CAFx2015: Copenhagen Architecture Festival

by | 19. Mar 2015


Barbicania by Ila Beka & Louise Lemoine. Image courtesy Copenhagen Architecture Festival

Today marks the first day of the Copenhagen Architecture Festival, or CAFx2015, which was held for the first time last year. Spanning four eventful days the program this year impresses in both its scope and its ambition.

The festival might still be in its pubescence, but they dream big. Their primary goal is to broaden knowledge and awareness within the general public of the role played by the built environment in everyday life. The mission of the festival is not just educating the public, however. Over the course of the next couple of years, they aim to become one of the major events within the field of architecture.

The festival boasts four days, packed with events focused in and around Copenhagen and Aarhus at a wide variety of venues, such as the cellars of Carlsberg Brewery, the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art and the Copenhagen Main Station.


‘Nostalghia’ by Andrei Tarkovsky. Image courtesy Copenhagen Architecture Festival

The Themes of CAFx2015

The program offers eleven different themes, all dealing with different architectural disciplines.

With the theme ‘Nostalgia and Place’, you will experience films dealing with nostalgia as an artistic motif that turns spaciousness into a temporal matter and recognizes memory, association and atmosphere, all as carriers of meaning in our perception of space. Here you can see, among others, the classic ‘Nostalghia’ of Tarkovsky in the vaulted church space of Koncertkirken at Blågårdsplads.

The theme ‘Portraits’ presents a selection of portraits of architects and their works, including a world premiere of ‘Scenes from the Life’ of Raimund Abraham’ – an until now unpublished five hour film, by the American independent director Jonas Mekas, about his close friend, the famous Austrian-American architect Raimund Abraham.

‘Transit & Territories’ is a series of films, which look at the contrast between being settled and rooted, and in a transitory state. It dissertates our different ways of perceiving the living space, both as a physical and geographical delimitation and as a sense of belonging or a way of engendering identity. You will among others be able to catch Pedro Costa’s masterpiece ‘In Vanda’s Room’ and the Danish premiere of ‘Pixadores’.


‘Pixadores’ by Amir Escandari. Image courtesy Copenhagen Architecture Festival

With ‘Rural Space’, we look at the space that is not determined by the city, the architecture, or the dense population, but rather the space that is characterized by agriculture, nature, and peripheral rural areas with a low population density. This lifestyle and these rural spaces will be shown in a different perspective than that of the urban space, through Michael Kristerssons ‘Kestrel Eye’. The related theme Notions of Nature debates nature as an entity, and for this, we have invited famous Danish gardening icon Søren Ryge for A Søren Ryge Special with films and debates at the Danish Architecture Centre.

‘American Modernism’ describes the role that the US has played in the architectural modernism. We look at the most important architects and their works. We have invited our colleague from New York, festival director of the Architecture and Design Film Festival, Kyle Bergman, to present several of the movies.

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‘Koolhaas Houslife’ by Ila Beka & Louise Lemoine. Image courtesy Copenhagen Architecture Festival

‘Houses and Biographies’ deals with the living space as a particularly meaningful threshold between our inner, private world, and that of the outside. The theme will be unfolded in various ways, through film, exhibitions, conferences and in the new housing project ‘The Silo’ at Nordhavn, in a collaboration with DR K. Simultaneously with the festival, DR K will be showing more of the films from this theme for a nationwide audience.

Additionally, the festival has organized a series of films and events, which in different ways treat ‘The Underground’ as a physical and imaginary location. We therefore introduce you to the sound piece ‘Under Bjerget’ by the sound artist Jacob Kirkegaard, an aural recording of Carlsberg’s iconic underground architecture. We also present a single work by Itso & Adams  in one of the Central Station of Copenhagen’s most spectacular space.

At Louisiana Museum of Modern Art in Humlebæk the focus is on the African continent, with two series: ‘White Elephants’ is an expression used in African countries – and in other former colonies – about imposing but now abandoned and useless buildings that were built by the colonial powers. ‘African – On the Move’shows life in African cities, from the post-independence-period in the 1960s & 70s, up until present day life. The films are both preludes to Louisiana’s forthcoming Africa exhibition and a different perspective on values related to space and place.

Finally, the theme ‘Architectural Processes’ deals with the translations and negotiations that occur when an architectural project is realized. How architecture is interwoven with society manifests itself in this phase, and we will be screening three films on specific buildings and their construction process.

See the entire program and get your tickets here.

barbicania.pngBarbicania by Ila Beka & Louise Lemoine. Image courtesy Copenhagen Architecture Festival