Architecture documentaries are one educational yet entertaining way to learn more about architecture. You may gain much more from a documentary movie than you could ever learn from a public lecture or a book. Instead of only listening or reading, a documentary lets you see things in action: architects going on about their work, buildings being built, and buildings already functioning. Here, we will give you a list of outstanding architecture documentaries to add to your 2018 watch list. Let’s begin!

Read: 33 Most Notable Architecture Documentaries

1. Big Time (2017)

2017 has been Bjarke Ingels‘ year indeed when it comes to documentaries. We start and conclude our list with documentaries featuring the rising Danish starchitect and founder of  Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG). Big Time documents Ingels’ tremendous work throughout the past seven years and uncovers his creative thinking process. It was first released during the Copenhagen Architecture Festival last April.

2. Microtopia (2013)

Would you live in a mobile home? If the idea of portable dwellings and tiny homes intrigue you, then this movie is for you. Microtopia explores unconventional and sustainable housing solutions that make use of the available technology to counter the unprecedented surge in population.

3. Archiculture: A Documentary Film That Explores the Architectural Studio (2014)

This short documentary by Arbuckle Industries investigates studio-based architectural education. It film students working on their final design projects and, in parallel, interviews professors and experts who discuss this unorthodox method of teaching.

4. A Short History of Abandoned Sets (2012)

Do you know what happens to movie sets once the filming is over? They could be dismantled, reused, sold, turned into museums, or simply abandoned. This documentary follows two local kids who explore abandoned sets near the city of Ouarzazate in the Moroccan desert.

5. Barbican | Urban Poetry (2015)

This documentary reveals the story of the brutalist post-war British icon: The Barbican Complex, as told by its residents. The originally historical site had held ancient Roman gates before the Germans bombed it during World War II.

6. The World’s Most Extraordinary Homes (2017)

Founder of UK-based Invisible Studio, Piers Taylor and, British actress, Caroline Quentin explore “The World’s Most Extraordinary Homes” in this 4-episode series presented by BBC. Each episode features a different theme: mountain, forest, coast, and underground. The presenters meet with the architects and owners of homes built in such unusual contexts to talk about their endeavors.

7. Frank Lloyd Wright: The Man Who Built America (2017)

In 2017, the world celebrated—America’s all-time great architect, Frank Lloyd Wright‘s 150th anniversary. BBC joined the celebrations by releasing this documentary about  Wright, highlighting the little-known influence of his Welsh roots on his life and work.

8. Abstract: The Art of Design: Season 1 Episode 4 (2017)

Finally, as promised, we conclude with Bjarke Ingles. Earlier this year, Netflix started the series: “Abstract: The Art of Design” in which they host creative designers from different fields to discuss their work and creative process. Episode 4 of the show features Ingels who explains more about his innovative designs, the first of which was the VM Houses in Copenhagen.


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