Art | Introduction

Make Your Mark: Design with a Purpose

Vanna Venturi House


Students will design a new building for their community, explaining how their ideas influenced their artistic decisions. The Vanna Venturi House provides a case study of how one architect designed with a purpose, demonstrating how design decisions can be evidence of the architect’s intentions.

Grades: 6-12
Time: 3 class sessions, plus optional independent student work

Standards & Objectives

This lesson addresses selected standards from the McRel Visual Arts Standards. These can be found in the section titled “Art Standards

In addition to the Visual Arts Standards, students will be able to:

  • Identify Venturi’s design intentions for the Vanna Venturi House
  • Understand the general process of design for architects

Teach This Lesson

Preparation and resources for teaching this lesson are found in the section titled “Art Preparation and Resources.”

Instructions for teaching this lesson are found in the section titled “Art Instruction.”

Interdisciplinary Connections

The PBS television program, 10 Buildings that Changed America, provides lesson plans in four additional subjects: English Language Arts, Mathematics, Science, and Social Studies. All five lessons are combined in an interdisciplinary unit: One Building to Change My Community.

This Art lesson can be paired with another 10 Buildings that Changed America lesson plan to create interdisciplinary connections.

  • English Language Arts: After researching how historic buildings have influenced communities and culture, students should consider positive and negative impacts of the buildings they design in the Art lesson.
  • Mathematics: After understanding how to properly draw a building at a particular scale, students should think about using this as a way to draw the buildings they design in the Art lesson.
  • Science: After experimenting with different ways to build a curved structure, students can apply this knowledge to their design in the Art lesson to make a model.
  • Social Studies: The built structure proposed in the Social Studies unit can become the building designed and modeled in the Art unit. Students can set their design intentions to be similar to the expected outcome of their Social Studies proposal, and determine their design strategy so that their expected outcome is more realistic.