shorts will be screened tomorrow evening at LA’s A+D Museum as part of its on screen series.
Mather, who has been making films since he was eight years old, is also a landscape architect, working as a principal at LA’s AHBE landscape architects. He’s brought that expertise to films for AHBE and others. He’s also made a feature, A Neccessary Ruin, about Buckminster Fuller’s Union Tank Car Dome.
“I’m interested in the perception of landscapes and how we remember them—how they influence us,” said Mather, who grew up in New Orleans. Although, he adds, “It can be a challenge to convey highly technical information in an interesting way.”
One of the pieces, Building A Sustainable Future, documents the creation of AHBE’s work at Burbank Water and Power, which included the transformation of abandoned substation into a large vine trellis, employee garden and courtyard. Another, Pavilion dans les Arbes, is the story of Touraine Richmond Architects’ beautiful new Silverwood Lake State Recreation Area Visitors’ Center in California’s San Bernardino Mountains. A third is 12 Minutes to Vegas, which through time-lapse video compresses the three-and-a-half hour drive from Los Angeles to Las Vegas into 12 minutes. Now that’s speeding. Others tackle issues in the profession like recycling paper waste (So What?), using traditional materials in new ways (Ojama), and design philosophy (Expressions).
Mather believes that this type of video work will soon become the norm in architecture. “As designers we need move beyond relying on animated fly-thrus and video translations of PowerPoint presentations… With these tools being so accessible more and more design firms are using video to communicate their work.”