• Kevin Roche: The Quiet Architect
    Mark Noonan
    Wavelength Pictures

Mark Noonan, Kevin Roche interviewed at Wesleyan, 2014, Middletown, CT. Courtesy of Wavelength Pictures.

Through a review of the long career of Pritzker Prize–winning architect Kevin Roche, who still works full time at the age of 92, the feature-length documentary film Kevin Roche: The Quiet Architect examines the relationship between the architecture profession and the public it serves. Roche's architectural philosophy is that "the responsibility of the modern architect is to create a community for a modern society,” which emphasizes the importance for peoples’ well-being to bring nature into the buildings they inhabit. The application of this philosophy is considered via acclaimed buildings such as the Ford Foundation and Oakland Museum. Though much architecture is commissioned at the behest of the rich and powerful, Roche has been able to reconcile his philosophy with the desires of clients who desire buildings that make a statement that reflects on their sense of prestige.

Kevin Roche (b. 1922) is an Irish-American architect who has worked across a variety governmental, educational, and corporate structures as well as art museums. Roche graduated in 1945 from University College Dublin. After short-term employment with firms in Dublin and London, he did postgraduate work at the Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago under Mies van der Rohe.  He worked briefly with the United Nations Planning Office in New York before joining the firm of Eero Saarinen and Associates, and was from 1954 to 1961 the firm’s principal design associate. After Saarinen’s death in 1961, Roche and his future partner, John Dinkeloo completed Saarinen’s remaining projects, including the Dulles International Airport terminal Washington, DC and the Gateway Arch in St. Louis, Missouri (1965).  In 1966 they launched Kevin Roche John Dinkeloo and Associates.  The projects for which Roche Dinkeloo are known include Oakland Museum (1966) the Ford Foundation, New York City (1968), Cummins Engines Headquarters, Columbus, Indiana (1985), Bouygues Headquarters near Paris (1988), Dai Ichi Life, Tokyo (1998), Cuidad Grupo Santander near Madrid (2005), and Convention Centre Dublin (2010). The firm also worked for a number of American universities, designing, for example, the Centre for the Arts at the Wesleyan University (1973) and the NYU Kimmel Centre (2003). Over a forty-year period Kevin Roche was the principal architect for the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York designing many of its new galleries and extensions. Roche was the recipient of numerous honours, including the 1982 Pritzker Architecture Prize. From 1994 to 1997 he served as president of the American Academy of Arts and Letters.

Mark Noonan is a writer and director working in drama and documentary. He studied architecture at University College Dublin (same as Kevin Roche), but after graduating in 2007, he opted to follow his other passion and embark on a career as a filmmaker. His debut fiction feature film You're Ugly Too had its world premiere at the Berlin Film Festival in 2015. Before this he had made the award-winning shorts Questions and Getting Air, which screened at many festivals around the world. He has been developing Kevin Roche: The Quiet Architect with Wavelength Pictures since 2013 including a five-minute showreel, funded by an Irish Film Board development grant.

John Flahive began his career at the British Film Institute, the UK's principal cultural agency for film, in 1988, where he worked in the acquisition and distribution of cultural feature films and documentaries, including works by Peter Greenaway and Derek Jarman. He left the BFI in 2007 and created Wavelength Pictures, where he continued to distribute arts documentaries such as profiles of Francis Bacon, Guenter Grass, Robert Flaherty, Oscar Niemeyer, and Rem Koolhaas. As producer of Kevin Roche: The Quiet Architect, he brings his extensive knowledge of audience to the project.

Kate McCullough is an award-winning Irish cinematographer. Her first feature documentary, the acclaimed His and Hers, received the World Cinematography Award in Documentary at Sundance in 2010. Variety described McCullough's work on her first fiction film Snap, as “balancing the correct doses of dread and hope in a film with just the right amount of gothic visual architecture.”

Mac Dara Ó Curraidhín is an award-winning producer and director of documentaries, since 1996. Often working in his native Irish language, he has produced many profiles of leading figures in the arts and cultural life of Ireland for broadcasters such as RTE (Ireland's national broadcaster), TG-4 (Irish language TV), the BBC, and the Irish Film Board, while filming extensively around the world. He brings his extensive technical knowledge and filmmaking experience to the project.

Founded in December 2007, Wavelength Pictures is a film company that seeks to produce, publish, and distribute thought-provoking and informative arts and cultural documentaries and arthouse feature films. Partnering most often with public broadcasters, public funding bodies, and non-profit foundations and institutions, it seeks to work with independent filmmakers and assemble creative teams to produce, publish, and distribute work which will be highly influential in its field, whether documentary or fiction.