Fantastic World of Tssui

Film documentary highlights architect's perseverance in the face of controversy
Fantastic World of Tssui

At one point in the video documentary 'TELOS: The Fantastic World of Eugene Tssui,' the controversial architect insists, "We don't want to have buildings that look strange, that seem out of place. Why? We should shout it to the world: I am me!"

One might wonder how often anyone needs to offer that encouragement to Tssui, whose unbuilt designs include a two-mile-high condominium skyscraper and a bridge over the Strait of Gibraltar replete with wind turbines on a manmade island. And that confidence is undoubtedly part of the attraction for videographer Kyung Lee, whose debut feature film will screen Tuesday October 7 at The New Parkway Theater in her home city of Oakland.

"The main theme is that I like to encourage people to express themselves—don't give up on your dream," said Lee, whose 58-minute film on Tssui is making the rounds of international film festivals this year.

Fantastic World of Tssui
Tssui's unbuilt Telos: three decades in the making.

The documentary includes archival footage of Tssui with his similarly eclectic mentor Bruce Goff as well as of another of his influences, Richard Meier, architect of the Getty Center museum in Los Angeles.

It also tells the story of Fish House, the unusual home Tssui built for his parents in Berkeley—much to the dismay of several neighbors.

The film's primary subject, however, is Telos, a proposed visitation center for his vision of "evolutionary architecture," a project that Tssui has worked on for three decades and hopes to build in the Northern California town of Mt. Shasta.

The 7pm Oakland showing on October 7, the only screening of 'TELOS: The Fantastic World of Eugene Tssui' presently booked on the West Coast, is part of the Berkeley Film Foundation series at The New Parkway and will feature a Q&A afterwards with both Tssui and Lee.

For more information on the film, click here. To purchase tickets, click here.