Image courtesy of Trascendental Media

A charming documentary offers an insider's view of one of the most essential -- but overlooked -- building functions

Do you think the porter and the cook have no anecdotes, no experiences, no wonders for you? The walls of their minds are scrawled all over with thoughts. They shall one day bring a lantern and read the inscriptions.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson

As building professionals, we know that buildings have a special pull on us, an emotional attraction that leads some of us to dedicate most of a career to a handful of properties. Buildings change, live, and breathe. It takes all types to keep buildings running smoohly, from finance wizards, to genius mechanical engineers, to a team of custodians.

As I scanned listings for something to watch while I pleaded with my daughter to go to sleep, I was surprised to see a documentary about custodians rise to the top of the most popular movies on Hulu this month. I had low expectations.

I was wrong. Now about two years old, The Philosopher Kings provides a charming peek at this often overlooked building function. The film rings true to building culture, and is sure to be eye-opening to people outside our industry.

Even if you work in the industry, you might be one of the folks who never gets to know your custodian. I’ve always enjoyed getting to know mine, and the film shows what you might be missing. Its available on YouTube, Hulu, Netflix, iTunes, and DVD. Enjoy!

About Tom Arnold

Tom Arnold is co-founder and CEO of Gridium. Prior to Gridium, Tom Arnold was the Vice President of Energy Efficiency at EnerNOC, and cofounder at TerraPass. Tom has an MBA from the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania and a BA in Economics from Dartmouth College. When he isn't thinking about the future of buildings, he enjoys riding his bike and chasing after his two daughters.

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