Pathway: Be An Architect

Pathway for Years 1 & 2

Architecture, Drawing, Sketchbooks, Collage, Making

Key Concepts:

  • That architects design buildings and other structures which relate to our bodies and which enhance our environment. 

  • That architects take inspiration from the environment their building will exist in, and from the people they will serve, to design exciting structures. 

  • That we can use drawing as a way to help us process and understand other people’s work. 

  • That we can use digital tools such as drones and film to inspire us.

  • That we can use our imaginations to make architectural models to explore how we might design buildings relating to a particular need or stimulus.

  • That we can use “Design Through Making” (some call it Make First) as a way to connect our imagination, hands and materials. 

This pathway gives pupils the opportunity to explore architecture. We start with an exploration of architects and some of the ways they work, and pupils then go on to create their own architectural model. 

The pathway can be adapted so that the pupils make architecture which relates to their own environment, a chosen brief, or in response to another culture, country or era. 

Habitat, Community, Culture, Purpose

Construction Materials

Hundertwasser, Zaha Hadid, Heatherwick Studios

This pathway will take approximately half a term, based upon a weekly art lesson. 

If you use this resource in your setting, please tag us on social media: #InspiredBy @accessart (facebook, twitter) (instagram) and share the url. Thank you!

Be an Architect!
My front porch - building with strips of corrugated cardboard
Anglo Saxon Building
ages 5-8

Teaching Notes

Please find the CPD session recording of the Be An Architect pathway here.

Curriculum Links

Geography: Adapt to explore habitats, cities, towns and villages, ports & harbours.

History: Make houses inspired by the architecture of different ages or cultures, for example buildings damaged during the Great Fire of London.

Maths: Use language which supports understanding of Measuring, 2D/3D shapes.

Science: Explore properties of materials e.g. make your architecture waterproof, rough, smooth?

PSHE: Collaboration, Peer Discussion, Ethnic Identity, Different Religions (architecture representative of).

I Can:

  • I have explored the work of some architects. I have seen that they design buildings, and that “architecture” can be large, incredible buildings, or smaller places near where I live.

  • I can share how architecture makes me feel, what I like and what I think is interesting.

  • I can use my sketchbook to help me look at architecture really carefully. I have used drawings and notes. I have explored line and shape. 

  • I have seen how architects use their imaginations to try to design buildings which make people’s lives better and I can use my own imagination when thinking about architecture I might design.

  • I can make an architectural model of a building around a theme thinking about form, structure and balance, and the way the model looks.

  • I can explore a variety of materials and explore how I can reshape the materials and fasten them together to make my model. 

  • I have seen that I don’t need to design on paper first; that I can design as I make. 

  • I have reflected upon what I have made, shared it with others, and been able to share my thoughts about my own piece and the models of my classmates. 

  • I can used digital media to document my work, including taking photographs and short videos.


This pathway takes 6 weeks, with an hour per week. Shorten or lengthen the suggested pathway according to time and experience. Follow the stages in green for a shorter pathway or less complex journey.


Soft B pencils, coloured pencils, felt tip pens, handwriting pens,

Construction Materials (see list here )


Pathway: Be An Architect

A PDF of this pathway can be found here.

  • Aims of the Pathway

    This pathway aims to introduce children to the idea that architects design and make buildings, and to give pupils the opportunity to explore architecture around them, and to create their own architectural models. 

  • Week 1: Introduce

    What Is Architecture?


    Use the free to access “Talking Points: Thinking about Architecture” resource to begin an exploration of architecture. 

    Create a conversation around more well known architecture and architecture in your local environment. What are the landmarks in your area – old or new?

  • Drawing to Aid Looking

    Explore & Draw

    Invite children to work in sketchbooks. Use the free to access “Drawing Source Material: Exploring Architecture” resource to inspire drawings using the pupil’s chosen drawing medium. We suggest using a handwriting pen, and challenging the pupils to make several drawings – perhaps taking no longer than 5 or 10 minutes each. Guide the children with your voice during the drawing session to the things you would like them to notice.

