It is said that civilization is what man leaves behind: cooking and hunting tools; drawings and writings on stone or animal skin or cloth; weapons; farming instruments. All these things provide a glimpse into the daily lives and customs of past civilizations. Some of the most noticeable and interesting things that man leaves behind are the buildings, homes, monuments, temples, and other structures that reflect the time in which they were built and in which they served their usefulness.
Architecture is the art of building in which human requirements and construction materials are combined to provide practical use as well as an aesthetic solution. In other words, architects use their imagination to create pleasing, useful structures.
Sample some of the following activities to learn more about architecture.
The following are places to go (some real and some virtual) to find out about architecture.
Take a virtual tour of Canada's National Tower. The CN Tower was built by Canadian National Railways in 1976. At 1,815 ft., 5 inches, it is the tallest building in the world.
NOVA presents an engaging investigation of the famous tower of Pisa. The site looks at why it still stands and examines efforts to preserve this medieval treasure
This site features an aerial overview of Florence, Italy with a "clickable" map of the city's landmarks. Click on the buildings to see details of the historic art and architecture of Florence
Visit great buildings around the world. From this site, you can find out about their architects as well as their architectural styles.
Check out this book by Isadore Seltzer. It describes the many kinds of houses that Americans have built and continue to live in
Humber Bridge is the world's longest suspension bridge. The main span is 4626 feet long, and its total length is 7283 feet. The suspension cables are bundles of 41,000 miles of wire, enough to stretch around the world one and a half times!
Visitors can no longer climb to the top of this architectural wonder. But, virtually, you can still experience the tower, learn about its ongoing restoration projects, and find out about its history. It was built in 1194!
Travel to the 21 missions that were founded in California during the 18th and 19th centuries by Spanish explorers. Virtually stroll through the mission gardens and cloisters
Visit historic sites throughout the United States. From the menu, choose "Historic Buildings & Structures."
Stonehenge is one of the most famous and mysterious prehistoric sites in the world. Visit it virtually and learn about its ancient architects
Virtually travel to the Sydney Opera House in Australia. Its imaginative design is one of the most recognizable in the world. Jorn Utzon was the architect
Landscape architecture is the art of arranging or modifying the features of a landscape. The gardeners at Versailles knew something about landscape architecture. Virtually stroll through the gardens of this home of Louis XIV, built in the mid 1600s in France
These are a compilation of ancient architectural and sculptural accomplishments. They are thought to have been originally selected by a Greek writer named Antipater of Sidon. All of these wonders are in the eastern Mediterranean part of the world with which this man was familiar. The wonders are/were:
Frank Lloyd Wright was one of the founders of modern architecture and is regarded by many as the greatest architect of the 20th century. Browse through this digital collection of photos of his buildings from the Library of Congress
Meet 48 masters of architecture from I.M. Pei to Walter Gropius to Mies van der Rohe and Le Corbusier
Spend some time with Michaelangelo Buonarroti. Not only was he a painter and a sculptor, he was also an architect. He designed the dome of beautiful St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican in Rome.
Sir Christopher Wren was an architect in London in the mid 1600s. His most famous design is Saint Paul's Cathedral in London.
Virtually experience the unusual buildings designed by Buckminster Fuller. He's responsible for geodesic domes around the United States
The Center for Understanding the Built Environment provides information for educators to teach students about design, preservation, and planning.
According to this site, "Ieoh Ming Pei has given this century some of its most beautiful interior spaces and exterior forms." View his unique architectural style at the Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art at Cornell University, the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., the John F. Kennedy Library in Boston, and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Museum in Cleveland
Termites are some of nature's most accomplished architects. Termite nests may be over 20 feet high and contain more than a million insects in a highly structured society. These nests are intricately built, with a huge network of chambers and passageways, including ventilation, drainage, and heating systems
- Adams, Robert. Buildings: How They Work. New York: Sterling Pub. Co., 1995.
- Biesty, Stephen. Incredible Cross Sections. New York: Knopf, 1992.
- Caselli, Giovanni. Wonders of the World. New York: Dorling Kindersley, 1992.
- Corbishley, Mike. The World of Architectural Wonders. New York: Peter Bedrick Books, 1996.
- Cox, Reg. The Seven Wonders of the Modern World. Parsippany, N.J. : Silver Burdett, 1996.
- De Angelis, Therese. Wonders of the Ancient World. Philadelphia: Chelsea House, c1999.
- Macaulay, David. Great Moments in Architecture. Boston: Houghton, c1978.
- Seltzer, Isadore. The House I Live In: At Home in America. New York : Macmillan; Toronto; New York: Maxwell Macmillan, c1992.
- Thorne-Thomsen, Kathleen. Frank Lloyd Wright for Kids. Chicago: Chicago Review Press, c1994.