SAH Award for Film and Video

SAH Award for Film and Video Architecture
The 2017 award cycle has closed. Nominations for the 2018 SAH Award for Film and Video will open in June 2017.


The SAH Award for Film and Video was established in 2013 to recognize annually the most distinguished work of film or video on the history of the built environment. 


The award is global in scope with no geographic or political boundaries limiting subject matter or production team. The topic of the film or video must be any aspect of the built environment including the history of buildings, interiors, monuments, landscapes, cultural landscapes, urbanism, designers, engineers, clients, preservation, conservation, citizen engagement, or other topics related to the history of the built environment. 

Films and videos representing a wide range of methodologies will be considered including documentaries, critiques, theoretical works and documentary recreations of lost sites. Films and videos by independent directors and producers, including those with a K-12 educational focus, are also welcome.

Films or videos must have an initial release date within the past three years (2013, 2014 or 2015). Honorable Mentions may also be awarded.

Entries for consideration will be submitted, on a DVD or a link to an online viewing site such as Vimeo, to the award committee members and the SAH office by the director, producer, or producer’s distributor.

Nominees will also submit a 250–500-word narrative that addresses the goals of the film/video, the intended audience, where the work has been screened/aired/viewed, and what kind of response the work has received.

The most important criterion is the work’s contribution to the understanding of the built environment, defined either as deepening that understanding or as bringing that understanding to new audiences. A second criterion is a high standard of research and analysis, whether the production was for a scholarly audience, a general audience, or both. A third criterion is excellence in design and production.


The Award will consist of a certificate and citation that will be presented at the Awards Ceremony at the Society’s Annual International Conference. Following the presentation, the film will be shown at the conference. The Award will be announced in the Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians, the SAH Newsletter, and on the SAH website. The winning film or video will become part of the Society’s permanent archive, housed in the library at the Society’s headquarters, Charnley-Persky House, in Chicago. The recipient will be required to supply two copies of the award-winning film on DVD for the Society’s archive.


The New Rijksmuseum
First Run Features, 2014
Filmmaker: Oeke Hoogendijk
Run time: 131 min
Read the citation


From the Award Committee: 

“Rare is the documentary film about a single building that can sustain the interest of viewers for over two hours. Brilliantly filmed and edited, The New Rijksmuseum by Oeke Hoogendijk explores the complicated renovation of Pierre Cuypers’ 1885 museum in Amsterdam. It surveys aesthetic deliberations that the Spanish architects in charge of the project, Antonio Cruz and Antonio Ortiz, had with curators and administrators that led to the triumphant reopening of the museum in 2013, ten years after construction began. As an investigation of the social life of architecture, the film casts a revealing light on Dutch social democracy as it shows the power of the cyclists union to prevent planners from destroying a much-loved bike path that ran through the building. The filmmaker also underscores the difficulties of running a large public institution that is undergoing a major transformation. Along the way, Hoogendijk highlights the challenge of creating memorable architectural spaces for the display of some of the world’s most celebrated art and of providing state-of-the-art facilities for the preservation and conservation of artworks. The members of the jury found The New Rijksmuseum an illuminating and entertaining study of the adaptation of one of the world’s great museums to the needs of the present. It will enlighten architectural historians, preservationists, architects, designers, art historians, and members of the museum going public.”


Haus Tugendhat
Pandora Film, 2013
Filmmakers: Dieter Reifarth (director) and Filipp Goldscheider (producer)
Run time: 117 min
Read the citation



2015    The Best Planned City in the World: Olmsted, Vaux and the Buffalo Park System
Library of American Landscape History in association with Florentine Films/Hott Productions, Inc, 2013
2014    Unfinished Spaces
Filmmakers: Alysa Nahmias and Benjamin Murray
Bullfrog Films, 2012
SAH thanks The Richard H. Driehaus Foundation Fund at The Chicago Community Foundation for its operating support.
Society of Architectural Historians
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