architecture documentaries

The best 5 architecture films in streaming

Some of the best documentaries on architecture made in recent years are available on Raiplay, YouTube and Vimeo: we have made a selection of them preferring archistars most important school of architecture (and design) of the twentieth century.

Frank Lloyd Wright: Man Who Built America

Frank Lloyd Wright has made more than 500 buildings in his life and changed the face of modern architecture. With a career spanning seven decades, today he is remembered above all for those works that were most controversial at the time – one above all: that Solomon Guggenheim Museum which at the time was mocked because it “looked like a washing machine”. But Lloyd Wright’s revolution was also conceptual: his was an architecture that he self-defined “organic”, as he was convinced that the projects that came out of the pen of an architect should promote a harmonious relationship between man and nature.
The documentary “Frank Lloyd Wright: Man Who Built America” ​​- narrated by an exceptional host: the Scottish architect Jonathan Adams – guides the viewer on a journey that touches the most important works of the American master: Lloyd Wright’s home and studio and the Unity Temple in Oak Park, Robie House in Chicago, Taliesin Villa in Spring Green, Ennis House in Los Angeles, the Fallingwater House, Johnson Max Building, Taliesin West Villa in Scottsdale, and obviously the late masterpiece of the Solomon Guggenheim Museum in New York.

Available for free on YouTube with English subtitles

 

Mario Botta – Oltre lo spazio / Beyond the space

A pupil of Louis Kahn and Le Corbusier, the Swiss Mario Botta graduated from the IUAV in Venice in 1969 and taught in prestigious universities such as the Polytechnic of Lausanne and the Yale School of Architecture. In his long career from the 70s to the present day he has been able to combine his conception of architecture as an art that adapts harmoniously to the landscape (with a penchant for brick and for metal and concrete structures). This is clearly visible in many of his best known works: the Museum of Modern Art in San Francisco, the Jean Tinguely Museum in Basel; the MART in Rovereto, the university library of Trento and the art gallery and museum of Tsinghua University in Beijing.
The documentary tries to capture the “architectural poetry” of the Swiss, with a particular focus on the places of worship, because – in the words of his daughter Giuditta – “in the design of the sacred space he manages to give his best”. A journey from Switzerland, to Italy, Israel, Korea and China and among churches, temples and mosques.

Available in Italian on Vimeo

Bauhaus Spirit

2019 was the year of the famous German Bauhaus school of architecture and precisely this last year, among the various initiatives to celebrate the centenary, German directors Bolbrinker and Tielsch produced this agile documentary that tells the story and legacy of the German school. From the beginning of the Bauhaus since its foundation by Walter Gropius in Weimar in 1919 to tehe development of the utopia of a place where artists, intellectuals and creatives worked to create better housing solutions.
A legacy – that of the Bauhaus – which led to controversial and unfortunately extreme results, like two of the examples reported in this short film. On one hand the happy project of a Swiss duo of architects (the Urban Think Tank) who built a vertical gym in the Colombian favelas with consequent decrease in crime and community aggregation, on the other the nucleus of residential buildings “La Grande Borne” in the Parisian banlieue – a monstrous project in terms of size and features which was soon abandone.

Available for free on RaiPlay

Tadao Andō – From Emptiness to Infinity

Tadao Andō is one of the most renowned living Japanese architects: a self-taught student who managed to graduate on the field and teach in the most important universities in the world (Tokyo, Yale, Harvard and Columbia). Since the 70s he has been designing many buildings of great impact, including the Pulitzer arts foundation in Saint Louis, the recovery of the Teatrino of Palazzo Grassi in Venice, the Church of the Light in Ibaraki and the Langen Foundation in Neuss.
The documentary takes us through Andō’s entire life, work after work: the images of the buildings designed by the Japanese architect are presented by his own words.

Available in different languages ​​with English subtitles on Vimeo

Zaha: An Architectural Legacy

British-born Iraqi architect Zaha Hadid graduated in Mathematics in Beirut in the early 1970s and then moved to London to study architecture, where she opened her studio in 1980. Her first major international project is Peak Leisure Club in Hong in 1983: which however was not realized. Until the beginning of the 90s it seems that Hadid’s architecture – deconstructivist, with expressive curves that seem to challenge the laws of physics- is destined to remain all on paper being too bold. But from the construction of the Vitra Fire Station everything changes. From that moment on Hadid signs a series of impressive buildings both for individuals and large institutions: from the Pavilion Bridge in Zaragoza to the Aquatics Center for the 2012 Olympics in London.
Through the interviews with her collaborator Patrik Schumacher, her fellow architects Eva Jiricna and Nigel Coates, urban planner Ricky Burdett, engineer Hanif Kara and the Italian ex-minister of Culture Giovanna Melandri, the documentary “Zaha: An Architectural Legacy” recounts four of the most important Hadid projects: the Vitra Fire Station in Weil am Rhein, the MAXXI in Rome, the Aquatics Center and the Maths Gallery in London.

Available for free with English subtitles on YouTube

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