Architectural Movies – January 2014

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Architural Movies - Jan 2014

I love movies.

I love looking for them. I love researching them. I love finding them. I love talking about them after they are over and starting the process all over again. This is how I spend a great deal of my time.

Its time to add a recurring monthly post dedicated to the great cinema I have seen about Art and Architecture. Sooo, each month I’ll write a brief review of 4 or 5 movies.

I’ll need your help.

If you know of any great movies that I should share with the world, please drop me a comment and let me know. Even if you think I have seen it. Sometimes I suprise myself with movies everyonee else has seen but I am not aware because im always looking for movies in weird places.  Just leave a comment. I’m always around.


My Architect (2003)

My Architect, Louis Kahn - Architectural movies

I will just start with My Architect and just get it out of the way.

I totally love My Architect and am also disturbed by it. I have seen it about 6 times.   It is the story of Louis Kahn told by his son Nathanial Kahn. Louis Kahn is one of the greatest American architects. Unfortunately he struggled most of his career and wasn’t fully recognized until after his abrupt death in 1974. Lou kept a mysterious personal life and this documentary pieces together all the people who were involved.

I love the architecture side of this movie. The stories about each of Lou Kahns buildings are fascinating. Nathanial does a wonderful job documenting, finding the other people involved and telling the story behind each building. Amazing architecture.

The Dad story in the movie is a little rough. Kahn was the textbook definition of a workaholic and completely irresponsible with her personal affairs. He created several families with different women, whom he kept secret from each other. He frequently put architecture and his career before family, which this movie really hammers home. My Architect unites all the people whom were connected with the legacy of Louis Kahn.

Lou Kahn: Great American Architect and kind of a lousy Father.

Click here to buy My Architect


Exit Through the Gift Shop (2010)


Exit Through The Gift Shop - Architectural Movies


This is a documentary about street art, graffitti, stenciling, wheat pasting etc.  It follows artists Shepard Fairy, Banksy and a loveable little French guy who tried to make a documentary about them, but the movie ends up being mostly about how insane the French film maker was. This movie was recommended to me by a close friend who knew that I have been following Shepard Fairly since I was a teenager. The story takes many twists and turns and I’m even still a little bit confused even after I googled it abit after watching it. I loved every minute of this movie.

Click here to Buy Exit on the gift shop

Click here to watch Exit on the gift shop on Amazon   I also just learned this movie is free if you are an Amazon Prime Member.


Koch  (2013)


Oh Mr. Mayor…. Love Ed Koch or hate him this movie really does a great job showing his empire of nyc during the 70’s and 80’s. Being too young to really remember him being in office, It was interesting learning about the controversies from Koch’s time in office such as the Sydenham Hospital debacle, the redevelopment of times square and all the housing and all the racial, gay  and aids issues that went on. It also highlights the moments the controversy started and  how fast they can spiral out of control.

Koch reflects on his decision in office and tells his side of the story.  I admire his big mouth and his often overly sensationalized personality.  He passed away a few weeks after this movie was released.

Its hard watching this movie and Ed Koch not reminding you of Grandpa Munster or a younger Bill Murray.

Click here to buy Koch

Click here to watch Koch





Looks the design of cities around the world focuses on the strategies and issues.

There are tons of great shots from cities around the world and overall this movie is really well done.  This movie is an excellent primer on urban planning and design for everyone of all levels.

I also recently added this movie to my recommended list of study materials for the Architect Registration exam.

Click here to buy Urbanized

Click here to watch Urbanized


Rem Koolhaas: A Kind of Architect


Rem Koolhaas is a Dutch Architect and Writer.

This movie is told as a cohesive story of the rise of Dutch Architect and writer Rem Koolhaas. The highlights for me were:

  • The influence of film on his architecture
  • The back story of all projects
  • Spatial Analysis of each building 3/4 of way through movie.
  • Rem’s attitude and opinion of Chinese clients vs American clients
  • His thoughts about about designing for the context of the site.

I started this movie hoping to learn more about the Seattle Library and that was the one Koolhaas project that was spoken about the least.

Koolhaas was the only person speaking english and the rest of the movie is in subtitles. The subtitles move quick so this wouldn’t be the best movie to watch while eating ice cream, which is what I did.  A milkshake would definitely be a better option. I really enjoyed this movie but it is very architecturally nerdy. I wouldn’t recommend it to my Mom.

Click here to buy REM Koolhaas

Click here to watch REM Koolhaas


Thats all folks. Next month I’ll have a few more movies to write about. Let me know if you have any great movies that I should put on my radar. 









About the author

Michael Riscica

Michael Riscica is a Licensed Architect who lives in beautiful Portland, Oregon, with his Labrador Retriever. He is passionate about helping Young Architects change the world. In his free time, Michael likes to take very long bicycle rides across America. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Linked In.

Rosanne - October 6, 2016

The Cruise. Hilarious and amazing.

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