‘Unexpected Modernism’ Film Highlights Shreveport’s Architecture

Film Award founder Gregory Kallenberg’s film “Unexpected Modernism: The Wiener Brothers Story” was the subject of a special screening and panel at the Robinson Film Center on Thursday, May 19.

The film is in collaboration with Rational Middle Media and tells the story of Jewish architects Sam and Bill Wiener who were half-brothers from Shreveport. Their modernist designs of residential, institutional and commercial buildings from the 1930s to 1960s left their mark on Shreveport.

After the first screening, there was a panel discussion with Ken Hollis, liberal arts professor at Louisiana Tech’s School of Design, Dr. Guy Carwile, Fellow of the American Institute of Architects, and President of COE Architecture Chris Coe and member of the Shreveport City Council. LeVette Fuller.

The panel discussed the importance of preservation and how these special buildings create an identity for Shreveport and inspire people to want to visit and settle here.

“Don’t be afraid to innovate, ideas are priceless,” Coe explained. “Ideas cost nothing and that to me is the standout part of the film and their legacy is this idea of ​​wanting to explore and innovate.”

In addition to the film, the Rational Middle, with the help of a historic preservation grant through the Louisiana Office of Cultural Development, will release the first-ever online, freely accessible map of the Wiener brothers’ work.

The Wiener Architecture Interactive Map brings together a wealth of archival material relating to 17 of Shreveport’s most significant Wiener structures and offers three guided driving tours.

William B. Wiener, Jr. settles in to watch the screening of "Unexpected modernism" at the Robinson Film Center about her father William Wiener and uncle Samuel Wiener on Thursday, May 19, 2022.

If you would like to experience a guided walking tour, the Shreveport Chapter of the American Institute of Architects will hold one on Longleaf Rd. in the Pine Park Subdivision where Wiener influence is greatest. Participants will meet at Betty Virginia Park with a complimentary barbecue lunch at the end of the hour-long tour.

For more information on the film and the interactive map, visit the Unexpected Modernism website.

To purchase tickets for the guided walking tour on Saturday, May 21, visit the Event Brite page.

Meredith G. White is an arts and culture reporter for the Shreveport Times. You can find her on Facebook as Meredith G. White, on Instagram and Twitter as @meredithgwhite, and email her at [email protected]

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