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A CONSTRUCTIVE MADNESS

USA, 2003 (MIFF 2003, Documentaries)

Director: Tom Ball, Brian Neff, Jeffrey Kipnis

A fascinating, probing documentary that chronicles the decade that seminal architect Frank Gehry spent designing, planning and modelling a home for multi-millionaire Peter B. Lewis. The makers of A Constructive Madness were granted practically unlimited access to the staff, process, documentation, models and a gallery of architecture luminaries to dissect the folly, comment on all aspects of the project and ruminate on exactly why the whole thing fell into a heap!

Lewis was the founder of Progressive Insurance, a company on the rise in the 80s that rocketed its head to unforeseen wealth in a very short space of time.The idea for his Cleveland home began as a US$5 million splurge with Gehry enjoying complete creative freedom. Lewis was a huge fan of the architect and barely winced as the budget doubled, tripled, then went into orbit. During the process Gehry developed his concept of a connected 'village of forms' which he subsequently used for his famously surreal Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao. Lewis' home, however became a 40,000 square foot obsession with costs blowing out to US$82 million before being abandoned. An architectural thriller.

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