‘Talking to My Father’ wins SAH Award for Film and Video

walker-robin‘Talking to My Father’, Sé Merry Doyle’s documentary about Robin Walker, has been awarded the 2017 SAH Award for Film and Video by the Society of Architectural Historians.

Sé was acknowledged as the 2017 Film and Video Award recipient through a citation presented at the Society’s 2017 Annual International Conference Awards Ceremony on Thursday, June 8, 2017, at the University of Strathclyde. ‘Talking to my Father’ features two voices from two eras each concerned with how we as a nation understand the architecture that surrounds our lives.

From the Award Committee:” Sé Merry Doyle’s Talking with My Father weaves together stories concerning the life and the architecture of Robin Walker, a partner in the firm of Scott Tallon Walker, who decisively introduced a Miesian aesthetic into the vocabulary of modern Irish architecture. The film takes the viewer back and forth between the Ireland of 2015 and the 1960s, a journey woven from stories, drawings, photographs, text, and period films. Narrated by Simon Walker, the architect’s son, the film is at once about reckoning with the memory of his father and the precariousness of Walker’s work at a moment where there is little interest in remembering, much less preserving it. Robin Walker largely gave up architecture at the height of his success to concentrate on writing and teaching, an enigmatic retreat at the heart of the film. Revisiting the subtleties of Walker’s schools, houses, university campuses, and offices, Doyle’s Talking to my Father sets these against their much-altered existence in the present, deftly linking their present condition within to the modernization of Irish society during the 1960s and 1970s. Less nostalgic than gently indignant, the film is a love letter to Walker’s tough-minded yet sensitive architecture amid another moment of profound change. In Talking to my Father the fate of Walker’s buildings comes to stand for the fate of those years, still present yet largely forgotten amid the more recent and profound economic transformation of Ireland. The jury was particularly impressed with the film’s lyrical and beautiful cinematography, which brings Walker’s modern structures and landscapes to life, the urgent plea for their preservation and the intimate search for a son’s understanding of his father.”

The SAH Award for Film and Video was established in 2013 to recognize annually the most distinguished work of film or video on the history of the built environment. The Award is global in scope with no geographic or political boundaries limiting subject matter or production team. The topic of the film or video must be any aspect of the built environment including the history of buildings, interiors, monuments, landscapes, cultural landscapes, urbanism, designers, engineers, clients, preservation, conservation, citizen engagement, or other topics related to the history of the built environment.