| UWMA420| A High School for Film | J. Cordell Steinmetz | Duration: Spring, 2008 | Calibrations3 Publication |

In film, a series of still images are linked together in a systematic scene revealing a desired mood.  Experiencing both film and architecture through time manifests the latent spirit in both media.  Adopting this perspective brings new insight regarding ideas of atmosphere, aspects of experience, light, sound, views, rhythm and plot: Architecture viewed through a cinematic lens.  A High School for Film is composed of a series of sectional studies inducing memory and injecting spirit at precise moments.  The experience through the school parallels that of plot in film.  A subjective idea of ‘forward’ movement [plot development/movement through space] is met with breaks [choice] and reunion [culmination].  

A path cuts through the school like a river through a valley.  It meanders; winding around studios, labs, a library, classrooms, auditoriums, and informal spaces creating the procession.  Rhythms seduce an individual through the space, offering, in exchange, a memory of the path.  In both plan and section thresholds are experienced; compressed areas foreshadow large, open space provoking an intrinsic, emotional response.  This path is not prescriptive; numerous interstitial spaces offer students chances for ownership over their environment [like the branching delta of a river].  Catalytic courtyards of bioremediation address decades of industrial neglect, providing restorative environments for backdrops, contemplation, engagement, and inspiration to the spirited student.

A film is therefore the outcome of a succession of phases, both material and otherwise, in the course of which the images acquire form. During this process, the “mental cinema” of the imagination has a function no less important than that of the actual creation of the sequences as they will be recorded by the camera and then put together on the moviola. This mental cinema is always at work in each one of us, and it always has been, even before the invention of the cinema. Nor does it ever stop projecting images before our mind’s eye.

-Italo Calvino in “Six Memos for the Next Millennium”