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Mar 1 2021 Film /

TSA Playlist | March: Home


What makes a place a home? Is it a sense of permanence and stability? Or the memories we form, relationships we share, and the communities we belong to? Inspired by our recent Call for Home Tours, this month’s TSA Playlist explores the many ways we make and define home.

Included in this month’s selection are films exploring carefully master planned communities and inventive approaches to mobility and flexibility, as well as insightful documentaries exploring what it means to live in the city without a place you can call your own and our role in making cities better homes for all. Our selection ends with a stirring animated short following a house in search of that often hard to define sense of home.


A two story and a larger building partially in view are perpendicular, with a grassy lawn and trees in front

Creating Community: Lafayette Park
2008 | 34 min

Built in the late 1950s and the early 1960s and designed by renowned architect Mies van der Rohe, regional planner Ludwig Hilerseimer and architect Alfred Cladwell, the Detroit community of Lafayette Park is home to almost 6,000 residents. With a mix of high and low density housing, it is the largest collection of residential buildings by Mies van der Rohe and is listed in the National Register of Historic Places because of the excellence of its urban design and the quality of its community planning. But what is it like to live there?

In this documentary planners and residents are interviewed for their reactions to living in this unique community.

Watch it on Kanopy



Two cats sitting on a table next to a potted plant by the window

Home: A Short History of the Highrise, Part 4
2013 | 5 min

For many of us, home is up in the sky. This emotive short film — part of A Short History of the Highrise, an interactive documentary exploring 2,500 years of vertical living — brings together a series of personal pictures from high-rise residents around the world that both capture the individuality and shared experiences of highrise living. The images are submissions from New York Times readers and the music is by Montreal musician Patrick Watson. 

Looking for the stories behind the images? Check out the bonus content on the New York Times interactive project page which includes additional images, the stories from submittors and additional stories of life in high-rises.

Watch it on the National Film Board



2020 | 52 min | Watch the trailer

For some, home is about permanence, stability and staying in place.But for others, home is always on the move. Microtopia explores how architects, artists, and ordinary problem-solvers are pushing the limits to find answers to their dreams of portability, flexibility, and of creating independence from “the grid”. Modern nomads, homeless people, people in stress, people in need of privacy or seclusion – we hear about the personal reasons behind the dwellings and to see how they work. Microtopia deals with contemporary and urgent ideas that are addressed, and solved, in a very surprising way.

Watch it on TVO



What It Takes To Make a Home
Canadian Centre for Architecture
2019 | 29 min | Watch the trailer

What does it mean to live in the city without a place you can call your own? What role can architects have in addressing homelessness? And how can cities become better homes for all? This documentary film, produced by the Canadian Centre for Architecture, follows a conversation between architects Michael Maltzan (Los Angeles) and Alexander Hagner (Vienna), who have been grappling with these questions over many years and through various projects. Focusing on some causes and conditions of homelessness, the film questions the role architects can play toward overcoming the stigmatization of people experiencing it in order to build more inclusive cities.

Watch it on the CCA Website



A collage of 8 still from the self is not enough series, all of the speakers

The Self is Not Enough
Canadian Centre for Architecture
2020 | 7 Parts | 97 min

It has been a year since many of us have found ourselves at home. The lockdowns have forced a new perspective on familiar interactions as we continue to reflect on just how, and for how long, we’ve been alone. Produced by the Canadian Centre for Architecture in Montréal, this series checks in with 8 speakers from across the globe who share their thoughts on how the current isolation is affecting us and how it can reveal ways to improve both urban and social environments. They explore the hypothesis that the self is not enough and search for ways to reshape our individualism toward a shared future.

Watch it on the CCA Website



Two animated single family homes sit in front of a glowing campfire

Home Sweet Home
2014 | 10 min

Home is more than just shelter, it is the memories and relationships that we associate to those places. This visually spectacular, award-winning animated short tells the gentle story of an old house escaping from its foundations for an epic journey in search for home.

Watch it on Kanopy



About the TSA Playlist

The TSA Playlist is a monthly curated list of free online films touching upon issues of architecture, the built environment and design. Our thematic lists do more than just entertain; they inspire us, enrich us, and challenge our perspectives helping bring the conversation of the built environment to new audiences and encourage conversation and debate.

Have a suggestion of a film or theme you would like to see featured? Let us know at tsa@torontosocietyofarchitects.ca

Be sure to also check out the past editions of the TSA Playlist!


January | Community

A black and white photo of a woman holding her child in one arm, smiling, standing in front of her front porchFebruary | Black History Month


June | Outdoors

July | O Canada

September |Community Shorts

How to access the Playlist

Our TSA Playlist films are available free of charge for online screening through a number of streaming services in the Greater Toronto Area and beyond including Kanopy, TVO, CBC Gem, and Hoopla. Our monthly list includes viewing links on platforms available in the region. Some of these streaming services might require you to have a free library or university card to access the service. See list below for where these streaming services are available.

Kanopy is currently available through the following library systems and universities in southern Ontario: Toronto PL, Hamilton PL, Oshawa PL (until July 3), Stratford PL, Newmarket PL, Whitby PL, London PL, Guelph PL, University of Toronto, Ryerson University, University of Waterloo, George Brown College, Seneca College, Centennial College and Sheridan College. If you don’t see your library listed, you can verify if your library has made Kanopy available here. Got a university card instead? You can check if your university has made Kanopy available here.

Hoopla is currently available through the following library systems and universities in southern Ontario: Toronto PL, Barrie PL, Kingston PL, Mississauga PL, Kitchener PL, Niagara Falls PL, Peterborough PL and Orillia PL.