MAS Context Fall Talks 2021

Modernism as Character: Nathan Eddy

December 1, 2021 at 6PM

This screening, presented by MAS Context and the Goethe-Institut Chicago, focuses on the architectural documentaries of Berlin-based filmmaker and journalist Nathan Eddy.


Since 2013, Eddy’s film work has focused on the preservation efforts around Bertrand Goldberg’s Prentice Women’s Hospital, Helmut Jahn’s James R. Thompson Center, and Gerd and Magdalena Hänska’s Mäusebunker. Along with screening documentaries on these three buildings, this program served as the premiere of his new film Helmut Jahn: In a Flash on the late architect Helmut Jahn.

A panel discussion featuring Nathan Eddy, Elizabeth Blasius, and Evan Jahn, and moderated by Iker Gil, followed the film screening.

This event is part of MODERNISM AS CHARACTER, a three-part series of screenings, conversations, and discussions, featuring Modernist design, buildings, landscapes, allied arts, and ideas organized by Docomomo Chicago and the Gene Siskel Film Center.

Series organizers
Docomomo Chicago in partnership with the Gene Siskel Film Center

Event organizers
MAS Context
Goethe-Institut Chicago

Collaborating organizations
Chicago Architecture Center
IIT College of Architecture
Preservation Chicago

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THE ABSENT COLUMN / dir. Nathan Eddy / 2013 / 8 min.

Who determines the future of the past? The battle for the preservation of former Prentice Women’s Hospital in downtown Chicago, a towering concrete cloverleaf designed by master modern architect Bertrand Goldberg, opens a new chapter in the fight to save brutalist architecture.

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STARSHIP CHICAGO / dir. Nathan Eddy / 2017 / 16 min.

Architect Helmut Jahn’s kaleidoscopic, controversial State of Illinois Center is a run-down rusty shadow of its former self. The blockbusting building divided critics and the public upon opening in 1985, but as postmodernism receives a cultural reevaluation, will preservationists persevere in protecting this epoch-defining architectural extravaganza?

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Battleship Berlin poster. Artwork by The Holy Garbage (Luca De Vitis), 2021.

BATTLESHIP BERLIN / dir. Nathan Eddy / 2021 / 40 min.

Berlin’s brutalist heritage is under fire. The city’s powerful Charité hospital wants to demolish the notorious former animal research facility known as the Mäusebunker, but a stalwart group of gallerists, architects, and preservationists push to landmark and reuse this uncompromisingly unique work of architecture. Preservation can be brutal.

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Helmut Jahn: In a Flash still. Courtesy of Nathan Eddy.

HELMUT JAHN: IN A FLASH / dir. Nathan Eddy / 2021 / 19 min.

Helmut Jahn was an endlessly inventive, persistently evolving architect in possession of astounding nerve and unflagging creative exuberance. An interview from June 2016, conducted in Jahn’s Chicago office, sheds light on his approach to design, his personal evolution as an architect, and the challenges facing the contemporary city.

About the Presenting Organizations

MAS Context is a nonprofit organization based in Chicago that addresses issues that affect the urban context. We currently develop our work through four core initiatives: our topic-based publications, our public events, our online series Observations, and our series of conversations with Chicago-based practitioners. For more information, please visit

The Goethe-Institut is the cultural institute of the Federal Republic of Germany with a global reach. We promote knowledge of the German language abroad and foster international cultural cooperation. We convey a comprehensive image of Germany by providing information about cultural, social and political life in our nation. Our cultural and educational programs encourage intercultural dialogue and enable cultural involvement. They strengthen the development of structures in civil society and foster worldwide mobility. For more information, please visit

Docomomo Chicago is a non-profit organization dedicated to the preservation and appreciation of Modernist buildings, landscapes, and allied arts. Our members include design enthusiasts, architects, preservationists, historians, and students. We sponsor lectures, tours, and advocacy efforts that celebrate and enhance awareness of Chicagoland’s modern built and cultural heritage. For more information, and/or to become a member, please visit us at:

The Gene Siskel Film Center presents a curated collection of international, independent, and classic cinema reflective of Chicago’s diverse community. For more information, please visit