Citizen Lambert: Joan of Architecture

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  • Produced by Amélie Blanchard, Paul Cadieux, Germaine Ying Gee Wong, Dominique Boischot, Sally Bochner, and Ravida Din
  • 2007Canada60 minutesEnglish

Free, in partnership with the Winnipeg Public Library.

A unique glimpse into the world of Phyllis Lambert, renowned Canadian architect, urban activist, patron and founder of the Canadian Centre for Architecture in Montreal, Citizen Lambert: Joan of Architecture paints a vibrant portrait of a figure so often presented one-dimensionally in the press.

The public story of Phyllis Lambert is told through a prologue loosely conceived as a parody of Citizen Kane’s “News on the March.” These newsreel-like sequences detail Lambert’s many accomplishments—such as commissioning Mies van der Rohe to design the Seagram Building in New York in the 1950s; directing photographic missions from the early 1970s to document historic architecture; her role as an urban guerrilla in the landmark Milton-Parc housing renovation project; founding Heritage Montréal in 1975; and forming the collections which led to her founding the CCA as a research centre and museum. This public Phyllis contrasts sharply with the private Phyllis presented through the montage of footage shot in Lambert’s home with director Teri Wehn-Damisch. This is Phyllis Lambert uncensored, in her own words, in her own world. The figure that emerges from Wehn-Damisch’s composite portrait is that of a visionary thinker with boundless energy, a feisty woman driven by joyful ambition, a free spirit.