Currently showing in select U.S. theaters, the documentary If You Build It follows designer/activists Emily Pilloton and Matt Miller of Project H , who moved to the poorest county in rural North Carolina to implement a design-build program for public high school students, Studio H (think of it as shop class, reinvented). The project's inspiration was to provide students with no experience in design with the opportunity to create structures for their own lives and their communities.
Pilloton and Miller, after assessing local needs, worked with high school students in economically stagnant Bertie County to design and build a 2,000-square-foot open-air farmers' market to revive the local economy. "Our film is an entertaining and inspiring reminder of how incredible our schools can become with a little bit of creativity and a lot of hard work," says Patrick Creadon, the film's director. "But beyond that, it's a celebration of the power of great design and what it means to all of us." The hands on design-build curriculum developed by Pilloton and Miller teaches students to examine the world they live in, devise solutions, and engage with their communities.
"For anyone who appreciates great design,” adds Creadon, “ If You Build It offers an entertaining and inspiring look at where great architecture comes from and the impact it can have on all of us." The film opened at the IFC Center in New York on January 10 and will open at Landmark Nuart in Los Angeles on January 24. Click here for a listing of screenings around the country or here to bring the film to your town.