Today we’re reviewing the 10 best architectural documentaries by world famous architects including: Norman Foster, Frank Gehry, Frank Lloyd Wright, Zaha Hadid, Antonio Gaudi, Philip Johnson, Eero Saarinen, I.M Pei, Buckminster Fuller, and Bjarke Ingels.
Grab your popcorn, and don’t forget to let us know your favorite architectural documentaries in the comments section below. 🙂
1. How Much Does Your Building Weigh Mr. Foster?
Architect: Norman Foster
Summary: If you only have time to watch one of the Architectural documentaries in this list then this one would be my pick.
Based on the life and work of one of the most recognized and successful Architects of our time; Norman Foster.
The architectural documentary takes you on a beautiful journey through some of his most notable projects and his unending quest to improve the quality of life through design.
2. Sketches of Frank Gehry
Architect: Frank Gehry
Summary: This Architectural documentary provides a “behind the scenes” look at one of the world’s premiere star-chitects; Frank Gehry.
Based on a series of intimate conversations, viewers experience the creativity, and individuality of a world-class Architect while discovering what it takes to follow your dreams, regardless of what others say.
Fantastic viewing for anyone looking for a playful discussion between a successful Architect/Artist and his world-class film-maker friend.
Director: Sydney Pollack
Run Time: 1 hour 23 min
3. Frank Lloyd Wright - Murder, Myth & Modernism
Architect: Frank Lloyd Wright
Summary: An intimate look at the life and work of one of America’s most prolific Architects, Interior Designers, Educators and Writers; Frank Lloyd Wright.
Viewers will learn about his tumultuous life including the public scandals, financial hardships and personal tragedies.
A great documentary for professional Architects and anyone who has an interest in his work.
Director: Fenton Bailey, Randy Barbato & Paul Tilzey
Run Time: 59 min
4. Zaha Hadid: An Architect, A Masterpiece
Architect: Zaha Hadid
Summary: This Architectural documentary showcases the amazing life and work of visionary Architect, Zaha Hadid.
She was the first female to win the Pritzker Architecture Prize (2004), while also being the recipient of the Stirling Prize (2010 and 2011), and the Royal Gold Medal (2015).
While the documentary’s main focus is the Heyar Aliyey Center of Aku, viewers also get a glimpse of what it takes to build one of Zaha Hadid’s masterpieces.Director: Carine Roy
5. Antonio Gaudi: A Film by Hiroshi Teshigahara
Architect: Antonio Gaudi
Summary: This documentary does a great job of capturing one of Catalonia’s most beloved Architects: Antonio Gaudi.
From some of his lesser known work to the magnificent Sagrada Família. This documentary captures his uniquely beautiful and magnificent style with little narration – just great cinematography.
The documentary brings to life the genius that was Antonio Gaudi. A ‘must watch’ for anyone who has not yet been to Barcelona.Director: Hiroshi Teshigahara
Run Time: 1 hour 12 min
6. Philip Johnson: Diary of an Eccentric Architect
Architect: Philip Johnson
Summary: This documentary takes a look at the eccentric life of one of America’s most notable Architects: Philip Johnson.
From his famous Glass House to the Lakeside Pavilion, viewers will gain insight into the personality that has helped shape this extraordinary life and rich architectural legacy.
Highly recommended for both Architects and admirers of Philip Johnson’s work.
Director: Barbara Wolf
Run Time: 55 min
7. Eero Saarinen: The Architect Who Saw the Future
Architect: Eero Saarinen
Summary: This documentary serves as an excellent introduction to the life and work of Finnish-American Architect, Eero Saarinen.
Through the eyes of his son (Eric Saarinen) viewers are taken on an emotional journey highlighting both his personal life and pioneering career.
From the St Louis Arch, to the TWA terminal at JFK Airport, this thoroughly engaging documentary does a fantastic job of showcasing many of his most famous commissions.
Director: Peter Rosen
Run Time: 1 hour 18 min
8. Learning From Light, The Vision of I.M.Pei
Architect: I.M. Pei
Summary: This documentary features the life and work of one of the world’s longest-living and most loved Architects of our time (4/26/17 – 5/16/19).
While the documentary is centered around the design and creation of the Museum of Islamic Art in Qatar (11/22/08) the documentary also includes a look at many of his other projects including; the Bank of China building in Hong Kong (1989), National Gallery of Art Building in Washington, DC (1978) and the John Fitzgerald Kennedy library in Boston (1979), to name a few.
Viewers will discover just how truly joyful I.M. Pei really is and how his rare experience from both the East and West has helped shape his career.
Director: Bo Landin, Sterling van Wagenden
Run Time: 57 min
9. The World of Buckminster Fuller
Architect: Buckminster Fuller
Summary: Hailed as one of the greatest thinkers of our time, this documentary uncovers the life and work of Architect, Engineer, Philosopher, and Inventor; Buckminster Fuller.
While capturing Fuller’s ideas and thinking, viewers are led on a journey through some of his most remarkable projects including the geodesic dome.
A must see for Architects, Engineers and inventors alike.
Director: Robert Snyder
Run Time: 1 hour 19 min
10. Big Time: Bjarke Ingels
Architect: Bjarke Ingels
Summary: This documentary provides intimate access into the life and work of a Danish Architect and the man behind the two new World Trade Center towers: Bjarke Ingels.
Viewers get an unfiltered look at the sacrifices and casualties required to be at the top of your game in an industry that’s notoriously difficult to ascend.
Highly recommended for all budding Star-chitects and anyone who enjoys Bjarke Ingels work.
Director: Kaspar Astrup Schröder
Run Time: 1 hour 30 min
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