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Chicago Architecture Center hosts Architecture & Design Film Festival

The touring film festival will feature documentary screenings and inspiring conversations between award-winning filmmakers and world-class design leaders.

The Chicago Architecture Center will host the Architecture & Design Film Festival for the second year in a row. The touring festival—which kicked off in New York—has already had successful runs in Toronto and Vancouver and will present a slate of films curated for the Chicago market in collaboration with CAC.

“We are honored to bring the Architecture & Design Film Festival to the CAC once again,” said Eleanor Gorski, CEO and President, Chicago Architecture Center. “This year’s cinematic celebration not only showcases the diverse narratives of architecture and design but also serves as a reflection of Chicago’s rich architectural history, including our importance to the Modernist movement.”

The festival will kick off at the CAC on January 31, with a cocktail hour and screening of “We Start With the Things We Find”— a movie about the visionary design studio LOT-EK. A conversation between filmmaker Tom Piper and Ada Tolla and Giuseppe Lignano, co-founders of LOT-EK, will follow the movie.

ADFF will continue at CAC through February 4 with 20 movies spanning a variety of architecture and design topics. This year’s festival features an array of films that delve into the essence of Modernism, a design style emblematic of Chicago’s cityscape. “The Mies van der Rohes,” a compelling piece closely tied to Chicago’s architectural roots, unravels the story of architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, who greatly influenced Chicago’s skyline and mid-century modern architecture after moving to the Windy City from Germany. “Modernism, Inc.” highlights the story of another Modernist legend, Eliot Noyes, who built the design programs for IBM, Westinghouse and Mobil Oil.

Several of the films, such as “My Architect,” “Skin of Glass” and “Radical Landscapes,” are profiles of famous architects made by their children. South Asian architecture also has a strong presence at this year’s film festival, with “The Promise: Architect BV Doshi,” “Genius of the Place” and “The Power of Utopia, Living with Le Corbusier in Chandigarh,” featuring stories from that region.

In addition to screenings, the CAC will host programming that features conversations with filmmakers and major players in Chicago’s architecture scene, as well as cocktail hours on Friday and Saturday evenings.

“As an architectural historian, I’m always looking for opportunities to make architecture and design accessible and interesting to the general public, and curating the Chicago iteration of this festival has been the most fun and successful way to do just that,” said Adam Rubin, Senior Director of Content, Exhibits & Interpretation for the CAC. “We chose films that would both excite Chicago audiences and give us the chance to bring in local architectural experts for post-screening discussions.”

Tickets for ADFF are on sale for $20 for each screening for the general public and $15 for CAC members, except for the opening night event, which is $30 and $20, respectively. View trailers and purchase tickets at

The Chicago Architecture Center (CAC) is a non-profit organization founded in 1966, dedicated to inspiring people to discover why design matters.

A national leader in architecture and design education, the CAC offers tours, programs, exhibitions, and more that are part of a dynamic journey of lifelong learning.

Opened to the public in 2018, its riverfront location is in the heart of the city, where Michigan Avenue meets the Chicago River, featuring nearly 10,000 square feet of exhibition space with views of a century of iconic skyscrapers.

Through partnerships with schools and youth-serving organizations, the CAC reaches approximately 5,000 K-12 students annually, while teacher workshops provide educators with tools and resources they need to advance STEM curricula in their classrooms.

Committed to serving under-represented communities in construction, engineering, and design professions, the CAC offers many of its education programs—and all its programs for teens—at no cost to participants.

CAC programs for adults and members include talks with acclaimed authors and practicing architects, in-depth presentations on issues and trends in urbanism, and classes unlocking subjects related to the built environment.

Proceeds from programs, tours, and the CAC Design Store, as well as from grants, sponsorships, and donations, support its educational mission. Visit to learn more.

Founded in 2009, the Architecture & Design Film Festival celebrates the creative spirit that drives architecture and design. Through a curated selection of films, events, and panel discussions, ADFF creates an opportunity to educate, entertain, and engage all types of people who are excited about architecture and design. It has grown into the world’s largest film festival devoted to the subject, with an annual festival in New York, Chicago, Toronto, Vancouver and satellite events around the world.

For more information about the film fest, visit

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