Architectural documentaries and films an insight into the mind and work of starchitects, design movements, and even concepts tackling the world and our cities. They narrate ‘real’ stories of design development and construction, from real-life circumstances with in-depth interviews to show us how it was made. The following are the best of architectural documentaries which will provoke, intrigue and enchant-

1. Rotterdam 2040 | Gyz La Rivière

35 Must Watch Architectural Documentaries - Sheet1

It is a film about Rotterdam’s future, departing from the principle of Gyz La Rivière, reconstructing the history of Rotterdam from the time before the bombings until now, and expanding to envisioned developments till the year 2040.

2. Sketches of Frank Gehry

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Based on a series of intimate conversations, viewers experience the creativity, and individuality of a world-class Architect, Frank Gehry, while discovering what it takes to follow your dreams, regardless of what others say.

3. Frank Lloyd Wright – Murder, Myth & Modernism

35 Must Watch Architectural Documentaries - Sheet3

This documentary gives intimate information about the life and work of one of America’s most creative architects, Designer, Writer, and Educator; Frank Lloyd Wright. A must watch for viewers who would want to know about his tumultuous life including scandals, financial hardships, and personal tragedies.

https://tv.apple.com/us/movie/frank-lloyd-wright-murder-myth–modernism/umc.cmc.1s3o9ihcgk32ntsllh7c4gwwz

4. Zaha Hadid: An Architect, A Masterpiece

35 Must Watch Architectural Documentaries - Sheet4

Next in the series of top Architectural Documentaries is on Zaha Hadid. While the documentary’s main focus is the Heydar Aliyev Center of Aku, viewers get a glimpse of what it takes to build one of Zaha Hadid’s masterpieces. She was the first female to win the Pritzker Architecture Prize (2004), while also being the recipient of the Stirling Prize (2010 and 2011), and the Royal Gold Medal (2015).

5. Koolhaas House life

35 Must Watch Architectural Documentaries - Sheet5

This one of a kind film that lets the viewers into Rem Koolhaas‘s house’s daily intimacy through the stories and daily chores of Guadalupe Acedo, the housekeeper, and the other people who look after the building. It is pungent, funny, and touching.

6. Antonio Gaudi: A Film by Hiroshi Teshigahara

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From some of his lesser-known work to the magnificent Sagrada Família, this documentary captures Antonio Gaudi‘s uniquely beautiful and magnificent style with little narration and great cinematography.

7. Bird’s Nest – Herzog & de Meuron in China

Bird’s Nest – Herzog & de Meuron in China

Directed by Christoph Schaub & Michael Schindhelm, this documentary elaborates on the cultural and political challenges the architects faced to build the new National Stadium for the Olympics in Beijing.

8. Philip Johnson: Diary of an Eccentric Architect

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Emphasizing on the eccentric life of one of America’s most notable architects: Philip Johnson, this documentary gives its viewers insight into the personality and his architectural translations, that has helped shape this extraordinary life and rich architectural legacy.

9. Eero Saarinen: The Architect Who Saw the Future

Eero Saarinen: The Architect Who Saw the Future

Through the eyes of his son (Eric Saarinen), viewers are taken on a journey highlighting both Eero Saarinen‘s personal life and pioneering career. This thoroughly engaging documentary does a good job of displaying many of his most famous projects.

https://www.thirteen.org/programs/american-masters/american-masters-eero-saarinen-architect-who-saw-future/

10. Learning From Light, The Vision of I.M.Pei

Learning From Light, The Vision of I.M.Pei

On the tenth position in the series of architectural documentaries, we have ‘Learning from Light’. Centered around the design and construction of the Museum of Islamic Art in Qatar, it also includes information regarding many of his other projects including; the Bank of China building in Hong Kong (1989), National Gallery of Art Building in Washington, DC (1978), etc.

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Sneha Kannan
Author

Sneha Kannan, a young architect, Interior designer based in Chennai. Her work involves creating spaces with strong visual and social identity. As an architectural writer and graphic designer in practice, she believes graduation is just a start to life. Developing a strong interest in aesthetics and management, she is working her way towards becoming a multi-faceted individual.

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