Ila Bêka and Louise Lemoine

The Museum of Modern Art in New York has announced the first film acquisition for the 83-year-old architecture and design department. The collection of 16 films, titled "Living Architectures" by Paris-based Bêka & Lemoine, will be added the department's collection. The Franco-Italian filmmakers, Ila Bêka and Louise Lemoine, are known for their use of cinema to shed a light (and a touch of humor) on the practicality, or lack thereof, of living in or interacting with iconic architectural sites around the world. Their most notable piece, a 2008 documentary named Koolhaas Houselife, follows the daily tasks of the housekeeper who maintains a private residence designed by Dutch architect Rem Koolhaas, Hon. FAIA, in Bordeaux for Lemoine’s paraplegic father.

Guadalupe, the housekeeper and subject of "Koolhaas Houselife," by Ila Bêlka and Louise Lemoine.
Ila Bêka and Louise Lemoine Guadalupe, the housekeeper and subject of "Koolhaas Houselife," by Ila Bêlka and Louise Lemoine.

They started this genre of architecture filmmaking a decade ago when Koolhaas Houselife was featured at the 11th Venice Architecture Biennale. The film was so well-received by critics that it pushed the duo to make 15 more, but with different takes on how people inhabit spaces. Xmas Meier (2013), for instance, looks at the impact of a Richard Meier, FAIA-designed Catholic church on its Tor Tre Teste neighborhood of Rome and uses the church's priest as the narrative star.

In many cases, without these films, the general public would not be able to access the intimate areas of these sites. They let us journey inside.

Currently, the couple serves is teaching at the Paris satellite of Columbia University’s Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation.

The Bordeaux residence, designed by Rem Koolhaas for Lemoine's father, depicted in "Koolhaas Houselife."
Ila Bêka and Louise Lemoine The Bordeaux residence, designed by Rem Koolhaas for Lemoine's father, depicted in "Koolhaas Houselife."

Watch the trailer for "XMas Meier" below: