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Documentary

The Prolific Career of an Early Bauhaus Innovator: Laszlo Moholy-Nagy

09:30 - 29 July, 2018
The Prolific Career of an Early Bauhaus Innovator: Laszlo Moholy-Nagy, CH XIV (1939) - Lászio Moholi Nagy. Image© <a href='https://www.flickr.com/photos/pedrosimoes7/24973282627'>Flickr user Pedro Ribeiro Simoes</a> licensed under <a href='https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/'>CC BY 2.0</a>
CH XIV (1939) - Lászio Moholi Nagy. Image© Flickr user Pedro Ribeiro Simoes licensed under CC BY 2.0

The Hungarian artist László Moholy-Nagy was one of the most influential thinkers, designers and art educators of the first half of the twentieth century. His experimentation with light, space and form generated international attention. Among those impressed by Moholy-Nagy's work was Walter Gropius, German architect and founder of the Bauhaus School, who made Moholy-Nagy one of the youngest instructors in the history of the Bauhaus. In his time at the Bauhaus, Moholy-Nagy utilized multi-disciplinary art practices to revolutionize abstract artistic media.

But who was the man?

Explore the Local Wood Work of Chiloé Island, Chile

08:00 - 18 July, 2018

Chiloé is a five-part video series produced by Glaciar Films and directed by Diego Breit and David Guzmán; it explores the architectural identity of the southern island off of Chile. Architects, carpenters, artisans, and inhabitants present the constructive history of the island and explore how it is faced with the imminent changes of modern production and practices.

Glaciar Films has made three of the five episodes available to ArchDaily readers. In these clips, explore the island's architecture along with interviews with principal architects of the region: Jonah Retamal, Edward Rojas, and Macarena Almonacid.

"Past, Present, Future": Leading Dutch and Italian Designers on Being an Architect Yesterday, Today, and Beyond

09:30 - 13 June, 2018

Architecture is always evolving. The practice and business of architecture are undoubtedly evolving alongside the more obvious technological advances, but what we often forget is that there are no new ideas. When it comes to design, what we see manifested in our daily lives is the result of evolution. And at the root of that design evolution is inspiration.

A new initiative from Gianpiero Venturini and his firm Itinerant Office titled Past, Present, Future aims to open a research path based on the analysis of successful practices in the 21st Century while ultimately providing a new form of inspiration for the next generations of architects and designers. The documentary series begins with a select group of 11 international architects, including Jacob van Rijs, co-founder of MVRDV, Mario Cucinella, and Simone Sfriso, co-founder of TAMassociati. Each architect is featured in three video interviews in which they reveal the methodology behind their designs, the themes and approaches within their architectural practice, and the predictions they have for architecture in the near and distant future.

Rem Koolhaas and Son Tomas Talk About The Years-Long Process of Shooting “REM”

12:00 - 6 June, 2018
Rem Koolhaas and Son Tomas Talk About The Years-Long Process of Shooting “REM”, © Alyson Lim
© Alyson Lim

ArchDaily had the chance to catch Rem Koolhaas and his son, Tomas Koolhaas, together, when they met for a weekend in Los Angeles. In their first ever interview together, following the release of “REM” online, we spoke with the pair about the documentary that was four years in the making. The film had Tomas following his father from the desert to the ocean to the 2014 Venice Biennale, as well as inside several OMA projects around the world, like the Seattle Central Library in America and Maison à Bordeaux in France.

The pair reveal what their father-son relationship is like, how the profession of architecture and filmmaking inform each other, and shine a light on the challenges of filming a well-known family member. Work aside, what came across the most strongly throughout the conversation was the respect they had for each other’s craft, and their gratitude for the chance to work so intimately as father and son.

Take a Deep Dive into Hong Kong's Unique, Chaotic Urban History Through this Documentary Series

12:00 - 29 April, 2018
Take a Deep Dive into Hong Kong's Unique, Chaotic Urban History Through this Documentary Series, © <a href='https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Hong_Kong_Island_Skyline_2009.jpg'>Wikimedia user WiNG</a> licensed under <a href='https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/deed.en'>CC BY-SA 3.0</a>
© Wikimedia user WiNG licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0

Hong Kong is a unique city. With its unlikely history as a British Colony, its position as a global hub city, and its spectacular geography, the dense, lively streets of Hong Kong feature a variety of urban phenomena that can't be found anywhere else in the world. In this series of video essays, New Office Works probes the urban character of Hong Kong with stunning depth, uncovering histories and explanations that bring new intrigue to an urban fabric that is, both literally and figuratively, already heavily layered.

The title of the series, Middle Man, references Hong Kong's status as a city that mediates between east and west, calling back to the "compradors" that helped the city to grow in the 19th century by translating for traders—middlemen in the most literal sense. Rooted in this history, the urban environment is not one built on grand schemes or overarching ideals, says New Office Works: "The combination of a growing population and limited land has cultivated an instant-fix mentality. There is neither time nor space for architectural ideologies, only pure pragmatism."

Lessons From the Latest Bjarke Ingels Documentary: Don’t Let Your Next Building Be Your Last

09:30 - 12 March, 2018

What if the one thing that makes BIG "BIG" was suddenly stripped away right at the apex of its potential? That's the question posed by the trailer for Kaspar Astrup Schrøder’s documentary BIG TIME, which ominously illustrated a possible problem with Bjarke Ingels’ health.

Schrøder's documentary highlights the intense journey of Bjarke Ingels, the founder of Bjarke Ingels Group, through the past few years of his life. This unique insight into what exactly it's like to be an architect on top of the world ultimately poses a question that needs to be answered by anyone seeking to reshape the world through design. How do you handle the responsibility of forming the future you want to live in?

“Doshi”: Documentary Explores the Pritzker Prize-Winning Career of A Modern Indian Architect

15:05 - 7 March, 2018
“Doshi”: Documentary Explores the Pritzker Prize-Winning Career of A Modern Indian Architect, Cenas do documentário "Doshi"
Cenas do documentário "Doshi"

Balkrishna Doshi, despite his vast number of completed projects, is a little-known name in the Western world. Directed by Premjit Ramachandran, the documentary "Doshi" allows the viewer to appreciate the vision of this important Indian architect, probing his thoughts while getting to know a number of his projects. Filmed in a frank style of conversation, the documentary reveals an original and creative human being who, even in old age, remains passionate about architecture as well as life and learning.

The film becomes a roundtable with Doshi, his alumni, his contemporaries and even family members, all within the context of his architecture. The camera follows its protagonist through spaces designed by him, while he narrates, recalls and explains his processes of creation. It also reveals how he makes his philosophy an intrinsic part of his own life.

'Tuscanyness' Film Explores the Detachment of Modern Italian Architecture and the Fight to Restore Faith in Design

06:00 - 16 February, 2018

Following the evolution of architecture in Tuscany, this documentary maps out the decline of the region in the shadow of Brunelleschi and Alberti. From the 14th century onwards, Italy underwent a cultural rebirth that changed the entire world, bearing the architectural mastery of the Renaissance. However now, there appears to be a detachment within modern architecture and little work for the many architects who are being forced to emigrate.

Watch the Construction of Zaha Hadid's 1000 Museum Tower in This Full PBS Documentary

12:00 - 15 February, 2018
Watch the Construction of Zaha Hadid's 1000 Museum Tower in This Full PBS Documentary

As one of Zaha Hadid's final projects, One Thousand Museum Tower in Miami, approaches completion (having topped out just last month), a new documentary on its construction has been released by PBS.

The building was the subject of the season premier of "Impossible Builds," which profiles "the creation of some of the world’s most ambitious, complex and technologically advanced construction projects." 

Described by the show as "one of the most complex skyscrapers ever to make it off the drawing board," the 62-story tower features a unique glass fiber reinforced concrete exoskeleton – a system never before seen at this scale.

The show is now available to watch in its entirety online. Check it out below!

Architecture Documentaries to Watch in 2018

08:00 - 8 January, 2018
Architecture Documentaries to Watch in 2018

The new year is here! And with it, a new slate of documentaries we're dying to see.

Of all the media forms, film seems to be the most adept at making a personal connection with viewers, offering a behind-the-scenes look into the lives of a great architect, the construction, and performance of a project or an issue that is confronting the entire architecture community. This year's films are no exception, as we get the chance to learn about the daily routines of Bjarke Ingels and Paulo Mendes da Rocha, projects by Tadao Ando and Glenn Murcutt, and the troubles of urbanization and gentrification.

Check out this year's list below, and find more great architecture documentaries with our Architecture Documentaries to Watch in 2017, Architecture Documentaries to Watch in 2015, our top 40 Architecture Docs to Watch in 2014, and our 30 Architecture Docs to Watch in 2013.

Documentary Hopes to Save Chicago's "Starship," the Thompson Center, from Demolition

09:30 - 28 November, 2017

In the midst of the tall, rectilinear skyscrapers which make up downtown Chicago appears a short, sloped glass curtain wall, topped by a protruding truncated cylinder structure: Helmut Jahn’s Thompson Center. Opened in 1985, the building was to be home for a variety of agencies of the State of Illinois, and its design was a play off of the traditional American statehouse, updated with glass walls symbolizing government transparency and an immense atrium evoking the atrium spaces found in most United States’ statehouses. The interior spaces, however, stirred further contention with the public. Unconventional red, blue, and white paints coat the interior elements—a design choice many believed to be provocative and even jarring.

