Introduction to Architecture: What Kids Should Know

Reference & EducationEducation

  • Author Ann Liu
  • Published September 25, 2023
  • Word count 664

Imagine looking up at a towering skyscraper, tracing the outline of a centuries-old cathedral, or marveling at a cozy cottage nestled in the woods. All around us, buildings and structures tell stories—of design, culture, and human ingenuity. For the budding young minds of today, understanding the basics of architecture offers a unique lens to view and interact with the world. Let's dive into what kids should know about this fascinating field.

What is Architecture?

Fundamentally, architecture merges the artistic and scientific realms to craft buildings and structures. Beyond mere construction materials, it focuses on shaping spaces for human interaction, dwelling, and activity. Architects skillfully intertwine inventive design with practicality, producing structures that captivate the eye while serving their intended function safely.

The History of Architecture: A Quick Glimpse

Introduce kids to the pyramids of Egypt, the grandeur of Greek temples, or the intricate carvings of Gothic cathedrals. Throughout history, different cultures and times have showcased distinct architectural styles. Understanding these styles helps us appreciate the evolution of design and the influence of culture, technology, and environment.

Basic Architectural Terms to Know

Blueprint: It's like a map for building! Blueprints are detailed drawings that show the design of a building from various views.

Facade: This is the front or the main face of a building.

Pillar vs. Column: While both provide support, pillars are typically square, and columns are round.

Arch: It’s a curved structure, often seen over doorways or windows, that distributes weight.

Introducing these terms early on gives kids a solid foundation to build upon as they delve deeper into architectural concepts.

How Does Nature Inspire Architecture?

Nature serves as a muse for countless architectural creations. Pose a question to children about whether they've noticed buildings resembling a seashell, a bloom, or perhaps a bird's abode. Such designs, often referred to as biomimicry, take cues directly from Mother Nature's playbook. Take, for instance, London's Gherkin, which adopts a design echoing wind patterns, optimizing its aerodynamic features.

Why Sustainability Matters in Modern Architecture

Modern architects extend their vision beyond mere aesthetics. They prioritize the environmental implications of their creations. Embracing sustainable architecture means employing environmentally conscious materials, optimizing natural illumination, and integrating eco-friendly elements such as green rooftops. The younger generation must recognize that architecture goes beyond mere aesthetics; it's about building a symbiotic bond with our planet.

Exploring Different Types of Buildings

From skyscrapers that touch the clouds to underground homes built into hillsides, the variety in architectural designs is vast. Let kids explore different types of buildings:

Residential: Homes and apartments where people live.

Commercial: Office buildings, shopping malls, and stores.

Industrial: Factories and warehouses.

Recreational: Theatres, stadiums, and amusement parks.

Architecture Around the World

Highlight the diversity of architectural styles around the world. Kids can discover the pagodas of Japan, the colorful homes of Burano, Italy, or the futuristic skyline of Dubai. This not only widens their architectural horizons but also fosters appreciation for global cultures.

Encouraging Hands-on Exploration

Give kids tools to explore architecture hands-on. Simple activities can include:

Sketching: Allow kids to draw their dream home or a futuristic city.

Building: Use blocks, Lego, or even cardboard to create structures.

Virtual Tours: With technology at our fingertips, take kids on virtual tours of iconic buildings worldwide.

Real-life Architects: Role Models to Inspire

Highlight renowned architects like Zaha Hadid, Frank Lloyd Wright, or I.M. Pei. Learn about their signature styles and their contributions to the world of architecture. By studying their journeys, kids can find inspiration and perhaps envision a future in the field themselves.


Architecture is everywhere—encompassing the homes we live in, the offices we work in, and the iconic landmarks we admire. Introducing kids to this world opens their eyes to the magic around them and inspires creativity, curiosity, and a deeper appreciation for the built environment. As they embark on this architectural journey, who knows? We might just be nurturing the next generation of visionaries who will shape our cities and skylines.

For parents and educators looking for a structured way to introduce children to the mesmerizing world of fantasy in art and architecture, The Drawing Mint - Art + Architecture for Kids Program is a beacon. This program doesn’t just show kids pictures of fairy-tale castles; it immerses them in the rich history, stories, and techniques behind each structure and artwork.

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