Director Nathaniel Kahn searches to understand his father, noted architect Louis Kahn, who died bankrupt and alone in 1974.



Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 7 wins & 3 nominations. See more awards »



Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Documentary | Biography
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

The husband-and-wife team of Charles and Ray Eames were America's most influential and important industrial designers. Admired for their creations and fascinating as individuals, they have ... See full summary »

Directors: Jason Cohn, Bill Jersey
Stars: Charles Eames, Ray Eames, James Franco
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

Visual Acoustics celebrates the life and career of Julius Shulman, the world's greatest architectural photographer, whose images brought modern architecture to the American mainstream. ... See full summary »

Director: Eric Bricker
Stars: Frances Anderton, Tom Ford, Frank Gehry
Documentary | Biography
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

The film traces the rise of one of the world's premier architects, Norman Foster, and his unending quest to improve the quality of life through design.

Directors: Carlos Carcas, Norberto López Amado
Stars: Norman Foster, Deyan Sudjic
Urbanized (2011)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

A documentary about the design of cities, which looks at the issues and strategies behind urban design and features some of the world's foremost architects, planners, policymakers, builders, and thinkers.

Director: Gary Hustwit
Stars: Rem Koolhaas, Norman Foster, Amanda M. Burden
Documentary | News
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

Half of the human population lives in urban areas. By 2050, this will increase to 80%. Life in a megacity is both enchanting and problematic. Today we face peak oil, climate change, ... See full summary »

Director: Andreas Dalsgaard
Stars: Jan Gehl, Rob Adams, Robert Doyle
Kochuu (TV Movie 2003)
Documentary | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

KOCHUU is a visually stunning film about modern Japanese architecture, its roots in the Japanese tradition, and its impact on the Nordic building tradition. Winding its way through visions ... See full summary »

Director: Jesper Wachtmeister
Stars: Tadao Andô, Sverre Fehn, Kristian Gullichsen
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

Cuba's ambitious National Art Schools project, designed by three young artists in the wake of Castro's Revolution, is neglected, nearly forgotten, then ultimately rediscovered as a visionary architectural masterpiece.

Directors: Benjamin Murray, Alysa Nahmias
Stars: Vittorio Garatti, Roberto Gottardi, Ricardo Porro
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

Rarely has an architect caused as much sensation outside of the architecture community as Rem Koolhaas. His outstanding creations--such as the Dutch Embassy in Berlin, the Seattle Library ... See full summary »

Directors: Markus Heidingsfelder, Min Tesch
Helvetica (2007)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

A documentary about typography, graphic design, and global visual culture.

Director: Gary Hustwit
Stars: Manfred Schulz, Massimo Vignelli, Rick Poynor
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

Destroyed in a dramatic and highly-publicized implosion, the Pruitt-Igoe public housing complex has become a widespread symbol of failure amongst architects, politicians and policy makers. ... See full summary »

Director: Chad Freidrichs
Stars: Slyvester Brown, Irvin Dagen, Elmer Fiedler
Documentary | Biography | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

In rural Alabama, architecture students cross the threshold of poverty to build communities, not just structures, and leave snakebit to make a better world.

Director: Sam Wainwright Douglas
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

The architect Daniel Brenner is in his late thirties when he receives his first challenging and lucrative commission: to design a cultural center for a satellite town in East-Berlin. He ... See full summary »

Director: Peter Kahane
Stars: Kurt Naumann, Rita Feldmeier, Uta Eisold


Credited cast:
Edmund Bacon ...
Edwina Pattison Daniels ...
Aunt Eddie
Balkrishna Doshi ...
Himself (as B.V. Doshi)
Frank Gehry ...
Himself (as Frank O. Gehry)
Philip Johnson ...
Louis Kahn ...
Himself (archive footage)
Nathaniel Kahn ...
Sue Ann Kahn ...
Richard Katz
Teddy Kollek ...
Harriet Pattison ...
Priscilla Pattison ...
Aunt Posie
I.M. Pei ...
Moshe Safdie ...
Robert A.M. Stern ...


World-famous architect Louis Kahn (Exeter Library, Salk Institute, Bangladeshi Capitol Building) had two illegitimate children with two different women outside of his marriage. Son Nathaniel always hoped that someday his father would come and live with him and his mother, but Kahn never left his wife. Instead, Kahn was found dead in a men's room in Penn Station when Nathaniel was only 11. Nathaniel travels the world visitng his father's buildings and haunts in this film, meeting his father's contemporaries, colleagues, students, wives, and children. Written by Martin Lewison <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


The secret life of architectural genius Louis Kahn See more »


See all certifications »


Official Sites:



Release Date:

12 November 2003 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Mimar babam - Bir ogulun yolculugu  »

Filming Locations:

Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$37,929 (USA) (14 November 2003)


$2,748,981 (USA) (30 July 2004)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Louis Kahn: How accidental our existences are, really, and how full of influence by circumstance.
See more »


Referenced in Match Point (2005) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

Louis Kahn would have no doubt been moved
19 May 2012 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

Nominated for the Best Documentary Feature Academy Award, this HBO documentary follows Nathaniel Kahn as he tries to discover more about the father he never knew, the great architect Louis Kahn. Dying alone of a heart attack in a train station 25 years before, Louis Kahn was left unclaimed for days due to him mysteriously blacking out information on his passport. He was married, but not to Nathaniel's mother - she was one of numerous mistresses he had during his later years. The film takes Nathaniel on a journey where he interviews friends, family, and colleagues, as well as visiting some of his father's spectacular works.

The father-son story of discovery has been done numerous times in cinema, to various degrees of success, but I've never experienced a film so personal. It is peppered with scenes of raw emotion, including a moving scene where Nathaniel reveals himself to be Louis' son to a man that knew :ouis well. Yet amongst all the emotion, the stand-out scenes are the sections where he visits his fathers works. The Salk Institute is simply an outstanding piece of art, and the film captures it beautifully in all its glory. Even though it is arguable that such a journey needs such a detailed account, I found the film slightly overlong, and I found my interest sliding at times. But this is a film that successfully explores the complexities of the man, whether you feel he was a philanderer, a tyrant, or a troubled genius, through the eyes of a son who wants to see good in and love his father. I have no doubt that Louis Kahn, were he still alive, would have been deeply moved.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
Did not like this film ruens
Architects you admire star_cinnamon
incredible... WorkingClassPro
Surely this film's a fake!! philip-18
song - help! courtney_eveleigh
The architecture karen-russo2
Discuss My Architect (2003) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for: