Your Neighbourhood

Project summary

Your Neighbourhood

This project was created in connection with the Architecture in Schools project led by Open City and supported by Canary Wharf Group. It is designed to be used either in the classroom or at home. Perfect for Key Stage 2 pupils!

In this project pupils have the opportunity to research their local areas, plan and explain the elements that they would like to add to their area and build a model in response. 

This project steps can be done individually or as a complete project. 

Lesson 1: Explore

Lesson 2: Experiment

Lesson 3: Design

Lesson 4: Make 

Learning objectives

  • To develop an understanding of architecture and design. 
  • To see how architecture affects daily lives and consider the impact on how people use and interact with an area. 
  • To develop design skills and research skills.


Architecture is an area of learning that children are exposed to in the early years, through their indoor and outdoor play and by exploring local streets, their own home, parks and playgrounds. Learning how our cities are designed and made, and the way they are shaped and adapted involves looking across the curriculum, as well as focusing on core subjects. 

This project is relevant to the following National Curriculum subjects:

  • Design and Technology 
  • Art
  • Geography
  • Literacy
  • Maths

Lesson 1:

  • This activity will take 1 hour

You will need: 

  • Word Definitions Fact Sheet (download below)
  • London’s Building Fact Sheet (download below)
  • Pen or pencil
  • Paper
  • Colouring pens and pencils
  • Mobile phone camera

Setting the Scene

An architect designs buildings and places. You are the architect and you have been given a brief, a list of instructions, to redesign a building in your neighbourhood and create a model of your building. 

Let’s first understand what an architect does and take a look at some of London’s iconic buildings.

What is Architecture?

Do some research to learn more about architecture:

Watch this BBC Video about being an architect. A collection of the best contemporary architecture, visualisation, sketches, future architecture and students’ projects from all over the world. The Drawing Matter Collection has been assembled over the last 21 years and focuses on architectural drawings as works of exploration and discovery, particularly through sketches, sketchbooks, models, study and presentation drawings. 

Now, write down what you think an architect does.

Extension: Choose an architect and write a fact sheet about them and the buildings they have designed. Explain why you have chosen this architect.

Now, download the activity sheets to get started!

Lesson 2: Experimenting

  • This activity will take 1 hour

You will need:

  • Pen
  • Paper

Setting the Scene

Now it is time to start thinking like an architect. Check out our Top Tips section ‘Think like an architect’, and learn about all the things that architects think about when designing a building. Have a go at drawing like an architect. 

Step 1

A Plan view is a bird’s eye view from above – like cutting the roof off the building and looking down into the rooms.

Draw a plan view of the room you are in. 

Step 2

An Elevation view is like looking at the one side of the building from the outside.

Draw an elevation view of the building you live in from the outside.

Step 3

A section view is like a slice through the building. Draw a section drawing of the room you are in.

Now, download the activity sheets to get started!

Lesson 3: Design

  • This activity will take 1 hour

You will need:

  • Pen
  • Paper

Setting the Scene

Now it is time to design your building. 

Take your notes and drawings of the building you are going to redesign.

Step 1:

Think about the function of your building. Does it have one use or many uses?

Write down all the uses.

What are the main features of your building? Write down all the features.

Step 2:

Draw an elevation plan of your new building and label the key features.

Now, download the activity sheet to get started!

Lesson 4: Make

  • This activity will take 2 hours

You will need:

  • Fact sheet (download below)
  • No need to buy stuff, be creative and see what you can find around your home and in the recycling.
  • Other tools: pencil, glue, scissor, skewers, ruler, tape
  • Optional: paint, coloured pencils

Setting the Scene

By now you will have gathered all the information you need about your building and it is time to create your model. 

Before you start you will need to assemble all your building materials.

Cardboard – for walls, roofs, floors (flattened cereal packets, delivery boxes etc).

Plastic – for windows, glass door panels (fruit containers, biscuit packets)

Coloured and textured paper – for details (old magazines, wrapping paper, silver foil)

Collect more than you need – sometimes things don’t go quite to plan and sometimes we discover exciting things in the making process through trial and error.

Tip: keep a box for interesting scraps of paper and materials for future projects. 

Now, download the activity sheets to get started!

This activity was supported by Canary Wharf Group.

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