Architecture With a Twist

Two European documentaries from 2005 about the construction of two large, innovative, and controversial buildings. Fredrik Gertten's 59-minute The Socialist, the Architect, and the Twisted Tower, in English and subtitled Swedish, concerns the “Turning Torso,” a residential high-rise by Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava in Malmo; it has the more interesting subject—conflicts between class and aesthetic issues—but the filmmaking is dull. Dutch director Mirjam von Arx's 52-minute Building the Gherkin—in English, about Norman Foster's pickle-shaped office tower on the site of an IRA bombing—is something of an industrial, but it's an adept and entertaining one.

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