On Oct. 3 at the Chicago Architecture Biennial, the AIA selected three winning films and recognized seven additional entries in its Look Up Film Challenge inviting participants to use storytelling to highlight the role of architects in the built environment. The grand prize of $1,500 and two roundtrip flights to the 2016 SXSW Film Festival went to Los Angeles–based director Andrew Jeric and designer Soha Momeni, whose entry "My City Listens" tells the story of a young Iranian architecture student learning about urban design. Los Angeles–based film journalist and jury member Carlos Aguilar received the second-place award of $1,000 for "The Red Office" about a real estate development company’s business model. Honolulu-based designer Kaoru Lovett won the third-place prize of $500 for "Mixed Plate Hawaii," a film about how Hawaii’s cultural heritage has influenced its built environment.
The AIA also recognized seven additional films in six themed categories: community impact, design resilience, historic preservation, design and health, diversity and inclusion, and emerging professionals. The AIA will also name a Public Choice Award recipient, based on the winner of an online poll, open until Nov. 1.
The competition is part of the AIA’s three-year "iLookUp" campaign to promote public awareness in the architecture profession. After launching the campaign last December, the AIA released its own short film, “An Architect’s Story: Chris Downey” at the AIA Convention in May. The documentary chronicles a blind architect’s work on designing for the visually impaired.
The Look Up Film Challenge jury included Aguilar; Puerto Rican firm Del Rio Arquitectos principal Miguel Del Rio, AIA; Chicago-based architect Peter Exley, FAIA; New York City video production company Arbuckle Industries cofounder Ian Harris, Assoc. AIA; Pittsboro, N.C.–based residential architect Alicia Ravetto, FAIA; Austin, Texas–based GSD&M chief creative officer Jay Russell; Seattle-based NBBJ healthcare practice leader Joan Saba, FAIA; and University of Oregon professor and Pivot Architecture project architect Karen Williams, AIA.
See the top three films below. The 10 winning films can be played at the competition's website.