Cool Spaces! Premiers Tomorrow, Puts Architecture in the Spotlight

Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts / . Image © Tim Hursley

Stephen Chung‘s new PBS show Cool Spaces! hopes to engage the general public’s perception of design by “demystifying” contemporary architectural practice. You can tune in to the hour-long premier tomorrow (April 1) as Chung investigates the sports and performing arts spaces of Moshe Safdie (Kauffman Center for Performing Arts), HKS (Dallas Cowboys Stadium), and SHoP (Barclays Center).

VIDEO: Solving the Mysteries of Brunelleschi’s Dome

A new hour long for ’ series, Building the Great Cathedrals, explores the mystery of how, in the 15th century, Florentine architect Filippo Brunelleschi constructed one of the largest domes the world had ever seen. Winning what could be considered one of the earliest architectural competitions, Brunelleschi developed a unique system that allowed construction on the dome to occur while services were being conducted in the cathedral 100 metres below. The team in this episode model this freestanding structure in an attempt to understand just how Brunelleschi achieved such a feat of Renaissance engineering.

You can find out more about the film here. Please note that the film is only viewable through PBS within the USA. For those of you outside the USA, you can watch the 30 second preview above; for those in the USA, see the full video after the break…

VIDEO: 10 Buildings that Changed America

In an hour long documentary for , Geoffrey Baer tours the USA in search of the ten buildings that “changed America.” From a state capitol designed by Thomas Jefferson to resemble a Roman temple to Henry Ford’s factory that first saw the Model T enter production, the explores the “shocking, funny, and even sad stories of how these buildings were created.” Investigating places of worship, shopping malls, concert halls and skyscrapers this is tipped as ”a journey inside the imaginations of the daring architects who set out to change the way we live, work, and play.”

Find out more about the film here. Please note that the film is only viewable within the USA.

New PBS Architecture Series Features ‘Cool Spaces!’

© Matthew Carbone

In an age where almost every conceivable subject has spawned its own reality series – be it Dancing On Ice or Hillbilly-Hand-Fishing - PBS’s new show, Cool Spaces!, aims to stimulate the public’s curiosity by engaging us in the story behind some of North America’s most interesting public buildings. The sponsored show, which is hosted by Boston-based architect Stephen Chungdeparts from usual architecture-related television shows, which tend to focus on makeovers of private homes. Not only will this show look at public buildings, but it will also examine the people whose lives it has affected, the places that have shaped it, and the mind of the architect who brought all of these things together to design it.

Read more about the series and see a sneak preview after the break…

Unfinished Spaces premieres today on PBS

The critically acclaimed documentary Unfinished Spaces will premiere on PBS today at 10pm (ET). The film reveals the turbulent past of Fidel Castro’s Cuba and tells the story of his utopian dream to construct the Cuban National Arts Schools.

In 1961, in the heady first days of the Cuban Revolution, Fidel Castro asked three visionary architects to build the Cuban National Arts Schools on what had been the golf course of a country club. Before construction was completed, the Revolution became Sovietized, and suddenly the project was denounced as bourgeois and counter-revolutionary. These radical, magnificent buildings become a prism through which we see the turbulent, ever-shifting history of Castro’s Cuba and follow the fates of the three architects, now in their 80s, who may get a second chance to revitalize their utopian project.

Although it has been rumored that Cuban ballet star Carlos Acosta has selected Norman Foster to complete the Vittoria Garatti’s School of Ballet, the status of this claim still remains unknown.

Read more about the history of Unfinished Spaces here on ArchDaily.

Designing Healthy Communities: A 4-Episode Investigation into the Health of Our Communities

How does it sound when Richard Jackson, MD, MPH, host of Designing Healthy Communities says that we are among the first generation in modern history to have shorter lifespans than our parents? It is a frightening thought, especially when it is compounded with the idea that the way in which we have designed – that is our buildings, our streets, our infrastructure, our food, our lifestyles – for decades has contributed to it. Designing Healthy Communities is a project that is dedicated to confronting contemporary issues of public health associated with the built environment and offering solutions that encourage reshaping our interactions, lifestyles and design strategies. In a series of episodes, Dr. Jackson discusses various factors within our environment that has caused rampant chronic health problems, the most prominent of which is Type 2 Diabetes caused by obesity.  It comes down to an environment that promotes a sedentary lifestyle and poor food choices.

More on this series after the break.

America Revealed: Nation on the Move

Yul Kwon of travels coast to coast to reveal how America’s transportation systems make the nation the most mobile place on earth. Woven together by 200,000 miles of railways, 5,000 airports and 4 million miles of roads, America’s car culture has shaped our cities and defined our lifestyles. However, as roadways become more congested, many predict people will eventually give up this car-centric lifestyle and embrace mass transit. Recently we announced the Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s selection of Gruen Associates and Grimshaw Architects to design the new master plan for Union Station in Los Angeles. Their winning proposal gives a hint of what America may look like by 2050, as it transforms into a more mass transit centered nation.

The video above is a clip of the in-depth PBS video America Revealed: Nation on the Move. Watch the entire PBS documentary here.

Architect Robert A.M. Stern: Presence of the Past

Watch Profile of Robert A.M. Stern on PBS. See more from Architect Robert A.M. Stern: Presence of the Past.

PBS producer and host Geoffrey Baer tells the story of Robert A.M. Stern – a Brooklyn boy who grew up to be self-proclaimed Modern traditionalist architect who has not only significantly impacted the streets of Manhattan but the architectural profession as a whole. Many of his close friends and colleagues describe “Bob” as an intelligent, witty, sarcastic provocateur who is warm, giving person that is always an architect first. Stern has also greatly influenced the profession with his many publications. He believes writing gives architects the opportunity to contribute by describing and explaining the principals behind ones ideas. When referring to his passion for writing, Stern comments, “What would I do on Saturday? I don’t play golf.”

Be sure to check out the complete here on the PBS website and learn about Stern’s influence on transforming a seedy version of New York’s beloved 42nd street into the glamorous place it is today.

PBS lists Top Ten Buildings that Changed America

Vanna Venturi House / © Maria Buszek

PBS has released their selections of the top ten buildings that have changed the way Americans live, work and play. From ’s 224-year-0ld Virginia State Capitol to Robert Ventui’s postmodern masterpiece the Vanna Venturi House, each building on the list will be featured in a new TV and web production coming to PBS in 2013. Continue after the break to view the top ten influential buildings and let us know your thoughts!

Cool Spaces for PBS

Courtesy of

PBS has released their sixteen finalists under consideration for piloting.  Making their short-list is Cool Spaces, a show focused on featuring modern architecture, hosted by architect Stephen Chung.  The show is slated to be a 13-part series focused on buildings in North America.  The public spaces Chung would visit include libraries, restaurants, hotels, etc. with approximately two or three buildings featured per half hour episode.

From now until December 15th PBS wants to hear from the public via emails expressing support for their favorite finalists.  Email DIFundSubmission@pbs.org if you are interested in voicing your support for Cool Spaces.

For a about Cool Spaces (with Stephen Chung) and further details click here.