Internationally renowned architect and designer Diana Agrest will screen her film "The Making of an Avant-Garde: The Institute for Architecture and Urban Studies, 1967-1984" on Thursday, Jan. 30 at 6:30 p.m. in the Yale School of Architecture auditorium (YSOA) at 180 York St. The event is free and open to the public.
A professor at The Irwin S. Chanin School of Architecture at The Cooper Union, Agrest is recognized as a pioneer in exploring film’s influence on urban design. “The Making of an Avant-Garde,” which she wrote, directed and produced, premiered at The Museum of Modern Art in New York in 2012.
The 64-minute film looks at the history of The Institute for Architecture and Urban Studies (IAUS), a not-for-profit studio and think tank based in New York that promoted innovative research, education, and development in architecture and urbanism. It began in 1967 with a core group of young architects seeking alternatives to traditional forms of education and practice.
Key figures that shaped IAUS included Agrest, who was a fellow from 1972–1984, and Peter Eisenman, the Charles Gwathmey Professor in Practice at Yale and the institute’s founder and first executive director.
Agrest’s documentary is structured around a series of interviews she filmed over a period of 10 years. In addition to Eisenman, she spoke with architectural historians Kenneth Frampton and Anthony Vidler, as well as architects Frank Gehry, Richard Meier, Charles Gwathmey ’62 M.Arch., Mario Gandelsonas, Rem Koolhaas, Julia Bloomfield, and Robert A.M. Stern ’65 M.Arch., dean of the Yale School of Architecture.
Born in Buenos Aires, Agrest graduated with an architectural diploma from the University of Buenos Aires in 1967. She completed her post-graduate studies at the Center de Recherche d'Urbanisme and the Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes, VI Section in Paris, France.
In addition to her most recent film, Agrest directed “Framing the City: Film, Video, Urban Architecture,” which was shown at The Whitney Museum of American Art in 1993. Her publications include “The Sex of Architecture” (1996) and “A Romance with the City: The Works of Irwin S. Chanin” (1984). Her buildings have appeared in “New York Architects” (2002); “1000 New York Buildings” (2002); and the current issue of the “AIA Guide to New York Architecture.”
Agrest has designed and built projects including plans for large cities and parks in China, the United States, and Europe; buildings; and residences and interiors. Her firm, Agrest and Gandelsonas Architects, has received numerous honors and awards, and her work has been exhibited in the United States and abroad, including The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; The Walker Art Center, Minneapolis; Center Pompidou, Paris; and the German Architecture Museum, Frankfurt. She has also taught at Yale, Princeton, and Columbia universities.