Architecture on Film: The Dilapidated Dwelling + Patrick Keiller Q&A / Intro

A fictional researcher (Tilda Swinton) dissects Britain’s relationship with its extraordinarily expensive, backwards housing. Past architectural innovations do battle with present day crises, through a narrative of facts, fiction and interviews.


06:30pm, Tuesday, 29 January 2019


10:15pm, Tuesday, 29 January 2019


Cinema 1
Barbican Centre, Level -2
Silk St, London, EC2Y 8DS



AF Members:
£9.60 (Please contact AF for promotional discount code)


Young Barbican:

Tel (9am-8pm):
+44 (0)20 7638 8891

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18:30 [Sold Out]
Introduced by Patrick Keiller, followed by conversation between Keiller and Owen Hatherley

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20:45 [Sold Out]
Introduced by Patrick Keiller

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We will be screening The Dilapidated Dwelling twice on 29 January 2019 due to public demand. We are delighted that director Patrick Keiller will be in attendance at both screenings.

18.30: Introduced by Patrick Keiller, followed by conversation between Patrick Keiller and writer and journalist Owen Hatherley. [Sold Out]

20.45: Introduced by Patrick Keiller. [Sold Out]


The Dilapidated Dwelling

“What does it mean to live in a culture that finds it so difficult to produce new domestic architecture?” asks the invisible protagonist of Keiller’s film, an inquisitive and puzzled fictional researcher, voiced by actress Tilda Swinton. She returns to the UK with fresh, and soon frustrated, eyes, finding, after her 20 years in the Arctic, that whilst the UK remains one of the world’s wealthiest and most technologically advanced economies, its extraordinarily expensive housing still lingers in a state of backward ruin.

Nineteen years on from its initial release, Keiller’s essay on the problems of the house in Britain has only gotten more vital, acute and devastatingly pertinent, as the housing crisis rages, rising rents displace residents, and property is leveraged as an asset that dominates, and rocks, the global economy.

Breaking down the failures of the housing industry to innovate and re-think itself – despite past achievements ranging from Neave Brown’s Alexandra Road Estate to Walter Segal’s self-build typologies – the film looks to Archigram, Buckminster Fuller, Constant’s New Babylon and Japan’s Metabolists for answers, alongside interviewees including Cedric Price, Doreen Massey, Martin Pawley, James Dyson and Saskia Sassen. Throughout, Keiller’s narrator journeys on her quest for answers, through facts, fiction, humour and even a love story.

“Is English housing just another characteristic of a backward capitalism? Is England a backward capitalism because it’s never had a bourgeois revolution?”

Exploring the typology, technology and semiotics of the house, offering a critique of the British home as outmoded in both its design and as a value system, architect-turned-filmmaker Keiller (London, Robinson in Ruins) critiques and questions what the home should and could mean today, through ‘an investigation of the predicament of the house in advanced economies’.

UK, 2000, Patrick Keiller, 78 mins