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Art & Architecture Activities

Call 412-471-5808, ext. 537 for complete project instructions.

Gargoyle Masks

Cut a strip of construction paper and fit it around a person’s head. Cut out eyeholes. Take the mask off and decorate it with strips of paper: fold, tear, crinkle, roll, curl, or score strips of paper to make the features of a gargoyle you imagine. Wear your mask or tape it to the wall.

Paper-Bag Buildings

Buy a 30-gallon paper bag, cut out holes for your head and arms, and decorate your bag to look like a building you know or imagine. Use string, aluminum foil, construction paper, magic markers, or colored tape to create the building surface, doors, windows, and ornamental details. When you are done, wear your building proudly!

Bridge Building

Learn about basic structural principles by building a bridge out of corrugated cardboard, glue, cotton string, staples, brass fasteners, and masking tape. Decorate the bridge with paint, markers, crayons, or construction paper and judge it according to strength, ingenuity, use of color, and overall appearance.


Tape a piece of tracing paper to a gravestone or historic plaque and rub the side of a soft crayon across the paper. The crayon will pick up the letters or textures on the stone or plaque, revealing words or pictures.

Architectural Columns

Cut the ends of a cardboard tube to create a flat base and tape the base to a piece of cardboard. Then decorate your column with construction paper, markers, or crayons. Is it an Ionic, Doric, or Corinthian column?


Sketch inside your classroom, outside in the schoolyard, or while walking in your neighborhood. Roll up a piece of paper to help spy a building detail. Sketch simple objects for 30 seconds, then one minute. Sketch building details, then entire buildings. When you sketch a building: estimate the dimensions; fill in the basic shapes; add details; and identify, sign, and date your drawing.

Main Street Mural

Tape individual student drawings to a large sheet of butcher paper. To complete the mural, add drawings of street lights, trees, sidewalks, sculpture, parks, people, etc.

3-D City Mural

Collect boxes of all shapes and sizes. Cover them with paper and turn them into buildings, bridges, sports stadiums, restaurants, inclines, etc. Discuss how your city might be laid out. Then place the buildings on a large sheet of paper and sketch in major land features.

Someplace Special Books

Purchase a blank book and fill the pages with drawings, photographs, or postcards illustrating what you find interesting about Pittsburgh. Write your story in prose or verse.

Pop-Up and Paper Engineering

There are many techniques and variations. Call 412-471-5808, ext 537,  for instructions!

Pittsburgh History & Landmarks Foundation

100 West Station Square Drive, Suite 450

Pittsburgh, PA 15219

Phone: 412-471-5808  |  Fax: 412-471-1633