Free learning resources from arts, cultural and heritage organisations.

Buildings and Architecture

"All architecture is shelter, all great architecture is the design of space that cuddles, exalts or stimulates the person in that space".

   Phillip Johnson, Architect

Architecture is the process of planning, designing, and creating buildings. Architecture is all around you. The architecture of a city like Leeds shows how culture, history and society has changed over time. Many architects have influenced the way that Leeds looks today.

When exploring architectre we need to think critically: the people in power shape the landscape and buildings round them. All the historical architects who designed the city of Leeds are white men. All those who funded historical buildings are white men. This is changing now with contemporary architects practices in the city. Use this as a starting point to discuss power and multiple or ‘hidden’ histories.

Contemporary photograph of the outside of the Corn Exchange, which is a round shaped building with a domed roof.
Leeds Corn Exchange

Architecture is unique to human beings. No other living organism can plan, construct, inhabit and adapt three dimensional structures in the way that humans can.

A well designed building has three design quality tests:

Functionality – Does the building do its job? Is it easy to use and get around? Are the room sizes right and arranged well?

Build quality – Is it made well? Are the right materials used? Is it environmentally friendly? Is it sustainably designed? Does it feel healthy and safe? Is the light and air quality good?

Impact – Does it look and feel good? Does it have its own character and personality? Do the materials and shape add to the quality? Do you like being inside the building? Does it fit well within the community and other surroundings?

Contemporary photograph of a large, symmetrical brick building, with five windows on either side of the imposing doorway.
The Tetley, Leeds