Check out this great PBS program (and its associated online content) called

10 Buildings That Changed America.

What do you think?  Can what we build elicit change?

Can buildings change:

  • how we live (sprawl)
  • how we work (manufacturing)
  • how we travel (stress)
  • how we see ourselves as Americans (not subject to monarchy)
  • whether we ourselves only as Americans or also as citizens of the world (internationalism)
  • whether we are prepared to accept complexity in place of perfection (postmodernism)
  • whether our community feels well-established or unstable (Romanesque)


Virginia State Capitol by Thomas Jefferson
Image courtesy of jimbowen0306 via Flickr

Three Notes:

1.  The film shows that Wright worked under Sullivan; but Sullivan also worked under Richardson and Venturi worked under Eero Saarinen.

2.   I learned something, too: I had no idea that the "regional indoor shopping mall" was originally intended as an alternative to sprawl.  Seriously?

3.   Postmodernism can literally offer a cartoon version of history: Graves's Disney HQ in Burbank casts the seven dwarves as caryatids.