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Festival celebrates architecture

POSTED October 19, 2010 11:16 p.m.

The art and drama of towering skyscrapers, bridges that seem to defy gravity and the beauty of a solid structure will be the focus of the upcoming Modesto International Architecture Festival.

The festival opens Thursday and runs through Saturday at the State Theatre and is presented by The American Institute of Architects Sierra Valley Chapter and its partners, the Modesto Art Museum, the Modesto Film Society, and the State Theatre.The festival showcases tours, movies, exhibitions, discussions and talks providing an opportunity for the general public, design professionals, companies, and cultural institutions to celebrate architecture and the architecture profession as both an art and a science, and to heighten public awareness of architecture and the value of architects. Additionally, programming will explore the ways architecture and urban design impact communities emphasizing the AIA’s Ten Principles of Livable Communities and special attention will be given to the role of women in architecture.“My hope is that the festival will be a catalyst for a greater movement within the Central Valley,” said AIA Sierra Valley vice-president Barrett Lipomi, “to create livable communities and inspire residents to value their rich architectural history while promoting progressive design, smart growth, and environmental sensitivity.” The kick-off event is at 6 p.m. Thursday with a presentation on the significance of video as an integral part of the design process, a valued marketing tool, and an important method of post-occupancy evaluation. The presentation will be led by Adam Goss and Red Mike of the Chicago-based Spirit of Space. Spirit of Space is a consulting firm that helps explore the exchange of activities and emotions within a space and bring an increased awareness of the built environment to the design professional as well as the public.The presentation is at the State Theatre and admission is free.

Friday’s events start with an informal conversation over coffee about the role of architecture in creating livable cities. Attendees are asked to read AIA documents: Livability 101, and 10 Principles of Liveable Communities and view the following video on YouTube: Insights into a Lively Downtown. Participation requires purchase of at least a cup of coffee or other beverage at Picasso’s Gourmet Deli at 963 10th St., in Modesto.

From 10:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. there will be self-guided walking tours of Modesto’s Modernist architecture in downtown. Tour maps will be available at the State for $1.

Starting at 1 p.m. and continuing till 3 p.m., the festival will offer self-guided driving tours of Modesto’s religious architecture. Six of the nine churches on the tour will be hosting open houses for this event for the Friday tour. Maps available at the State for $1.

Friday’s program includes two movies concerning women in architecture. The first, “A Girl Is A Fellow Here: 100 Women Architects in the Studio of Frank Lloyd Wright,” is a 15-minute documentary that explores a little known legacy of Wright. Produced by the Beverly Willis Architecture Foundation, the movie premiered at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York. At a time when few architectural firms would hire women, Wright unhesitatingly employed women, giving them both training and opportunity to practice. Ultimately, over 100 women architects and designers worked with Wright. The second, “Studio Gang Architects: Aqua Tower,” showcases the work of the architecture firm headed by Jeanne Gang. Saturday’s program starts at 10:30 a.m. with a presentation at the State on livable communities and sustainable landscape design. The presentation will be followed by a guided walking tour. The self-guided tours of modernism and religious architecture will continue on Saturday. The closing program starts at 6 p.m. A gala with complimentary champagne and hors d'œuvres will precede the film program from 6 p.m. to 6:45pm.  Photographs from the region’s best architectural photographers will be exhibited in the lobby. At 6:45pm director Judith Paine McBrien will give an introduction prior to the screening of her movie "Make No Little Plans: Daniel Burnham and the American City." After a brief intermission the award winning movie “Visual Acoustics - The Photography of Julius Shulman” will be screened. The movie explores the work of Shulman and portrays the impact photographers can have on architecture and the community. Following the film an announcement of the audience favorite award from the short-movie program will be made.Tickets for individual events are on sale now. A festival pass providing admission to everything is only $25. Information about the festival and tickets can be found at: www.modestoarchfest.com.

To contact Sabra Stafford, e-mail sstafford@turlockjournal.com or call 634-9141 ext. 2002.

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