12. I.M. Pei – First Person Singular/The Museum on the Mountain (1998)
Architect I.M. Pei provides a guided tour of some of his most famous accomplishments and explains his personal philosophy about the important role architecture plays in the world’s cultural patrimony. Known for merging traditional architectural style with progressive designs, Pei’s structures often incorporate geometric elements as in the Bank of China Tower and the Louvre Pyramid.
11. Antonio Gaudi – The Criterion Collection (1984)
The great innovator of the Spanish Art Nouveau movement, architect and sculptor Antonio Gaudi left an indelible mark on artists Pablo Picasso and Salvador Dali — and on the city of Barcelona, where the bulk of Gaudi’s distinctive work still stands. Japanese director Hiroshi Teshigahara guides viewers through the achievements of the playful, Gothic surrealist.
10. Louis I. Kahn – My Architect: A Son’s Journey (2003)
Nathaniel Kahn examines the life and career of his father, architect Louis I. Kahn (1901-1974) in this Oscar nominated film. The elder Kahn, whose work included the Salk Institute and the Parliament and Capitol Buildings in Dhaka, Bangladesh, died of a heart attack in a Penn Station bathroom, unidentified and broke despite having been one of the century’s most influential visionaries.
9. Regular or Super – Mies van der Rohe (2005)
Featuring a cool jazz score and hip cinematography, this documentary chronicles the six-decade long career of Mies van der Rohe. The film also includes interviews with other architecture stars such as Rem Koolhaas, Elizabeth Diller and Phyllis Lambert.
8. Rem Koolhaas – A Kind Of Architect
Dutch architect Rem Koolhaas is a visionary known for projects ranging from the Seattle Central Library to the Dutch Embassy in Berlin. The film explores the inspiration behind Koolhaas’s talent for building design and construction and also highlights his other talents as a writer, social critic and provocateur.
7. Frank Lloyd Wright – A Film By Ken Burns & Lynn Novick
With so many Wright documentaries to choose from, we thought a general overview would be best. This acclaimed documentary by award-winning filmmaker Ken Burns features rare footage and interviews, along with an in-depth look at Wright’s body of work from his 92 years, come together to bring his unforgettable — and frequently turbulent — story to life.
6. Schindler’s Houses (2006)
Heinz Emigholz’s documentary examines urban Los Angeles through the houses of Austrian-American architect Rudolph Schindler. Eschewing the documentary conventions of voice-over narration and archival photos, Emigholz mixes artfully composed images of more than 40 Schindler creations with an ambient soundscape to produce a singular viewing experience.
5. Adolf Loos – Loos Ornamental (2010)
A pioneer of the European Modernism movement, Adolf Loos turned against building ornamentation, triggering a controversy in architectural theory. His development of a spatial plan launched a fresh approach to building spaces. Filmed in German and available with English subtitles.
4. Sketches of Frank Gehry by Sydney Pollack (2005)
Sydney Pollack explores the signature style of architect Frank Gehry, whose famous works include the Fish in Barcelona, the Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles and various residences. Pollack starts with Gehry’s original sketches and follows their evolution from a 3D model to a computer-assisted rendition, on to construction and, finally, to the polished finished product. [
3. Philip Johnson: Diary of An Eccentric Architect (1996)
Influential architect Philip Johnson is best known for his Glass House work and for founding the Department of Architecture and Design at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City. In Diary of an Eccentric Architect we see the human side of Johnson and how his extrordinary life shaped his rich architectural legacy.
2. Architects Herzog & De Meuron: The Alchemy of Building & The Tate Modern (2009)
The unique style and collective vision Swiss architects Jacques Herzog and Pierre De Meuron are the focus of this documentary. The film visits several of their completed projects, including the spectacular Tate Modern in London, The Tate Modern, a revamped power station which now houses contemporary art, earned the admiration of both art lovers and architectural critics and stands as a shining example of the pair’s collaborative genius.
1. The Films of Charles & Ray Eames
Husband-and-wife team Charles Eames and Ray Eames, widely lauded for their design savvy, leave behind more than 75 films that reflect the broad range of their interests and the integrity of their creative vision. Their revolutionary contributions to architecture, industrial and furniture design and manufacturing are reflected in these works, made in the 1960s, ’70s, and ’80s. Included is one of their most famous, The Power of Ten.