10 documentaries about architecture


Architecture is not only frozen music, but also a mirror of society. This is what the authors of films devoted to architects and architecture, which sometimes do not pretend to be particularly artistic, suggest thinking about.

“Citizen Architect: Samuel Mockby and the spirit of Rural Studio”

“Citizen Architect: Samuel Mockbee and the Spirit of the Rural Studio”, Sam Wainwright Douglas, 2010


A film about the career of Samuel Mockby (1944-2001), an idealistic architect from American Alabama, the author of a radical educational program for the construction of rural dwellings for the poorest segments of the population of the southern states, which went down in history as Rural Studio … But more – in this documentary, filmed after the death of Mokby, attention is focused on the role of architecture in solving social issues, problems of education, citizenship, class and racial inequality. Auburn University students were creative and using only local materials to design a residential building that would cost as little as possible, but that anyone would want to live in.

“Eames: architect and artist”

The content of the article:

” Eames: The Architect and the Painter “, Jason Cohn, Bill Jersey, 2011


Young architect Charles Eames , who has already opened his own bureau, leaves his wife and daughter to go to the abstract artist Ray Kaiser , who has achieved some recognition. The film is a story of love and impressive success of the famous couple, Charles and Ray Eames, who changed the idea of ​​furniture. Designed by the Eames in 1945, the famous innovative Eames Lounge Chair made of curved plywood is still a design icon today.

Geri's Vertigo

” Gehry's Vertigo “, Ila Bêka, Louise Lemoine, 2013


One of the most spectacular architectural objects of the past century, the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao , built by Frank Gehry , can, of course, be analyzed in different ways. The creators of the documentary made a dizzying ascent to the roof of the museum, to a height of thirty meters, so that, together with the team of climbers responsible for washing the windows and metal petals of the giant “flower”, through the peculiarities of their virtuoso work in full scope, feel the power of an architectural structure, an example of deconstructivism.


Microtopia, Jesper Wachtmeister, 2013


Micro-houses as one of the variations of escapism, a flexible approach to the concept of “home” as a synonym for stability; modern nomads – architects and artists, fleeing civilization in search of solitude, caring about environmental protection, waste disposal, and embodying their dream of creating a completely separate universe … The Swedish film director asks: is there a future for such a way of life or is this just an experiment for those who have no other choice?

“Philip Johnson: Diary of an Eccentric Architect”

“Philipp Johnson: Diary of an Eccentric Architect”, Barbara Wolf, 1997


by Philip Johnson (1906-2005), winner of the first Pritzker Prize and patriarch of the “international style” in American architecture based on his own creations. The Glass House , built for himself in 1949 on a Connecticut estate by Johnson, is striking with its endless laconic form and decor.

“Madman and the Cathedral”

“El Loco de la Catedral”, James Rogan, 2009


 Justo defies his age and constructs every day. Except Sunday, th

Contemporary Don Quixote, monk Don Justo Gallego Martinez for more than half a century he has been building a temple on his own. With no architectural education, no construction experience, blueprints or a deadline, only earnest faith, a resident of the small town of Santa Maria de Huerta, in the Spanish province of Soria, in 1963 laid the foundation stone for his daring project. And so far it has been implemented only by two-thirds: an outer shell has been outlined on the 20 × 50 m section, the silhouettes of monastic cells, libraries and offices have already been outlined, a dome of 12 m in diameter proudly ascended to a height of 40 m, a miniature copy of the completion of the Roman Cathedral of St. Peter.

“Allowed border”

“The Edge of the Possible”, Daryl Dellora, 1998


One of the most famous architects of the twentieth century, the Dane Jorn Utson built an outstanding building, a symbol of Australia, Sydney Opera House … The film is globally about the victory of politics over creativity, but specifically about the dramatic nuances of creating a landmark under a sail-shaped roof, included by UNESCO in the list of World Heritage Sites. In 1957, Utson won an international competition to design an opera house in Sydney. But the Australian authorities cut the budget so much that the architect had to change the original idea, and in 1966 he left the project altogether, leaving local specialists to refine the interior of the theater. Utson left Australia and never saw his creation.


< h4 style = "text-align: center;"> “Archiculture”, David Krantz, Ian Harris, 2016


In twenty-five minutes, you can learn all the pros and cons of the system and architectural education, in this case, the American one, and the industry as a whole. The young design students of the final year of the Pratt Institute in New York are very convincing in interviews and do not hide anything. Leading teachers, historians, stars of architecture, including the Shigeru Ban appearing in the frame, discuss the key aspects of teaching methods, presentation of material and how it all corresponds to the real life where a graduate finds himself after receiving a diploma.

Great Expectations

” Great Expectations “, Jesper Wachtmeister, 2007


The film is a journey into the history of fantastic architecture and its creators. Firstly, Le Corbusier , one of the most significant architects of the 20th century, the author of block buildings raised above the ground with free-standing columns under them, with flat roofs-terraces, “transparent” facades, unfinished concrete surfaces, free spaces of floors. Second, Richard Buckminster Fuller , architect, designer, engineer, who came up with the project “Ninth Heaven” , which involved the construction of aerial dwellings in the form of geodetic spheres. Thirdly, Moshe Safdie and his proposed cheap method of industrial housing construction Habitat 67 – a twelve-story residential complex consisting of a thousand blocks that look like scattered Lego bricks.

“How much does your building weigh, Mr. Foster?”

“How Much Does Your Building Weigh, Mr. Foster? ”, Carlos Carcas, 2010


The film is not exactly about the concept of mass in architecture, rather, it is a story about the creative path of one of the most eminent architects in the world Norman Foster , the author of the HSBC bank headquarters in Hong Kong, the dome over the Reichstag building in Berlin, the Millennium Bridge, the City Hall in London, the Hirst Tower in New York, the Millau Viaduct in France, and his endless efforts to improve the quality of life through design. Due to the tone of the script, written by the director of the London Design Museum Dejan Sudzic and devoid of any criticism, the tape slightly resembles a commercial. The title is a provocative question once posed to Foster by Buckminster Fuller, referring to the Sainsbury Fine Arts Center in East Anglia.

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