NOW AVAILABLE IN SPANISH,
PORTUGUESE & MALAY!
To examine the current state of studio-based, design education and create a meaningful discussion about its future.
The two directors of Archiculture, David Krantz and Ian Harris, were so inspired by their personal experiences in design school that they felt compelled to share the world that all designers pass through with a broader documentary viewing audience. "There should probably be more open conversation and criticism about studio-based education," says Krantz. Upon entering the profession of architecture, the two realized how insular the studio environment was and instead of complaining to other designers, they chose instead to pick up a set of cameras and turn them on the design studio. The film’s main purpose is to become a forum for larger conversations surrounding architecture and design education. They hope that by making this film, others will embrace the benefits of the studio-style education, and that more poignant conversations surrounding the training of architects will help to improve the current institutional offerings.
The core audience of Archiculture includes professors, professionals and current/future students of architecture and design. Professional interviews along with student interactions provide a dynamic storyline to explore the tension and passion behind this complex educational paradigm. Anyone from a young student addicted to Legos, to a high school senior interested in studying architecture, all the way to the parents and grandparents of a current or former design student will surely be interested in this story. Archiculture is the perfect storyline for those that have gone through the unexplainable experience of the design studio to finally show their friends and family what those all nighters were all about.
It is our hope that anyone that is interested in the film has access to the film, but more importantly that institutions and organizations will use the film for larger conversations surrounding design education. The film is not meant to be a conclusive, end-all product. Rather, it is meant to create more questions and spur conversations about the way schools train architects and designers. We are actively pursuing organizations that would be interested in partnering with us for screenings and outreach. Please contact us if you have any ideas.
After an extensive search that started with every Bachelors of Architecture school in the US, we chose to set our film at the prestigious Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, NY. We felt it offered the best potential for bringing our vision to light and we were not disappointed. The campus, as well as the student body, were overflowing with great opportunities. We are deeply grateful and honored that they permitted us the access to document our story with their full support.
Pratt’s School of Architecture mission says it all:
“Our mission is to educate the future leaders of the design disciplines in the professional fields of architecture, urban design, city and regional planning, construction and facilities management, and historic preservation. This effort builds upon a strong context of professional education within an art and design institute that stresses the relationship between intellectual development and creative activity. The school provides a broad cultural and intellectual base in the liberal arts and sciences, while providing the specialized knowledge unique to individual disciplines. The importance of lifelong learning is emphasized through studio-based curricula and research-oriented thesis programs.”
2006.01 - David and Ian meet at Hart Howerton's San Francisco office
2006.03 - David shares film concept with Ian over happy-hour beers
2006.07 - David and Ian begin film training with Empty Kingdom Media
2007.08 - Arbuckle Industries, LLC is formed
2007.09 - Visit to host school finalists
2007.10 - Selection of host school Pratt Institute
2007.11 - David and Ian leave their design jobs in San Francisco
2007.12 - Cross country roadtrip to move to New York for production
2008.01 - Pierce Cook joins team in NYC
2008.01 - Production begins at Pratt
2008.02 - Student characters selected
2008.03 - Production-Teaser Debut Party NYC at Center for Architecture
2008.05 - Students graduate and principal photography completed
2008.06 - Editing begins with 180 hours of footage
2008.12 - First cut of footage down to 80 hours
2009.04 - Second cut of footage down to 40 Hours
2009.09 - Production Trailer Premiere Party in NYC draws 400+ people
2009.12 - Third cut of footage down to 20 Hours
2010.05 - Awarded Arnold W. Brunner Grant
2010.08 - Justin Strawhand is hired as editor
2011.01 - First rough cut of feature length format of film edited and reviewed
2011.02 - Film format changed to an episodic series
2011.05 - Rough cuts of episodic series reviewed
2011.07 - Justin Strawhand is relieved from editing duties
2011.09 - Jesse Garrison hired as editor
2011.12 - Film format changed to short film to streamline story structure
2012.04 - Rough cuts edited and reviewed
2012.07 - Final cut set
2013.02 - Music composed by Glenn Forsythe
2013.03 - Audio mastered by Yoni Slotwiner
2013.03 - Color mastered by Frederick Trevino
2013.04 - Titles and graphics completed by Matt Posorske
2013.04 - New website designed and launched
2013.04 - Official Trailer released
2013 - Premiere 4/29 at Newport Beach Film Festival
2013/14 - Festivals and DIY hosted screenings (over 130 to date!)