Minnesota's Experimental City of the Future that Never Got Built

11:20 - 12 November, 2017
Minnesota's Experimental City of the Future that Never Got Built, Conceptual drawing of MXC’s primary domed enclosure, proposed to be a mile wide in early discussions, but eventually scaled back. Image Courtesy of The Experimental City Documentary
Conceptual drawing of MXC’s primary domed enclosure, proposed to be a mile wide in early discussions, but eventually scaled back. Image Courtesy of The Experimental City Documentary

The Minnesota Experimental City (MXC)—a utopian plan for the city of the future that was decades ahead of its time, and yet is surprisingly little-known—was the brainchild of the urban planner and technocrat Athelstan Spilhaus. Spilhaus was a man who saw science as the solution to the problems of the world, and became a public figure presenting his ideas of utopia in everyday life through his comic strip "Our New Age." During the mid-1960s, he conceived an ambitious plan to condense his ideas into a prototype for future cities that would be both noiseless and fumeless, accommodating America's growing population and their by-products.

A new documentary, The Experimental City, explores the development, and ultimately, failure of the MXC's vision for future settlements. Using retro film clips, it takes us back in time to a period where Spilhaus' predictions of computers that can fit into your home and remote banking appeared more of a fantasy than reality. The film is directed by Chad Freidrichs (known also for his 2011 film The Pruitt-Igoe Myth) and was premiered at the Chicago Film Festival, in conjunction with the Chicago Architecture Biennial. Several further screenings will be taking place across the country, including at DOC NYC on November 16th.

Experimental City conceptual drawing by MXC urban designer N.J. Pinney. Image Courtesy of N.J. Pinney Conceptual drawing of MXC megastructure's utility and transportation access, by MXC urban designer N.J. Pinney. Image Courtesy of N.J. Pinney Conceptual drawing of a possible air zoning scheme for the Experimental City, by MXC urban designer N.J. Pinney. Image Courtesy of N.J. Pinney Conceptual drawing of MXC megastructure’s interior, by MXC urban designer N.J. Pinney. Image Courtesy of N.J. Pinney + 13

New Documentary on Freddy Mamani Explores the Connection Between Architecture and Cultural Identity

09:30 - 29 September, 2017
New Documentary on Freddy Mamani Explores the Connection Between Architecture and Cultural Identity, © Isaac Niemand via screenshot from documentary
© Isaac Niemand via screenshot from documentary

Soon you will be able to satisfy your wanderlust free from altitude sickness; on Wednesday October 4th, the Architecture Film Festival Rotterdam will see the world premiere of the documentary Cholet: The Work of Freddy Mamani. From director Isaac Niemand comes the story of Bolivia's unlikely architectural phenomenon, and one of ArchDaily’s 2015 leaders in architectural design and conceptualization.

Watch Eyal Weizman Explain Forensic Architecture's Pioneering Investigatory Methods

04:00 - 9 August, 2017

In this film produced by Vice, Eyal Weizman—director of London-based research agency Forensic Architecture—explains how his team have developed methods of investigating bombings in areas of conflict across the globe. Using cellphone footage, examining floor plans, and utilising road maps, Weizman brings together scientists, journalists, and graphic designers in order "to analyze destroyed buildings for evidence of human rights abuses."

6 Must-See Architecture Documentaries and Series on Netflix

09:30 - 29 July, 2017
6 Must-See Architecture Documentaries and Series on Netflix, via Netflix
via Netflix

Netflix isn't just a great service for relaxing or procrastinating—it can also be a great learning tool for architecture and urbanism. That is why we have put together seven tips—including both series and documentaries—for architecture-related viewing that, in addition to being entertaining, can help broaden your knowledge.

BIG Changes on the Horizon for Bjarke Ingels and His Firm

14:15 - 8 May, 2017

“The greatest thing about being an architect,” pronounced Bjarke Ingels, “is that you build buildings.”

The Complex Construction of Zaha Hadid's One Thousand Museum Tower to be Featured in New Documentary

12:00 - 3 May, 2017
The Complex Construction of Zaha Hadid's One Thousand Museum Tower to be Featured in New Documentary, Courtesy of Zaha Hadid Architects
Courtesy of Zaha Hadid Architects

With construction now well underway on One Thousand Museum in Miami, one of Zaha Hadid's largest projects to be completed posthumously, Curbed has reported that the 62-story tower will be the subject of an upcoming Discovery/PBS documentary covering the creation of complex structures from around the world. Titled “Impossible Builds,” the program will highlight the building’s unique glass fiber reinforced concrete exoskeleton.

Watch the Cryptic Trailer for New Bjarke Ingels' Documentary, BIG TIME

07:00 - 10 April, 2017
Watch the Cryptic Trailer for New Bjarke Ingels' Documentary, BIG TIME, Courtesy of BIG
Courtesy of BIG

There is something unsettling about this trailer – something uncomfortable. On the surface it’s as optimistic as any other film about Bjarke Ingels, the architectural protege and principal of BIG, of which there have been many. He is incandescently youthful, remarkably young when tallied to the level of his repute and success, and perhaps the last of the world-building, world conquering 'media darlings' of the 20th and 21st Centuries. He is, many would argue, an unstoppable force.