NEW YORK.- New York film production company Certain Pictures announces that The Museum of Modern Art is featuring a short documentary by company principal Anthony Rossello. The film is part of MoMA's current and acclaimed show Home Delivery: Fabricating the Modern Dwelling. It runs through October 20, 2008.
Mr. Rossello's film details the prefabrication, delivery, and assembly of the BURST*008 house, one of the five houses selected by MoMA to be constructed on the museum's West 53rd Street west lot -- the future home of Jean Nouvel's New York skyscraper -- directly adjacent museum. The film is being projected in a continuous loop on the westward-facing wall inside the second bedroom of the house.
BURST*008 architects Douglas Gauthier and Jeremy Edmiston recognized early in their planning process that filming the project would be a valuable complement to their narrative on the MoMA-sponsored blog that was updated weekly in the months leading up to the exhibit opening. As they worked with Mr. Rossello and Certain Pictures on that, they together decided that a documentary within the exhibit would help visitors understand their vision of the modern prefabricated home.
"The filming is an integral part of the project. People understand the house and the process of its concept when they see Anthony's work. It went a long way on the blog and the piece in the show is a sophisticated read on the process and language of the entire MoMA project," said Mr. Gauthier.
The BURST* construction process differs from what many people would consider 'prefabrication.' The film is structured to highlight each process, including the computerized milling of over 1,000 unique plywood pieces, to demonstrate why this is considered prefabrication.
Documentary Brings to Life Novel, Efficient Process of Constructing the House
Mr. Edmiston explains, "With BURST*, there is very little interpretation between the model that's designed in the studio and the machine that's cutting framing. So, you're effectively controlling the waste, minimizing materials, maximizing the efficiency of the systems and the materials that are in play in the house."
To illustrate this point, the 10-minute film is preceded by a two-minute animated
short of the house delivery and construction. The animation shows, in model form, almost exactly what the viewer will see being cut, assembled, and built in the live-action film that follows, demonstrating the predictive and prefabricated nature of the project for viewers who might otherwise view BURST*008 as a typical construction effort.
Commenting on the style of his film, Mr. Rossello said, "The original BURST* is a beach house in Australia which has this great surf style. The architects also drew influence from artists like Andy Warhol and Sigmar Polke. We established the graphic style early in the project, for the video blogs, and it worked well as we moved on to the documentary. Overall, the project was naturally cinematic in so many ways. Certain segments, like the delivery and placement of the large rib structures, were beautiful to watch. We just let the film breathe during those moments."
"I learned from the architects that prefab is not always about bringing it all to the lot and bolting it together. It's also about controlling risk and creating flexibilities as a result of new technology and smart design," Mr. Rossello added. "BURST* is more 'kit' than prefab. So, on the surface the site looked like a traditional construction site, which offered a great opportunity to create in the style of old construction videos with many workers working in unison while including modern tools like CAD drawings and computer-driven mills."
Documentary as Design
Continuing the mix of old and new, the film viewing experience is reminiscent of a reel-to-reel movie: the animation and documentary are projected as a large image on a wall inside a room where one imagines BURST* home owners could watch their home movies.
Said Mr. Edmiston, "Anthony's documentary visually articulates the arguments we were trying to make with the delivery system of the house and the on-site construction. By the end of the process, Anthony had made a design document in its own right. The film not only describes the story of construction, it puts into play the idea that making is a form of thought. "
Certain Pictures also produced video for BURST*008 on MoMA's Installation Journal website. The video blog documented weekly the process of fabrication from model building to wood and steel measuring and cutting to transportation to assembly. The video blogs -- each about 2 minutes in length -- are both educational and playful, whetting the appetite of budding architects and architectural fans around the globe awaiting to walk through BURST*008 for themselves earlier this summer.
The Certain Pictures film is on exhibit, as part of Home Delivery: Fabricating the Modern Dwelling at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, from July 20th to October 20th, 2008.