In 1974, renowned American architect Louis Kahn was found dead in Penn Station, bankrupt and alone, a heart attack victim at 73. At his funeral, it was discovered that along with his wife and daughter, he had sired two other children with two other women – and kept all three families going at the same time, while working himself to death on numerous failed projects and a few finished masterpieces (the Salk Institute in La Jolla and the capital of Bangladesh being the most celebrated).
One of Kahn's illegitimate children, Nathaniel, set out 25 years later to find out about the father he barely knew, and decided that the best way would be to explore the elder Kahn's various buildings.
A sweet, easygoing documentary that never fully connects, My Architect works best as a portrait of the eccentric Kahn pere. But whatever Nathaniel Kahn was really aiming for, I think he misses. The filmmaker seems like a nice guy, but his quest seems less of a personal obsession to truly get to know his father and more of a "hey, this would be a neat idea for a film" sort of thing. So My Architect is, oddly, both earnest and a little disingenuous.
There are several poignant scenes – Nathaniel reminiscing with his two half-sisters, talking to his still-lovesick mother, and holding a knockout final interview with a passionate architect in Bangladesh – but My Architect is mostly just a pleasant little movie that hums along quietly. Neither boring nor totally engaging, it's still plainspoken fun for fans of architecture.