How to Look at Buildings

Contributor: Brian Anthony. Lesson ID: 11686

Artwork is everywhere, and not just in museums and galleries. You are probably sitting in a piece of art now! Buildings are designed for many purposes but are artistic in some form. Analyze some now!


History, Visual Arts

learning style
personality style
Otter, Golden Retriever
Grade Level
Middle School (6-8), High School (9-12)
Lesson Type
Dig Deeper

Lesson Plan - Get It!

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Even if you haven't been to an art gallery in … forever, you still see art every day in the form of buildings.

  • What is the most beautiful or majestic building you've ever seen?

You may not have thought of buildings as “art.”

In reality, architecture — the art of designing buildings — is one of the greatest forms of art. Buildings are works of art you can appreciate from outside or from inside! Some of the greatest works of architecture around the world are religious buildings. In many places, religion binds people together, so communities and leaders have invested a lot in these important and majestic structures.

Many buildings are simply built for utility; that is, they are built mostly or completely for a certain function rather than to catch people's attention.

Then there are buildings that are built with aesthetic value, with elements meant to add artistic qualities to the space.

For example, most people would say that this warehouse pictured below has few aesthetic qualities. Its main purpose is to store items in a cheap and efficient way:

In contrast, Burj Khalifa, pictured below, was built to impress. It is one of the tallest and most elegant buildings in the world, but it has a lot of empty space inside!

Burj Khalifa

Make a list of at least ten buildings in your area. Be sure to consider all different kinds and sizes of buildings. Rank them in the order of which ones look the "coolest," most interesting, most beautiful, or most unusual. For each one, write down a feature of each that made you rank it as you did.

Share your list with your parent or teacher. Reflect on the following questions and discuss:

  • What are some famous buildings in the world?
  • What is it about their design or appearance that makes them famous?
  • What are the different purposes for which a building may be constructed?

You have taken a few minutes to think about buildings as a form of art. In the next section, you will read about how to analyze buildings in order to better understand their functions and aesthetic values.

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