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National airdate: Sunday, May 12, 2013, 10:00 pm ET, 9:00 pm CT

For immediate release
Chicago, IL - March 7, 2013

10 Buildings that Changed America is a national television special coming to PBS about ten influential American buildings that changed the way we live, work, and play. The program is hosted by Geoffrey Baer and written and produced by Dan Protess. The national airdate is Sunday, May 12, 2013 at 10:00 pm ET/9:00 pm CT. These ten buildings were selected in consultation with a panel of historians and architects from across the country:

  • Virginia State Capitol, Richmond, VA

  • Trinity Church, Boston, MA

  • Wainwright Building, St. Louis, MO

  • Robie House, Chicago, IL

  • Highland Park Ford Plant, Highland Park, MI

  • Southdale Center Mall, Edina, MN

  • Seagram Building, New York, NY

  • Dulles International Airport, Chantilly, VA

  • Vanna Venturi House, Chestnut Hill, PA

  • Walt Disney Concert Hall, Los Angeles, CA

The program features striking videography, rare archival images, distinctive animation, and interviews with some of the nation’s most insightful historians and architects (including Frank Gehry and Robert Venturi), tied together with fast-paced editing and contemporary music. This is a journey that will take viewers inside these groundbreaking works of art and engineering. It is also a journey back in time, to discover the shocking, funny, and even sad stories of how these buildings came to be. And ultimately, it is a journey inside the imaginations of ten daring architects who set out to change the way we live, work, worship, learn, shop, and play.

Also currently in production is a companion website,, a mobile-optimized online destination packed with rich media content including text, photos, video, audio, animation and interactive features that bring the stories of American architecture to life. The site will feature the stories of the ten buildings covered in the program, along with an additional set of 10 more influential buildings. Visitors to the site will also have the opportunity to select and review their own picks. Also included will be a curriculum designed for grades 6-12 which will include five lesson plans, focusing on five different subjects: art, English, mathematics, science, and social studies.

10 Buildings that Changed America is hosted by Geoffrey Baer, a multiple Emmy Award-winning producer and program host for WTTW in Chicago. He is best known as the host and writer of WTTW’s popular feature-length specials about Chicago architecture and history including Chicago’s Loop: A New Walking Tour,  Chicago’s Lakefront, Chicago by Boat:  the New River Tour, Biking the Boulevards and Chicago by ‘L’: Touring the Neighborhoods, as well as six specials covering virtually all of Chicago’s suburban areas.  He took viewers on a culinary tour in The Foods of Chicago: a Delicious History, which was nominated for a coveted James Beard Award, and explored the surprising side of the city in Hidden Chicago.  He also hosted and co-wrote documentaries distributed nationally on architects Robert A.M. Stern and Michael Graves, the two past winners of the Richard H. Driehaus Prize for Classical and Traditional Architecture. He is currently in post-production on a profile of this year’s winner, Thomas Beeby.  Mr. Baer also appears regularly on WTTW’s flagship nightly public affairs program Chicago Tonight answering viewers’ questions about Chicago architecture and history in a segment called Ask Geoffrey. He has been a volunteer tour guide for the Chicago Architecture Foundation since 1989 and was recently honored by the Society of Architectural Historians.

Dan Protess has been producing and writing critically-acclaimed television programs at WTTW for more than a decade. His most recent productions include the feature-length architecture and history specials Chicago’s Loop: a New Walking Tour, Biking the Boulevards and Chicago’s Lakefront. He wrote and produced the Emmy-winning, James Beard-nominated The Foods of Chicago: A Delicious History. For the station’s nightly newsmagazine series Chicago Tonight, Dan also produces candidate forums and feature stories for which he has received the prestigious Peter Lisagor Award. He began his career at WTTW in 1999 as an associate producer of arts and architecture programming, and soon after served as the associate producer and writer of A Justice That Heals, a documentary about a teenage murderer and his young victim that was shown on ABC’s Nightline. He went on to produce and write numerous documentaries, including Jewish Chicago, Chicago’s First Mexican Church, Chicago’s 1919 Race Riots, and numerous profiles of local luminaries such as Congressman Dan Rostenkowski and priest-turned-romance novelist Andrew Greeley.

10 Buildings that Changed America is produced in partnership with the Society of Architectural Historians. Major funding is 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, Nicor Gas, Goldman Sachs, and the Sage Foundation. Funding is also provided by Harriet K. Burnstein, Ken Norgan, Peter Kelliher II, Millennium Properties, Perkins+Will, USG Corporation, and Neil G. Bluhm (as of 3/7/13).