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Tour a Modernist Architect's Most Famous Buildings in New Film

Wells Coates's Isokon and Embassy Court buildings get the silver screen treatment

Architecture's greatest structures are, of course, best experienced in person, whenever possible. But, barring travel, the next best thing is taking a cinematic journey through a space.

Filmmaker Alex Simpson teamed up with photographer Chris Baker—who became fascinated with Canadian architect Wells Coates's work and began photographing his buildings—to create a short documentary about Coates's most renowned modernist apartments in England: The Isokon in Hampstead, London, and Embassy Court in Brighton.

The five-minute-long film, Legacy of Wells Coates, features interviews with the buildings' residents, including with Matt Black, Coates's grandson, and Magnus Englund, the founder of Scandinavian furniture and homewares showroom Skandium, as well as tours of the flats.

The Isokon was built in 1934 as a concrete block of 34 flats for British furniture designer Jack Pritchard and his wife, Molly, and attracted other notable residents including Bauhaus founder Walter Gropius. Gropius and his wife were escaping Nazi Germany. Author Agatha Christie and designer Marcel Breuer also took up residence there.

Embassy Court is a 72-unit, 11-story seafront apartment building located in Brighton with notable residents including comedian Max Miller, actor Rex Harrison, and dramatist Terrence Rattigan.

In designing the Isokon and Embassy Court, Coates adhered to Le Corbusier's belief that a building should be "a machine for living." Indeed, the residents that are featured in the film share that they adore the clean, simple, basic designs of their flats—which are, in their own way, habitable works of art—and that they continue to find daily joy in their living spaces.

Watch the film below.