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Lesson ideas


KS 1-2 Explore the similarities and differences between contemporary buildings and those from the past. Collate examples of buildings from different periods and countries and make a visual archi-tecture timeline. Take photos and draw buildings near the school. Introduce key vocabulary for styles and materials.

Collate examples of materials and household objects and match some of these to pictures of buildings. If possible, play oral history recordings of people who have lived in modern buildings. How do buildings affect the way we live and work? Choose one building, then devise questions about the structure to ask the people living there.

Design and technology

KS3 Explore Mies's design. Look at examples of contemporary skyscrapers, making a site visit if possible. Discuss working and living in a skyscraper or a city dominated by tall buildings. What effect would this have on the environment and how people live?

Work in teams to design a skyscraper for a specific type of building, such as a school, and for a particular place (bring in a picture of the place).

Create a mood board to describe the interior design. Develop ideas using ICT and through drawing, collage, photomontage, models, floor plans. Teams could present their design and planning work to the rest of the class as if presenting work for an architecture competition.

Art and design

KS 4-5 Visit a Modernist building (examples can be found on the VA website) and contemporary office buildings inspired by modernist design.

Draw and photograph the buildings from a variety of perspectives, recording shape, line, texture and reflection. Back at school or college, experiment with a range of media - including printmaking, typography, collage and digital processes - to turn students' drawings and photos into collages, animations, films or sculptures that express the experience.


* Explore the exhibition online

* Explore the architecture collection and architecture-style quiz

* Ideal resources to use with a whiteboard

* For different styles and periods of art and design

Kara Wescombe is head of formal education, VA

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