Learning from Buffalo (working title)

(2018 / 100 minutes / 4K / English)

Learning from the existing landscape is
a way of being revolutionary for an architect.
Not the obvious way, which is to tear down Paris
and begin again, as Le Corbusier suggested
in the 1920s, but another, more tolerant way;
that is, to question how we look at things.

Robert Venturi, Denise Scott Brown and Steven Izenour
Learning from Las Vegas, 1972

Buffalo, New York is a microcosm of American architecture. It is home to several architectural masterpieces built in the late 19th century to the early 20th century, such as the Darwin D. Martin House by Frank Lloyd Wright, the Guaranty Building by Louis Sullivan, and Kleinhans Music Hall by Eliel and Eero Saarinen. While some important buildings, including the Larking Building by Wright, have been demolished, the preservation movement has been active in Buffalo for the past years. Architecture is embraced as a treasure, but it could be a burden to the city at the same time. Buffalo, which was once a prosperous city, has suffered from economic downturn for decades. Industries have left and the population has declined almost by half. One of the issues that the city has been facing is vacant properties. Since 2000, the city has demolished thousands of vacant homes and buildings to clean up some neighborhoods, which just created vacant lots in turn. This film is a cinematic study on architecture through observing the cityscape of Buffalo and translating architecture into film. It examines the relationship between architecture, city, and people while exploring spaces and celebrating the beauty of architecture.