Award Information

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. 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 150–250-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.

Nominations for the 2024 SAH Award for Film and Video have closed. Nominations for the 2025 award cycle will open in June 2024.

2022    Not Just Roads
Nitin Bathla and and Klearjos Eduardo Papanicolaou, Directors and Producers, 2020
2021 Uppland
Based on research by Killian Doherty and directed by Edward Lawrenson, 2018
2020 The First Line of China
Hanwen Zhang, Director
Hanwen Zhang, Producer, 2018
2019 Vilanova Artigas – the Architect and the Light
Directed by Laura Artigas and Peter Gorski
Olé Produções, 2015
2018 Eero Saarinen: The Architect Who Saw the Future
Director: Peter Rosen
Peter Rosen Productions, 2016
2017 Talking to My Father
Filmmaker: Sé Merry Doyle
Loopline Film, 2015
Honorable Mention:
Tower House
sixpackfilm, 2013
Filmmaker: Karl-Heinz Klopf

A Tropical House
sixpackfilm, 2015
Filmmaker:Karl-Heinz Klopf
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

Image: Film still from Vilanova Artigas – the Architect and the Light

2023 SAH Film & Video Award Recipient

We Love We Self Up Here
Year Completed: 2021
Kannan Arunasalam, Director
Tao DuFour and Natalie Melas, Producers
Read the citation

We Love We Self Up Here is a documentary short that explores narratives of lived experiences of urban, agricultural, and industrial landscapes tied to colonial and postcolonial legacies of sugar production and hydrocarbon extraction in Trinidad & Tobago. The film captures complex histories of labor and migration through the intimate stories of a few persons. The spaces of narration—domestic, neighborhood, and landscape—themselves emerge as “characters,” architectural and landscape witnesses to long processes of social and environmental change. The history of architecture in the Caribbean is inseparable from that of the parallel development of capitalism, slavery, and indentured servitude. These emerged through the appropriation and design of the landscape itself, as a function of colonial capitalist modernity’s extractive regime with its highly profitable re-invention of the racial division of labor in the plantation system, and the indigenous genocide and coerced migration of peoples it entailed. It is in the face of this haunting background that the first generation of post- or de-colonial thinkers took it as one of their tasks to make this landscape possible—in literature, philosophy and the arts—as a space of embodied lived experience. We Love We Self Up Here offers narrative insight into this sedimented history in the way that it, to quote Édouard Glissant, “still reverberates to this day” in the lived spatial experiences of the landscapes of the people of the Caribbean. The film has been screened at Cornell AAP, Harvard GSD, and the Department of Architecture at Cambridge University, UK.