10 Buildings that Changed America

10 Buildings that Changed America aired May 12, 2013.

Survey 10 works of American architecture that changed the way we live.

About the Program

10 Buildings that Changed America presents 10 trend-setting works of architecture that have shaped and inspired our American landscape.

These aren’t just historic structures by famous architects. These buildings have dramatically influenced our built environment in many ways – and in one case, for over two centuries.

The Virginia State Capital building.The Virginia State Capital building.

From the state capitol building that first declared our architectural independence from Great Britain, to an iconic Prairie-style home by Frank Lloyd Wright. From the factory that housed Henry Ford’s first Model T moving assembly line, to the original indoor regional shopping mall. From H.H. Richardson’s iconic Trinity Church in Boston, to Frank Gehry’s game-changing Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles.

These 10 buildings helped make America the place it is today. Of course, they are not the only 10 buildings that did that. We invite you to let us know your own choices, and to join the dialogue about other buildings that have shaped America.

Watch the show. Learn more about the 10 Buildings that Changed America. Explore some building trends that might influence our future landscape. It’s an architectural journey – and along the way, you’ll find out how these 10 buildings, became icons.

10 Buildings that Changed America is hosted by Geoffrey Baer, an Emmy Award winning producer for WTTW Chicago. Baer is best known as the host and writer of WTTW’s popular Chicago-area tour programs such as Chicago by Boat, Chicago’s Loop, and Chicago’s Lakefront.

Visit the documentary's website to:

  • Explore the 10 Buildings (and 10 More Buildings) that changed America in images, video and text.
  • Trace the history of American architecture with an interactive timeline.
  • Watch the show and web exclusive videos shot on location at the 10 buildings.
  • Take a “Closer Look” at each of the buildings itself to learn about its architectural elements.
  • Discover local activities around each of the 10 buildings; Share your own picks for the buildings that changed America.


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Produced by:


Major funding provided by: The Negaunee Foundation, ITW, Robert & Joan Clifford, and BMO Harris Bank.

Additional funding is provided by: the Joseph & Bessie Feinberg Foundation, Rande & Cary McMillan, Richard & Mary L. Gray, The Robert Thomas Bobins Foundation, Alexandra & John Nichols, Patrick & Shirley Ryan, The Walter E. Heller Foundation, in memory of Alyce DeCosta, and Nicor Gas. Funding is also provided by Harriet K. Burnstein, Ken Norgan, Peter Kelliher II, Millennium Properties, Perkins+Will, USG Corporation, and Neil G. Bluhm. Further underwriting comes from our Friends of 10 Buildings: Nellie Starr, The Dauntless Charitable Fund, and Ms. Katherine Kurtz & Mr. Raburn Howland.

Produced in partnership with the Society of Architectural Historians.

Providing support for PBS.org

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10 Buildings the Changed America DVD & Book

10 Buildings the Changed America DVD & Book

Survey 10 works of American architecture that changed the way we live. Own the DVD & Book.

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