Archiculture, a documentary film directed by architect filmmakers Ian Harris and David Krantz, captures a unique glimpse of architectural education in a studio featuring exclusive interviews with leading professionals that create crucial dialogue around the key issues of the pedagogy of education and concerns of the built environment future architects will face.

Documentary for Architects Archiculture a documentary film that explores the architectural studio
A still from the Archiculture_©

A 25-minute film examines a critical yet thoughtful look to shed light on the design education depicting the journey of five architecture students throughout their final thesis semester at Brooklyn’s Pratt Institute. It illustrates the challenges of young aspiring designers and weaves the connection of the architecture studio and profession with the impressions on students and professionals. 

Following is the link for the documentary – 

The viewers get an authentic experience of the friendships, culture and environment as a result of peer to peer learning. Struggling through the same problems and questions, students spend all-nighters addressing them in varied ways which demonstrate the benefits of a culminated studio learning. A large portion of the film focuses on the advantage of open criticism from one on one reviews to public juries offering a glimpse often seen in these intense interactions. It also highlights the recent trend of “star” architects and raises a question about how one should go about the training of next-generation designers. 

Archiculture, after its initial release, has been screened on multiple platforms from schools to film festivals as an attempt to globally discuss the common issues of architectural education.

Exclusive interviews with historians and educators such as Ken Frampton, Shigeru Ban and Thom Mayne discuss the unorthodox method of teaching that holds strong relevance in the discourse of how architecture should be taught and the need to evolve from a theory-based to a more practical approach in the real world. It portrays the people’s imagination and perception about what architecture is all about. 

Through the interviews, one can understand the importance of aligning our thinking precisely to interpret architecture, bringing a coherent view of the world to the design through innovation and artistic ability and willingness to learn in an incredibly unique way in this complex sphere. One can also understand the transition in the thinking pattern between students and professionals. From preparing young students to face harsh realities to professionals constantly decoding the skill-set they earned through their schooling. An Architect’s power of imagination and vision to perceive space is almost spooky to people. 

Archiculture portrays the understanding of good critiques which are often misinterpreted by the students on a negative note. Good criticism is where a student/professional is inspired to think and create in a better way which can turn out to be a productive output. One needs to be a silent observer to understand how an architectural project is viewed and perceived by other people because it’s designed for people to use it efficiently. It also puts light on the importance of juries where educators critique your design just as it will be by clients if you design for them.

The profession offers way more than just education, as it’s one of the service-based disciplines where one does not work alone but networking and collaborating is inevitable in architecture. It is the need of the hour to prepare students as independent thinkers. Shedding light on the long term goals of starting an individual practice and sustaining that optimism, students broaden their sphere of future prospects of being star architects but often fail due to insufficient guidance and support. With immense enthusiasm and access to technology, young aspirants have the capacity to reshape the world and do something positive and productive. Initially, the entire pedagogical model was to design something as great as Frank Gehry designed without even having to understand the functionality but now it’s transformed to the extent of creating designs that are simple yet functional, solving the issue and having the ability to sustain for decades. 

At architecture school, one has the freedom to design the way he wants, if something is disliked, he/she is asked to do something about it by changing the entire perception. This way of thinking highlights that one can never lose ambition even if the ground realities are constraints of your creativity. Archiculture film reflects a similar atmosphere where we live to inspire, getting our basics right, understanding the creative process and putting it across the drawing. We as a third person, underestimate the realities of the professional world but at the same time realize the importance of the right training and education to face such realities. 

Archiculture investigates the opinions and provides insights on the culture of the studio, ups and downs of the architecture profession, importance of educational methodology addressing the core discussion of School Vs Practice. It’s definitely worth the watch for all the students, professionals and academicians for a truly dynamic and productive discussion about the future of the architecture profession and education. 


Tanya is pursuing her B.Arch from VIT’s PVP College of Architecture, Pune. She believes in a holistic approach towards design and living with nature. Through her bachelor’s study, she has developed an interest in travelling and exploring this profession. Apart from architecture, dance and music are an integral part which has made herself know better.