2014.12 - YouTube online premiere
2015.02 - Special edition DVD released with 30+ full interviews and extras
David Krantz - Co-Director/Producer
David Krantz is a founding partner of Arbuckle Industries. He is a filmmaker, photographer and graphic artist. When he is not behind a camera or editing station he can usually be found basking on a rock or on some sand. He is currently working on the upcoming feature Girls’ Show along with a variety of other productions for Arbuckle Industries. In 2007 David was the co-recipient of the Youth Noise Short Film Contest and in 2010 the co-recipient of the Brunner Grant. He graduated Clemson University with a Bachelors in Landscape Architecture where he was awarded the 2005 Most Creative Portfolio.
Ian Harris - Co-Director/Producer
Ian graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Architecture with a focus in Urban Planning from the University of Cincinnati. After graduating, Ian moved to the San Francisco Bay Area to pursue his architectural career. He met Dave at his first job out of school. Ian soon completed film classes through Empty Kingdom Media and has spent the past nine years devoted to developing his cinematic eye and working to bring the stories embedded in our built environment to the masses. He currently runs the business side of Archiculture's production company, Arbuckle Industries, while also producing/managing their projects that we create. He has produced a wide range of films and conducted over 100 interviews with leading artists, architects, designers, industry leaders and politicians. He has spoken at dozens of events, ranging from national conferences PR and marketing groups, to film festivals and design schools. When he is not in the Arbuckle office you may find him daylighting as a design education teacher at local art organizations or schools, or camping in the nearby mountains.
WHAT IS A THESIS PROJECT?
After four years of study, architecture undergrads embark upon a frightful final project known as The Thesis. The subject matter is up to the student and generally focuses on a design project that has the greatest potential connection with the focuses they’ve developed over the past four years. This can range anywhere from the green roofing of a historic structure, to spatial explorations of a live/work residence, to the material qualities of architectural skins. Through the guidance of their chosen advisors/professors, the students construct their design problems as a program. What is a program, you may ask? It is a square footage breakdown for the diverse range of needs within the building and outside the building they are designing. The program acts as the framework for which they design their architectural form.
The Thesis begins with the entire fall semester spent researching and writing to create the program, with brief explorations into schematic design. The film starts following our students at the beginning of the spring semester when the serious hands-on design begins in earnest. The five-month term is broken into sequential critiques where each student showcases their progression and endures intense questioning from their advisors and peers. The thesis ends with a final presentation days before graduation. This is where the film leaves our student-characters as the climactic rush to produce the last minute details to their academic careers unfolds.
Sound Editor and Re-Recording Mixer
Titles, Graphics and Trailer Editor
Emily Ahn Levy
Additional funding provided by the Arnold W. Brunner Grant through the Center for Architecture Foundation
Anshen + Allen
Bob and Jane Long
Walter and Julie Long
Satch and Becky Krantz
Columbia University - Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation
Autodesk - Waltham Campus
Cooper Union - 41 Cooper Square Building
AECOM - New York Office
Center for Architecture AIANY
Cornell University - Andrew Dickson White Library
Creative Time - “Playing the Building” Exhibit and Staff
Boston Architectural College
Entire 2008 Bachelor of Architecture Class at Pratt Institute
Assistant to the Dean Kurt Everhart
Dean Tom Hanrahan
Spanish consultation and translation provided by filmmaker Israel Nava
Farsi translation coordinated and provided by Hamid Khoshgam
Why did you decide to make this film?
We were inspired enough by our own experience in design school that we thought it warranted some attention. Although studio-based education can be extremely public, it generally remains insular to the design community and we sought to make it accessible to anyone and everyone. Because the two of us and our professional colleagues shared similar studio experiences, we knew the students and setting would offer the right balance of humor, passion and tension. Our goal with Archiculture is to shed light on some of the benefits of studio-based design education over more traditional seminar and lecture classroom methods.
