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Case Number 25645: Small Claims Court

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10 Buildings That Changed America

PBS // 2013 // 60 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge Dawn Hunt // May 11th, 2013

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All Rise...

Judge Dawn Hunt's list of Buildings That Changed America include the teepee, log cabin, outhouse, bomb shelter, man cave, and fast food drive-thrus.

The Charge

"I chose honest arrogance."

The Case

As part of his "Geoffrey Baer Tours" Geoffrey Baer (7 Wonders of Chicago) traveled across the country to investigate the stories behind some of the most influential buildings in our nation. Presented in chronological order 10 Buildings That Changed America is a love letter to American architecture.

The buildings covered include…

Number Ten: Virginia State Capitol (Richmond, VA)
Number Nine: Trinity Church (Boston, MA)
Number Eight: Wainwright Building (St. Louis, MO)
Number Seven: Robie House (Chicago, IL)
Number Six: Highland Park Ford Plant (Highland Park, MI)
Number Five: Southdale Center (Edina, MN)
Number Four: Seagram Building (New York, NY)
Number Three: Dulles International Airport (Chantilly, VA)
Number Two: Vanna Venturi House (Philadelphia, PA)
Number One: Walt Disney Concert Hall (Los Angeles, CA)

10 Buildings That Changed America is very fast. At just under an hour, each building has less than five minutes of screen time, during which we learn about the history, architect, and influence of the style presented. While I'm not an architecture buff, the content is educational and never makes one feel as though any of it is over our heads. It's easy to recommend a viewing.

The standard def 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen presentation occasionally makes one feel as though the film is lower budget than it actually is, but the buildings always are presented in their best light. The Dolby 2.0 Stereo mix is serviceable, and yet there's distinct echoing or another issue yet they never overpower the stream so I can forgive them.

Bonus features include additional scenes and a curriculum guide. The curriculum guide is a 51-page pdf file offering lesson plans and ideas for teachers. And while I personally don't have use for it I was pleased to see this attempt to bridge the material from one medium to another. My only quibble is there is no "play all" option for the videos, which are many. Altogether there's a little more than half an hour of additional bonus videos and I would have preferred to be able to watch them all and fast-forward if I chose.

All in all 10 Buildings That Changed America was informative and fast-paced. I'm not sure a purchase is required but if you're at all interested in architecture you could do far worse than this.

The Verdict

Not guilty.

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Scales of Justice

Judgment: 84

Perp Profile

Studio: PBS
Video Formats:
• 1.78:1 Anamorphic
Audio Formats:
• Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
• English (SDH)
Running Time: 60 Minutes
Release Year: 2013
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
• Documentary
• Historical
• Television

Distinguishing Marks

• Additional Scenes
• Curriculum Guide


• Official Site

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