Diana Agrest Film Screening: The Making of an Avant Garde: The Institute for Architecture and Urban Studies 1967–84

Black and white photo of people gathered around a dinner table looking into the camera.

Dinner party at the Institute for Architecture and Urban Studies. photo / provided

Edgar A. Tafel Lecture

About the film:

The Institute for Architecture and Urban Studies (IAUS), founded in 1967 with close ties to the Museum of Modern Art, helped to make New York City the global center for architectural debate and redefined architectural discourse in the U.S. A place of immense energy and effervescence, its founders and participants were young and hardly known at the time but would ultimately help to shape architectural practice and theory for decades. Agrest's film documents and explores the institute's fertile beginnings and enduring significance as a locus for the avantgarde. The film features Peter Eisenman (B.Arch. '56), Diana Agrest, Richard Meier (B.Arch. '55), Mario Gandelsonas, Kenneth Frampton, Charles Gwathmey, Anthony Vidler, Rem Koolhaas, Frank Gehry, Deborah Berke, Mark Wigley, Stan Allen, Barbara Jakobson, Suzanne Stephens, Bernard Tschumi, Joan Ockman, among others.

Through rich and abundant footage portraying the period the film presents the creation and existence of the IAUS in the architectural, cultural, and political climate of the time: from the anti-war riots, the Women's Movement to the Paris May 68 revolution, and the crime ridden and bankrupt New York City. The story is told through Agrest's own archival footage and the voices of active participants and leaders telling stories about the IAUS and about their own personal experiences.

About the director:

Diana Agrest is an internationally renowned architect known for her pioneering approach to architectural and urban design practice and theory. Her designed and built work range from urban projects, housing complexes, and master plans, to single family residences and interiors in the U.S., Europe, South America, and Asia. Her work has received numerous awards.

Agrest's longstanding passion for film has always played a major role in her career. Over the course of her career she has developed an approach to urbanism and the city based in great part on film and film theory, and was a pioneer in bringing this subject to the fore through the publication of essays, lectures, and teaching. Based on her work on the subject, Agrest created and directed Framing the City: Film, Video, Urban Architecture for the Whitney Museum's Department of Film and Video in 1993, for very young architects. She has since applied this approach of "reading" the city through film in her studios at the Cooper Union and other schools and has produced over 50 short films.

Agrest is a fulltime professor at the Irwin S. Chanin School of Architecture of the Cooper Union where she has taught for over 35 years. She has taught at Princeton University, Columbia University, and Yale. She was a fellow of the Institute for Architecture and Urban Studies in New York City from 1972 to 1984. Her authored books include The Sex of Architecture; Agrest & Gandelsonas: Works; Architecture from Without: Theoretical Framings for a Critical Practice; and A Romance With the City: The Works of Irwin S. Chanin. Her work has exhibited in museums, galleries, and universities globally, including Schenzen Biennial; The Museum of Contemporary Art (Los Angeles); The Walker Art Center; The Dallas Museum of Contemporary Art; The Fogg Museum; Leo Castelli, New York; Center Pompidou, Paris; Minalo Triennale; the German Architecture Museum, Frankfurt.