Recommended for ages 8 and up.
Learn about three popular architectural styles of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, then do a scavenger hunt using our online architecture slideshow to test your skills identifying them on actual buildings! Note: this activity is designed with flexibility so you can do it at home using our website, around your neighborhood, or at Green-Wood.
● New York State Learning Standards for the Visual Arts
■ Anchor Standard 11: Investigate ways that artistic work is influenced by societal, cultural, and historical context and in turn, how artistic ideas shape cultures past, present, and future.
■ Anchor Standard 7: Perceive and analyze artistic work.
■ Anchor Standard 1: Generate and conceptualize artistic ideas and work.
■ Anchor Standard 2: Organize and develop artistic ideas and work.
■ Anchor Standard 3: Refine and complete artistic work.
● Architecture at Green-Wood packet (download here)
● Green-Wood’s online monuments slideshow (or access to buildings in your neighborhood or at Green-Wood)
● Explain to your student(s) that today they’ll be learning about three popular architectural styles of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, then going on a virtual or actual scavenger hunt to identify different architectural features from these movements on real structures at Green-Wood. Finally, they’ll use their knowledge to design their own building using these unique styles.
● Explain that the styles they’ll be learning about are Gothic Revival, Egyptian Revival, and Classical Revival. Notice how they all have the term “revival” in them? Revival means bringing something back. That’s because they are all styles of architecture inspired by much older architectural styles that came back into fashion at the end of the eighteenth century.
● Why were people in the nineteenth century eager to make their buildings look like they were hundreds, even thousands of years older than they were? Many reasons! After the discovery of the ruins at Pompeii and Herculaneum in the 1740s, a passion for all things classical and ancient grew across Europe and spread to the British colonies and the new United States. In the later nineteenth century, Americans became nostalgic even for their own brief history and revived colonial styles. Classical architecture was also popular because of its association with the birth of democracy in Ancient Greece. Gothic Revival became popular specifically with churches; Americans, whose country and culture were young compared to Europe and other parts of the world, wanted to root themselves in tradition.
● Introduce students to the architecture at Green-Wood packet.
● Explain that Green-Wood is full of different types of architecture; our office buildings and entrances were designed in the latest styles between the 1830s and 1920s. Also, as a cemetery we contain many mausoleums, little stone houses for the dead that very wealthy people commissioned in the past and still do today. Other kinds of grave markers also contain architectural features that were popular in their eras. We call grave markers at Green-Wood “monuments.” Many of Green-Wood’s permanent residents hired the most famous and skilled architects to design their monuments according to the latest fashions. Our Cemetery is therefore a great place to see lots of different kinds of architecture all in one location.
● Start going through pages one, two, and three of the Architecture at Green-Wood packet. Read about the three architectural styles most popular at Green-Wood and learn about their specific features. Knowing about these features will help students identify other buildings in these same styles later.
● On page four of the packet, students have a chance to name and then find features of different architectural styles. They can do this in one of three ways:
o Visit Green-Wood and find them on our monuments and mausoleums.
o Walk their neighborhood to spot these features.
o Go online and explore Green-Wood’s monument masterpieces pages.
● Assuming students explore the monuments and mausoleums on Green-Wood’s website: discuss not only the architectural style of each monument, but also students’ opinions about them.
o How does each monument make them feel?
o What words would they use to describe each monument?
o What do they think each monument communicates about the person buried there?
● After doing the scavenger hunt and exploring monuments at Green-Wood or other buildings, turn to page five of the Architecture at Green-Wood packet. Now students can design their own building! Make sure they know they can use features from any (or all) of the three styles they have learned about. Not all buildings reflect only one style! Before they design, have them consider the purpose of their building. Government buildings are often influenced by Classical architecture because they hearken back to democracy’s earliest days. As we stated before, many churches of the nineteenth century were modelled on Gothic churches from Europe in the twelfth to sixteenth centuries. Egyptian Revival mausoleums at Green-Wood are often shaped like pyramids, like the tombs of ancient pharaohs. Students should consider what they want people to think about as they look at or use the building they are about to design.
After your visit:
● After students design their building and answer questions, discuss their answers with them. Then share a pic of their work with Green-Wood on social media! Use the hashtag #GreenWoodIsMyClassroom.