Greek vs. Contemporary Architecture

A lesson plan by Pamela Reavley, Fairdale High School, Fairdale, KY

Subject: 10th – 12th Grade Humanities
Duration: 5 class periods

This lesson plan was one of the winners in a lesson plan contest sponsored by TeachersFirst in 2002. TeachersFirst editors have added technology options where appropriate.

Rationale The students will develop an appreciation for Greek Architecture. Furthermore, they will recognize the origin of much of the architecture of the 20th Century. By actually building a model of the columns and facade of the building, the students will have a better understanding of the elements of the differing styles of Greek and contemporary architecture.
Objectives Students will create products and make presentations that convey concepts and feelings. Through their productions and performances or interpretation, students show an understanding of the influence of time, place, personality, and society on the arts and humanities.

Students will recognize differences and commonalities in the human experience through their productions, performances, or interpretations.

Students will complete tasks, make presentations, and create models that demonstrate awareness of the diversity of forms, structures, and concepts across languages and how they may interrelate.
Materials Cardboard, heavy paper, glue, tape, architectural journals, list of web sites, and slides for presentation. See list of possible web resources below.

For this activity I also obtained several books on architecture and the Greeks for the students to utilize.
Procedure Day 1 - Teacher shows slides, PowerPoint, or web sites of the three Greek column styles and slides of various buildings constructed during the ancient Greek period of history. Students search through various books and web sites to aid in discussion of the architecture of both Ancient Greece and modern America.

If an interactive whiteboard is available, have students draw over the images to highlight features common to Greek and modern buildings. Use color coding to show elements that they have in common.

Day 2 - Teacher gives assignment to students. Working in groups of two, they will produce one each of the three Greek column styles. The students will also produce an architrave, frieze, and pediment with which to connect the three columns. Students may have the option to use digital imaging software or online tools to "create" the columns, but their images must show enough angles for viewers to understand the columns in 3D.

Day 3 - Students complete their construction.

Day 4 - Students search through recent architectural journals or online images for buildings with the ancient Greek style of column. They make a collage or electronic collection of 4-5 contemporary buildings exemplifying the Greek column.

Day 5 - Students present their work, construction and collage, to the class comparing and contrasting their findings. Students will demonstrate their findings to the class. If an interactive whiteboard is available, have students share their electronic products on the interactive whiteboard, inviting other students to annotate the images using pens as you did on Day 1.
Web Resources This is a limited list. Students should be encouraged to find their own as well.

Greek Revival information from Boston College's Digital Archive of American Architecture
Metropolitan Museum of Art's Timeline of Art History reviewed here by TeachersFirst
Photo Tour of the Ancient City of Athens reviewed here by TeachersFirst
Nations Illustrated- Greece

online drawing tools:
Sketchfu reviewed here
ProjectDraw reviewed here
Evaluation Column = 50 points
  • correct bases = 10
  • correct shafts = 10
  • correct capitols = 10
  • correct architrave & frieze = 10
  • correct pediment = 10

Construction must be true to the style being represented for credit.

Collage = 50 points
  • each illustration on collage = 10
  • presentation = 10

TOTAL = 100 points

More TeachersFirst resources for Ancient History; for Art