What is the story behind the title?
The project was originally titled, Architorture. Being a fairly ubiquitous term among students and architects, we thought it would be a catchy, helpful way to grab the attention of non-architects. It was great at first when we were in pre-production, because it really helped us establish a strong following among our core audience of designers. However, many people within academia thought it misrepresented the mission of the project and negatively portrayed the studio environment. Although we were fond of the title, we ultimately thought it best to change it to something with a more positive and broader meaning. We think that by incorporating the term “culture” into the title, it both described the studio culture that that the film explores, as well as the cultural impact of design on our daily lives.
What were some of the challenges to making the film?
Honestly, we spent entirely far too long trying to make the film we wanted to make, instead of allowing the footage we captured to dictate the story. We went through a series of options in regard to format, ranging from feature-length to episodic web series, as well as a few different editors, before we were able to crystallize a meaningful storyline and structure. There were many other behind-the-scenes pitfalls that were not things we could control or fix. It also didn’t help that we started to make the film at the beginning of a long, drawn-out financial depression that created hurdles for a lot of independent filmmakers and dissolved our core donation base of architects and design firms. Ultimately, it turned into a true passion project between the two of us, and an evolving cast and crew, to finish the film.
We plan to continue heading down the filmmaking path. We have a feature length documentary on the way by the name of Girls’ Show and another in early funding stages named Built. We are continuing to grow our company and pull in more commercial projects while staying true to our niche of architectural filmmaking. The making of Archiculture has been a phenomenal learning process that has made us a lot more humble regarding the effort, cost and time it takes to produce such a documentary project. We look forward to using these skills toward future filmmaking endeavors.
For more info, please email us for a press kit.
Archiculture is a documentary film that examines the strengths and perils of architectural education. The film follows a group of young design students through their final semester at Pratt Institute in New York City. The student interactions and reactions help illustrate the challenges of being a young aspiring designer in today’s world. The film weaves back and forth between the architectural studio and the architectural profession creating convincing impressions between students and industry leading professionals.
The film brings the audience into the studio world with an authentic look at the friendships, culture and habits that result from peer-to-peer learning. From the dedicated all-nighters to the ubiquitous coffee-runs, these students spend day and night together struggling through the same set of questions and problems. In what sometimes seems like cut-throat competition, the film illustrates the symbiotic benefits that arise in the shared studio environment.
Another significant theme in the film focuses on the benefits and detriments associated with the studio critique system. From one-on-one reviews to public juried critiques, the film shows the ups and downs of these often intense interactions. The film also addresses the trend of training “star” architects and begs the question of how we should go about training the next generation of designers.
Arbuckle Industries was founded in 2007 by David Krantz and Ian Harris. The company was originally formed with the purpose of producing the documentary film, Archiculture. Once Archiculture entered into post-production, Arbuckle spontaneously grew into a small production company. Now, nine years later, Arbuckle is a well established video production company based in New York that shoots internationally. The company has filmed a range of design and cultural icons including President Bill Clinton, musician David Byrne, Robert DeNiro and Pritzker Prize winners Thom Mayne, Zaha Hadid, Richard Meier and Shigeru Ban, along with over 100 architects to date. Their clients include such notable brands and companies as Architect Magazine, Friends of the High Line, the American Institute of Architects, Etsy, Regional Plan Association, Wayfair, Dwell Studio, Meetup, Apartment Therapy, Center for Architecture Foundation, Yamaha and Global Heritage Fund. More details on the company and their portfolio of work can be viewed at the Arbuckle website.
what is a thesis?
website designed and film produced by Arbuckle Industries
Find out about our amazingly successful DIY self distribution story with over 130 screenings in 26 countries around the globe !
If you would like to own a copy of the film and are interested in having a copy with rights to show to non-residential or educational audiences than you will need to grab a DVD copy through our secure store on Amazon. This copy includes Spanish, Portuguese and Malay subtitles along with the 30 extra full length interviews included!