RIBA think-tank presents short and feature films by Jaques Tati and George Lucas to accompany Le Corbusier exhibit

The RIBA’s think-tank Building Futures will present a weekend of presentations, shorts and feature films, exploring architectural utopian fantasies and cautionary dystopias to accompany the 'Le Corbusier – The Art of Architecture' exhibition at the Barbican, London.

The medium has since been used by a host of architects and visionaries to illustrate possible futures, and Le Corbusier himself embraced film to convey and promote his ideas.

The films are grouped around four distinct themes, which chart 75 years of the development of film and experimentation with the shifting realm of the architectural imagination:

Saturday 28 March, 6pm
A Civic Endeavour
Global war, gleaming underground cities and a luddite reaction to space travel, H.G Wells’ landmark Things to Come (UK 1936 Dir William Cameron Menzies) offers an epic 100 year prophecy. Le Corbusier’s highly charged vision of demolition and construction for Paris is revealed in Architectures d’Aujourd’hui (France 1931, Dir Pierre Chenal).

Homes for the Future
From American 1950s suburban promise of a bright future with the help of multi-talented robots (Leave it to Roll-Oh, US 1940, Handy Organisation) to Charlie’s plan to wave good-bye to overcrowded cities in favour of the UK’s new towns in Charlie and the New Town (UK 1948, Dir John Halas) this session looks back at the post-war optimism and the modern home, heavily contrasted in Mon Oncle (France 1958, Dir Jaques Tati).

Sunday 29 March, 6pm
The City of Control
Set in the stark environment beneath the earth’s surface, George Lucas’ first commercial feature (THX1138, US 1971, Dir George Lucas) envisages a de-personalised future civilization controlled by authoritarian robotic police. This suffocating view of technological estrangement preempted a wave of 1970s dystopic features and shorts that tapped into our suspicions of authority, technology and who or what is planning our future.

The Fight for a Future
Faced with environmental challenges, film has portrayed both societal ‘meltdown’ around ecological disasters and stories of hope and endeavour. This session deals with both; firstly with Garbage Warrior (UK 2007, Dir Oliver Hodge), the tale of eco-architect Michael Reynolds and his quest to build off-the-grid self-sufficient communities, followed by the highly dystopian end of the world animation of The Ark (France 2006, Dir. Grzegorz Jonkajtys).

This will be followed by Nic Clear of UCL presenting a series of shorts that looks at architecture’s role in the Near Future, an architecture of high-tech, low-tech and even no-tech (Unit 15, The Bartlett School of Architecture, UCL)