Back on the Podium: Meet Our 2017 Film Challenge Second Runner Up

We’re excited to share that first-time entrant, Julian Pham, director of A Little Alcove: San Francisco Navigation Center, was chosen as the 2017 I Look Up Film Challenge Second Runner Up. Learn more about Julian and his inspirational film below and don’t forget to cast your vote by October 6 for the People’s Choice Award winner.

A Little Alcove: San Francisco Navigation Center is about a pioneering, transitional housing concept for the homeless in San Francisco designed to serve the city’s highly vulnerable and long-term homeless residents who are often afraid of approaching traditional shelters and services.

AIA:  How did you find this story?
Julian Pham:  This happened to be a San Francisco Public Works project (also my place of employment) that we wanted to make a short documentary about for quite some time because we felt so moved and inspired about the Navigation Centers and their impact. The documentary got put on the back burner due to scheduling issues, but when we heard about the I Look Up film competition, a new sense of excitement and focus compelled us to put together this piece in a short amount of time.

AIA:  What does “Blueprint for Better” mean to you?
Julian Pham:  To me, “Blueprint for Better” means the use of architecture and design to ameliorate social problems, transform blighted areas, or bring hope and attention to underserved/forgotten populations.

AIA:  What was it like working with architects?
Julian Pham:  I always appreciate working with highly-intelligent, detail-oriented people! Their input was invaluable towards the shaping of this film.

AIA:  Did this experience change your view of architecture? If yes, how so?
Julian Pham:  Yes. I think I became more aware of how much thought goes into the details of a space in order to affect the user’s experience. It’s not just about making a pretty building.

AIA:  What was one of the highlights or most moving moments of the experience?
Julian Pham:  Working with Fred Vickers who was the homeless man featured in the video. He was just so helpful, kind and generous with his time. It was great to see how important the center was to him at that point in his life.