10 Buildings That Changed America (DVD)

“I chose honest arrogance.”

As part of his “Geoffrey Baer Tours” Geoffrey Baer (7 Wonders of Chicago) traveled across the country to investigate the stories behind some of the most influential buildings in our nation. Presented in chronological order 10 Buildings That Changed America is a love letter to American architecture.

The buildings covered include…

Number Ten: Virginia State Capitol (Richmond, VA)
Number Nine: Trinity Church (Boston, MA)
Number Eight: Wainwright Building (St. Louis, MO)
Number Seven: Robie House (Chicago, IL)
Number Six: Highland Park Ford Plant (Highland Park, MI)
Number Five: Southdale Center (Edina, MN)
Number Four: Seagram Building (New York, NY)
Number Three: Dulles International Airport (Chantilly, VA)
Number Two: Vanna Venturi House (Philadelphia, PA)
Number One: Walt Disney Concert Hall (Los Angeles, CA)

10 Buildings That Changed America is very fast. At just under an hour, each building has less than five minutes of screen time, during which we learn about the history, architect, and influence of the style presented. While I’m not an architecture buff, the content is educational and never makes one feel as though any of it is over our heads. It’s easy to recommend a viewing.

The standard def 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen presentation occasionally makes one feel as though the film is lower budget than it actually is, but the buildings always are presented in their best light. The Dolby 2.0 Stereo mix is serviceable, and yet there’s distinct echoing or another issue yet they never overpower the stream so I can forgive them.

Bonus features include additional scenes and a curriculum guide. The curriculum guide is a 51-page PDF file offering lesson plans and ideas for teachers. And while I personally don’t have use for it I was pleased to see this attempt to bridge the material from one medium to another. My only quibble is there is no “play all” option for the videos, which are many. Altogether there’s a little more than half an hour of additional bonus videos and I would have preferred to be able to watch them all and fast-forward if I chose.

All in all 10 Buildings That Changed America was informative and fast-paced. I’m not sure a purchase is required but if you’re at all interested in architecture you could do far worse than this.

THE VERDICT

Not guilty.

84
Here are the top ten things we know: 1) She lives in Ohio 2) She is MWOC unless you count her two dogs 3) Believes Avatar was NOT the greatest movie ever made 4) Operates on a primarily nocturnal basis 5) Wants to write the screenplay for the movie adaptation of C.S. Lewis’ The Chronicles of Narnia: The Last Battle 6) Watches a variety of shows on television including, but not limited to: Castle, @midnight, Face Off, Sherlock and Whose Line is it Anyway? 7) Does not believe anyone will actually read this besides the editor (hello, Editor!) 8) Has attended more than one N*SYNC concert in her lifetime but only one NKOTB concert 9) Was in a car crash that would have killed her had she not been wearing her seat belt 10) Is in the process of catching up on Supernatural (incidentally would possibly leave her husband for either of the Winchester Brothers depending on the episode in question) and the bonus! 11) Enjoys reading, writing, laying on the beach (long walks tire her out) and assorted snack foods like frozen M&M's.
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