  • Week 2: Introducing an Artist

    Exploring the Work of Hundertwasser

    hundertwasser by twicepix

    Use the free to access “Talking Points: Hundertwasser the Architect” resource to introduce pupils to the work of an architect.

    Use the images and videos to frame a discussion around his work and enable the pupils to articulate their response.

  • Drawing to Aid Thinking

    Show Me What You See

    Use sketchbooks and the “Show Me What You See” method to help pupils with “Making Visual Notes” about what they see and think. They might use pen, pencil, coloured crayons, felt tips, to gather information and collect ideas as they see the images on the whiteboard. Make sure any notes they write can be single words (i.e. they don’t have to write full sentences). 

  • Weeks 3,4 & 5

    Making Architecture

    Street view!

    Use the “Be An Architect” resource to enable pupils to create their own architectural inventions. 

    Provide plenty of materials and try to use the “Design Through Making” approach. 

    Take your time with the making and give children time to start to understand what different materials can do for them, and how they can manipulate materials and fasten them together. 

    Remember children are not making pieces of architecture “in the style of” an artist or architect. Instead, they are making their own work, though they will have their minds opened by looking at the work of other creative practitioners.

    Encourage children to be inventive about what kinds of shapes and structure they use and which three dimensional forms they want to create. How will their pieces of architect stand? What is their purpose? Who are they for?

    Be an Architect!

    Encourage the use of colour/coloured materials to further develop the pieces, and have sketchbooks open on desks and encourage children to reference them and add to them. 

    Inspired by Anglo Saxon architecture

    Link the project to architecture from other cultures, countries and eras if you would like to link it to other curriculum areas.

    Or, if you would like children to make pieces of architecture more relevant to their local community, think about how you can bring in images or visits of local areas as a backdrop to their work. (see “You May Also Like” below for more resources to help this).

  • Interventions

    Use one or more of the following “interventions” if you feel children need more stimulation. 

  • Intervention 1

    Being Imaginative

    Bridge Design

    Use the free to access “Talking Points: Bridge Design” resource to help children see how architecture can be almost anything. You may not want them to design bridges (though you may!) but talk about these bridge designs as a way to open their minds to be brave and use their imagination. 

  • Intervention 2

    Inspired by Drones

    Drone footage

    Use the free to access “Drawing Source Material: Drone Footage” resource to give children a fresh perspective on the world. Does it change how they think about their own designs? 

  • Week 6: Share & Celebrate

    Present, Reflect, Review

    My front porch - building with strips of corrugated cardboard

    Clean a space and present the finished architectural models next to the sketchbooks. Give all work the space it deserves and encourage children to walk around as if they were in a gallery – discussing the work with their partners before coming together as a class. Use the “Class Crit” resource to help. 

    Invite children to take photographs or films of their architectural models. Encourage them to really get down on eye level with their models to create interesting images, and use windows and doors as viewpoints. You might also like them to use lighting (torches) to create shadows. 

    Explore how children can take high quality photographs of 3d artwork with this resource.

See This Pathway Used In Schools

Year 2, Ruth at Carden Primary School, Brighton
Year 2, Ruth at Carden Primary School, Brighton
Year 2, Ruth at Carden Primary School, Brighton
Year 2, Ruth at Carden Primary School, Brighton

If You Use AccessArt Resources…
You might like to…

Join our Facebook Group

Join the AccessArt Network group on Facebook and ask questions of others using our resources

Join the AccessArt Network group on Facebook and ask questions of others using our resources

Share and Tag

Share photos of work made by tagging us on social media

Share photos of work made by tagging us on social media

You May Also Like…

Anglo Saxon Architecture

Making Architecture Inspired by Anglo Saxon Architecture

Making Architecture Inspired by Anglo Saxon Architecture

Houses from Around the World

Drawing and Collaging

Drawing and Collaging

My House

A Cardboard Construction Project

A Cardboard Construction Project

Ink & Foamboard Architecture

Exploring Colour and Form

Exploring Colour and Form