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WTTW’s Geoffrey Baer to host new documentary "A Taste for the Past: Architect Pier Carlo Bontempi"

Premieres on WTTW on Thursday, March 27 at 8:00 pm

For immediate release
Chicago, IL - March 21, 2014

WTTW is pleased to announce the premiere of a new half-hour documentary hosted by popular Chicago TV tour host Geoffrey Baer, profiling the life and work of acclaimed architect Pier Carlo Bontempi, this year’s winner of the Richard H. Driehaus Prize at the University of Notre Dame.  

A Taste for the Past:  Architect Pier Carlo Bontempi premieres on WTTW on Thursday, March 27 at 8:00 pm, and repeats Friday, March 28 at 7:30 pm on WTTW 11.1, and Friday, March 28 at 2:00 pm and Sunday, March 30 at 6:30 pm on WTTW Prime 11.2 (Comcast 370/RCN 37).

The documentary explores the world of Italian architect Pier Carlo Bontempi, whose work in traditional vernacular architecture goes against the current of European architectural modernism.    Bontempi takes Geoffrey Baer on a walking tour of his home town of Parma and serves Geoffrey and his crew a traditional northern Italian meal on camera to demonstrate the importance and beauty of embracing a tradition based on thousands of years of experimentation, and a respect for practices which reinforce human connection.  

Interviews with Bontempi’s teacher, architect Adolfo Natalini; urban master planner Léon Krier; architecture critic Paul Goldberger; and President Emerita of the American Academy in Rome, Adele Chatfield-Taylor provide context for understanding how European architecture has been shaped by the confluence of history and politics.  Bontempi’s latest project is a library and cultural center built in the center of “the world’s largest labyrinth” (made of live bamboo) for the extravagant art publisher Franco Maria Ricci. 

WTTW has also developed a robust companion website,, where audiences can explore the works of Pier Carlo Bontempi in images, video and text.  Visitors can view a photo slideshow, watch web-exclusive video and the program in its entirety, read a travel diary, and trace a timeline of Bontempi’s career.

A Taste for the Past:  Architect Pier Carlo Bontempi is produced by Daniel Andries, written by Daniel Andries and Geoffrey Baer, hosted by Geoffrey Baer, edited by Paul Thornton, with camera by Tim Boyd. Associate Producer is Liz Reeves.

Geoffrey Baer is a multiple Emmy Award-winning producer and program host for WTTW in Chicago. He is best known as the host and writer of WTTW’s popular feature-length specials about Chicago architecture and history including Chicago’s Lakefront, Chicago by Boat:  the New River Tour, Chicago’s Loop:  a Walking Tour, Chicago by ‘L’: Touring the Neighborhoods, Biking the Boulevards, and most recently Chicago Time Machine, as well as six programs covering virtually all of Chicago’s suburban areas.  He took viewers on a culinary tour in The Foods of Chicago: a Delicious History, which was nominated for a coveted James Beard Award, and explored the surprising side of the city in Hidden Chicago. In May 2013, he hosted the national PBS special 10 Buildings That Changed America. He and WTTW producer Dan Protess are currently working on a new three-part series for PBS to air nationally in 2015. Mr. Baer also appears regularly on WTTW’s flagship nightly public affairs program Chicago Tonight answering viewers’ questions about Chicago architecture and history in a segment called Ask Geoffrey

Daniel Andries is a Senior Producer at WTTW, where he has worked since 2000.  His work over half a decade as Series Producer of Artbeat Chicago, WTTW’s weekly arts magazine series, earned a number of Emmy Awards for himself, the show, and its producers and hosts.   His 2012 documentary Architect Michael Graves:  A Grand Tour, co-written with Geoffrey Baer, was shown nationally on PBS, was a selection of the Chicago International Television Festival and won two Emmy Awards.   He and Baer also made documentaries on architects Robert A.M. Stern and Thomas Beeby.    His documentary Jeanne Gang:  The Sky’s The Limit, produced for PBS, won an Emmy for its videography and was featured in the 2012 Architecture and Design Film Festival in New York.    Other work includes Beauty Rises: Four Lives in the Arts, Remembering Ed Paschke, arts reporting for Chicago Tonight, Executive Producer for Arts Across Illinois and producer of Arts Across Illinois: CenterStage and The Golden Apple Awards for Excellence in Teaching.  Daniel previously worked with Geoffrey Baer as producer of Chicago by Boat: The New River Tour and The Southwest Suburbs:  Birthplace of Chicago.   Other credits include Out & Proud in Chicago, Irish Chicago, and DuSable to Obama:  Chicago’s Black Metropolis.

About WTTW
WTTW is the Midwest’s premier public media organization, committed to creating and presenting unique television and digital media content.  WTTW is dedicated to bringing Chicago and the world together to explore the arts, sciences, humanities, and public affairs across four distinct television channels – WTTW11, WTTW Prime, the Spanish-language channel WTTW V-me, and WTTW Create/WTTW WORLD, and on, where visitors can connect with others in the community and access a full library of local and national video content for kids and adults, interactive features, event and membership opportunities, and robust microsites and blogs dedicated to WTTW series and specials.  Each week, WTTW reaches an audience of 1.8 million over a four-state area, making it one of the most-watched public television stations in America.