Dan Cruickshank's Adventures in Architecture
What influence has architecture had on history and culture? And do buildings reflect the personality of a nation? Historian and writer Dan Cruickshank celebrates architecture as a creative force as he explores the world’s greatest cities, buildings and monuments in this compelling documentary series. He travels the globe visiting incredible structures that have left an indelible mark on humanity.
Watch Dan Cruickshank's Adventures in Architecture and more acclaimed documentaries on BBC Select today. Restrictions apply*.
Dan Cruickshank's Adventures in Architecture on BBC Select
Episode 1: Beauty
Dan Cruickshank explores how humanity has created incredible beauty through architecture.
What makes a building beautiful? In this fascinating documentary, historian Dan Cruickshank explores how humanity has created incredible beauty through architecture. He travels to Greenland to build an igloo, creating an architectural form that is under threat due to climate change. In China he scales the world’s biggest Buddha and deciphers a temple in India rich with erotic images.
Episode 2: Death
In the Czech Republic the macabre tale of a chapel decorated with human bones is revealed.
Since mankind created its earliest structures, death has always had a profound influence. In this documentary, Dan Cruickshank travels the globe to explore how different cultures have created architecture inspired by mortality. In the Czech Republic, he finds a chapel decorated with human bones. Even more shocking are the Yaxha Mayan pyramids in Guatemala, the sites of brutal human sacrifice.
Episode 3: Paradise
Dan travels the world to visit structures inspired by the heavens and notions of paradise.
Images of the afterlife have been an important architectural ingredient for centuries. Dan Cruickshank looks at buildings that evoke the image of heaven across religions and cultures in this eye-opening documentary. In Egypt’s Sinai desert, Dan explores the St Catherine Monastery, while in China he sees the Hanging Temple, an audacious Taoist temple that seems to dangle from a cliff-face.
Episode 4: Disaster
Dan Cruickshank explores buildings shaped and threatened by disaster and adversity.
Some of the world’s greatest architecture has been forged in the face of adversity, terror and war. In this intriguing documentary, historian Dan Cruickshank explores buildings shaped and threatened by disaster. He makes a dangerous visit to the Minaret of Jam in war-torn Afghanistan while also exploring the role architecture can play in saving lives.
Episode 5: Connections
Dan Cruickshank finds out why some communal buildings succeed where others fail.
Community has always played an important role in our buildings. In this documentary, Dan Cruickshank sets out to reveal how architecture enables people to live together in all parts of the world. He finds vibrant communities in extraordinary buildings, but wonders why some prosper and others fail? His journey takes him from the super- rich inhabitants of Brasilia to the slums of Mumbai.
Episode 6: Power
Dan Cruickshank examines buildings as gigantic statements of power and repression.
Buildings as gigantic statements of power have led to some of the most impressive structures on the planet. The fantasies of dictators, kings, sultans, warriors and the ruling classes are all exposed in this fascinating history documentary. Historian Dan Cruickshank explores the world’s palaces of power in Romania, the Middle East, the American South, Turkey and Kazakhstan.
Episode 7: Dreams
Historian Dan Cruickshank examines buildings as the physical embodiments of dreams.
Since building began, architects have tried to build the future, tried to build fantasy worlds, tried even to change humanity by replicating dreams in bricks and mortar. In this fantastic history documentary, Dan Cruickshank looks at the influence of dreams in construction. He discovers a city of skyscrapers made of mud in Yemen, while in a Philadelphia prison, dreams turned into a nightmare.
Episode 8: Pleasure
Dan visits buildings created for pleasure, including the luxurious Taj hotel in India.
How does architecture provide pleasure, both to its creators and to the people who enjoy the buildings today? As this landmark history documentary concludes, Dan Cruickshank wallows in the pleasurable by visiting one of the world’s greatest and most luxurious hotels, the Taj in Mumbai. While in Germany, he explores a fantasy castle in the Bavarian mountains.