Have you ever been to another country? Even if you’ve just traveled to another city or another state, you might have noticed that wherever you go the buildings all look different. Some look modern, some were built thousands of years ago. Some are made of wood, others from brick or steel.
No matter what a building looks like or what it was made out of, someone had to plan it out first. They had to design the building, decide what materials to use, and make sure that it would be strong enough to withstand the elements.
Architecture is the art or practice of designing and constructing buildings, and a person who does that is called an architect. Architects have come up with some pretty amazing buildings. Let’s talk about the history and architects behind three famous buildings and structures from around the world and then build models of them!
Empire State Building
Located in New York City, New York in the United States, the Empire State Building is a 1,254 foot tall skyscraper. It has 102 floors that are mostly used as offices. The architects who designed and planned the building were William F. Lamb, Arthur Loomis Harmon, Yasuo Matsui, and Gregory Johnson. They started constructing the Empire State Building in 1930 and finished in 1931. At the time of its completion, it was the tallest building in the world. It is called the Empire State Building because “Empire State” is the nickname of the state of New York.
Fun fact: They have a race every year to see who can run up the stairs to the 86th floor the fastest! (That’s 1,576 steps!)
Pyramids of Giza
The Pyramids of Giza were built approximately 4,500 years ago in Egypt. They are masonry structures, meaning they are built from many individual bricks or stones. The Pyramids of Giza were built as tombs where the pharaohs were mummified and laid to rest after they died. Of the three Pyramids of Giza, the Pyramid of Khufu is the largest at 481 feet tall. The Pyramid of Khufu is the last of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World that is still in existence today. With all of the impressive ancient engineering, scientists still aren’t sure how the Egyptians managed to build the pyramids!
Built in Paris, France, the Eiffel Tower is one of the most recognizable buildings in the world. It is a wrought-iron lattice tower and stands at 1,063 feet tall, making it the tallest structure in Paris. It is named after Gustav Eiffel, whose company designed and built the tower, but the design is credited to Maurice Koechlin and Émile Nouguier. The tower was constructed from 1887-1889 as part of the 1889 World’s Fair. There are three levels for visitors, with restaurants, observation decks, and gift shops. It was only supposed to remain standing for 20 years, but the city of Paris decided not to destroy it and it still stands today.
It’s fascinating to study architecture from around the world. These are just three famous buildings, but there are so many more amazing places to see and learn about.
We built models of these famous buildings using toothpicks and clay! To follow along with our engineering activity, watch the video instructions here. This STEM project is so easy to replicate at home. Once you’ve made the Empire State Building, Pyramids, and Eiffel Tower, try making other famous buildings - or even your own house!
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