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Q&A with MY ARCHITECT Filmmaker Nathaniel Kahn with architects Brinda Somaya & Gina Pollara

Tuesday, April 11

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Nathaniel Kahn is an American filmmaker. His documentary MY ARCHITECT (2003) — about his father, the architect Louis Kahn — was nominated for an Academy Award, two Independent Spirit Awards, and won the Directors Guild of America Award. His film TWO HANDS (2006) about the pianist Leon Fleisher was nominated for an Academy Award and an Emmy. Kahn's documentary on the interaction between the worlds of art and commerce, THE PRICE OF EVERYTHING (2018) premiered at the Sundance Film Festival, was broadcast by HBO and was nominated for an Emmy. His film THE HUNT FOR PLANET B (2021) about NASA’s Webb Telescope premiered at SXSW, was broadcast by CNN and was nominated for an Emmy.

Brinda Somaya is an architect and urban conservationist and the Founder and Principal Architect of Somaya and Kalappa Consultants (SNK). Upon completion of her Bachelor of Architecture from Mumbai University and her Master of Arts from Smith College in Northampton, MA, USA, she started her firm  in 1978 in Mumbai, India. In May 2012 she was the recipient of an Honorary Doctorate from her alma mater, Smith College. In 2014 she was awarded the Indian Institute of Architects – Baburao Mhatre Gold Medal for Lifetime Achievement. In 2015 she was honoured as Distinguished Professor by the Indian Education Society’s College of Architecture (IES), Mumbai. From 2016-2021 she was the Chairperson of the Board of Governors, School of Planning and Architecture, Vijayawada, an Institute of National Importance. In 2017 she joined the Board of the Lafargeholcim Foundation for Sustainable Construction, Zurich, Switzerland and was also elected as the A.D. White Professor-at-Large by Cornell University, U.S.A. Read more.
Note: Ms. Somaya and her studio (SNK) won the Award Of Distinction, UNESCO Asia-Pacific Awards For Cultural Heritage Conservation of Louis Kahn’s Vikram Sarabhai Library, on the campus of Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad, India.

Gina Pollara runs her own consulting firm providing strategic planning and project management services. During 2019-2020, she served as interim Chief Operating Officer of Wrightwood 659, an exhibition space in the Lincoln Park neighborhood of Chicago designed by the architect Tadao Ando. Ms. Pollara was executive director of the Franklin D. Roosevelt Four Freedoms Park from 2006 to 2013 and oversaw construction of the memorial designed by Louis Kahn. As associate director of the Irwin S. Chanin School of Architecture Archives of the Cooper Union from 2001 to 2006, she co-curated the pivotal exhibition on the FDR Memorial, which ultimately led to its successful completion nearly forty years after its inception. She is currently working with the Remember the Triangle Fire Coalition to realize a memorial to the 146 people who died in that tragic event. The memorial is slated to be installed this fall. Ms. Pollara holds a B.Arch. from The Irwin S. Chanin School of Architecture of The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art, and a B.A. from Bennington College.

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