SAH Award for Film and Video

SAH Award for Film and Video Architecture
Nominations for the 2019 award will open on June 1, 2018.


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 (2015, 2016 or 2017). 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.


Talking to My Father 
Loopline Film, 2015
Filmmaker: Sé Merry Doyle
Run time: 90 min

From the Award Committee

Sé Merry Doyle’s Talking with My Father weaves together stories concerning the life and the architecture of Robin Walker, a partner in the firm of Scott Tallon Walker, who decisively introduced a Miesian aesthetic into the vocabulary of modern Irish architecture. The film takes the viewer back and forth between the Ireland of 2015 and the 1960s, a journey woven from stories, drawings, photographs, text, and period films. Narrated by Simon Walker, the architect’s son, the film is at once about reckoning with the memory of his father and the precariousness of Walker’s work at a moment where there is little interest in remembering, much less preserving it. Robin Walker largely gave up architecture at the height of his success to concentrate on writing and teaching, an enigmatic retreat at the heart of the film. Revisiting the subtleties of Walker’s schools, houses, university campuses, and offices, Doyle’s Talking to my Father sets these against their much-altered existence in the present, deftly linking their present condition within to the modernization of Irish society during the 1960s and 1970s. Less nostalgic than gently indignant, the film is a love letter to Walker’s tough-minded yet sensitive architecture amid another moment of profound change. In Talking to my Father the fate of Walker’s buildings comes to stand for the fate of those years, still present yet largely forgotten amid the more recent and profound economic transformation of Ireland. The jury was particularly impressed with the film’s lyrical and beautiful cinematography, which brings Walker’s modern structures and landscapes to life, the urgent plea for their preservation and the intimate search for a son’s understanding of his father.


Tower House
sixpackfilm, 2013
Filmmaker: Karl-Heinz Klopf
Run time: 62 min

A Tropical House
sixpackfilm, 2015
Filmmaker: Karl-Heinz Klopf
Run time: 51 min

Read the award citation.


2016    The New Rijksmuseum
Filmmaker: Oeke Hoogendijk
First Run Features, 2014 
    Honorable Mention:
Haus Tugendhat
Pandora Film, 2013
Filmmakers: Dieter Reifarth (director) and Filipp Goldscheider (producer) 
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 2018 St Paul Conference

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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