Coast Modern

George Suyama is the only local architect featured in Coast Modern, which feels like a slight. Where are Paul Hayden Kirk, Roland Terry, and Paul Thiry? Still, despite such omissions, this handsome Canadian-made documentary survey is like an issue of Dwell put to film, with guaranteed appeal for aficionados of shelter mags and real-estate porn. And we do see Frank Lloyd Wright's Brandes House over in Sammamish among other iconic structures of the last century, from L.A. to the Bay Area to Vancouver. Arthur Erickson and BC are well represented, no surprise; and there's Canuck writer Douglas Coupland, who praises "the absence of history" during that postwar moment where small-open-and-glassy seemed a viable path for the housing industry. (Instead we got Levittown.) There's a strong element of nostalgia here, given architecture's present moment of crisis after the subprime-backed megamansion bubble. The once glamorous profession of Richard Neutra and Pierre Koenig now faces an era of austere urban density. Suyama says we have to "pull back and live with less things." Does that mean smaller budgets? Don't count on it. But we can still dream. (NR) BRIAN MILLER

Dec. 11-13, 7 & 8:30 p.m., 2012

 
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