Imagine if someone made a documentary featuring five starchitects behaving badly during a heated competition to design a museum? Now imagine if those architects were combative personalities like Frank Gehry (who recently flipped the bird at a Spanish journalist), Zaha Hadid (who thinks the critics of her Tokyo stadium are “embarrassing themselves”), and Jean Nouvel (who is currently suing the Parisian concert hall that he spent eight years designing). Well, the good news is: this magical documentary actually exists, it’s called “The Competition,” and it’s coming out in the U.S. on April 1, 2015.
Directed by the Spanish architect Angel Borrego Cubero, “The Competition” follows the three aforementioned architects, plus Norman Foster and Dominique Perrault as they compete to build a national museum for the tiny principality of Andorra. The film takes place between 2008 and 2009, at the peak of the economic meltdown, and “a museum the size of a department store, for a tiny microstate nestled in the folds of the Pyrenees, was not something to be sniffed at,” writes the Guardian; the doc “exposes the world of iconic architecture at its worst.” The competition’s entry rules required all five firms to agree to be part of the documentary (genius idea, Andorra, thank you). It is just as fraught and dramatic as one might think.
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