Much has been said about the transformative powers that architecture and our built environment has on our everyday lives, particularly the social impacts of what we build and how it is designed. As Toronto's housing stock reaches upwards for the sky, perhaps this topic is now more relevant than ever as we contemplate the effects of our countless vertical villages on the everyday lives of our citizens.

It is precisely this 'social architecture' that Ila Bêka and Louise Lemoine have captured in their feature-length documentary film, The Infinite Happiness. A snapshot of the directors' 21-day stay in Bjarke Ingels Group's 8-House in Copenhagen, the quirky video documents encounters with the building in the everyday lives of its inhabitants, and weaves together a story about community and architecture through a series of candid and spontaneous interactions with the building and its residents. The film is screening for a short time, starting today on March 21 and running to March 27 at the Bloor Hot Docs Cinema.

The Infinite Happiness, Bjarke Ingels Group, Beka & Partners, Toronto, 8-HousePoster for The Infinite Happiness, image obtained via Youtube.

The 8-House is one of BIG's most widely publicized and highly regarded projects. Located in the Ørestad neighbourhood at the edge of Copenhagen and completed in 2011, the 10-storey residential complex is envisioned as a 'mountain village' and is recognizable by its figure-eight layout, creating two interior courtyards complete with retail on the ground floor and common spaces interspersed throughout. Perhaps the most notable aspect of the building is the continuous ramp that winds its way up to the top floor, allowing residents to ride their bike straight to their unit without having to dismount. Touted as a highly successful social experiment, the building is home to around 500 residents and is designed with community in mind.

The Infinite Happiness, Bjarke Ingels Group, Beka & Partners, Toronto, 8-HouseView from the south of 8-House, image courtesy of Bloor Hot Docs Cinema.

With no commentary or narration by the producers, the film gives the sense that one is getting an authentic, unaltered taste of life in this building with plenty of raw footage and candid dialogue. The video enters the homes of the residents, who offer insight on their experiences and their lifestyles, and how these have been directly impacted—for better or for worse—by the architecture of the building. All aspects of life are included, from a children's party, to lost and confused delivery men, to the self-proclaimed 'village fool', and the unfortunate gardener who must mow the lawn of the grassy courtyard mounds. Not to be forgotten, our local four-legged friends add some commentary of their own, from the sheep grazing the neighbouring fields to the friendly dog who just wants to play.

A light-hearted and insightful movie that will make you laugh and smile, this is a must-see for any BIG fans out there. Given the recent Bjarke Ingels mania that has struck Toronto, perhaps this film is now more pertinent than ever, with BIG's first Toronto project proposed at Allied and Westbank's 489-539 King West. Will we see the same sensitivity to community applied to this new development? Only time will tell, but if one thing is for certain, it is that BIG knows how to build a community, and not just a building, especially with 8-House.

The Infinite Happiness, Bjarke Ingels Group, Beka & Partners, Toronto, 8-HouseRendering of BIG's proposal for 489-539 King West, image courtesy of Allied and Westbank.

You can find out more about this film, including showtimes and prices, on the Bloor Hot Docs Cinema website, here. You can also watch the trailer here, from Youtube:

Want to get in on the discussion? Let us know what you think of the movie by posting in an associated Forum thread, or by leaving a comment in the space provided on this page.