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Your Dream House

The largest percentage of most people's incomes goes toward keeping a roof over their heads, yet how many people every think of themselves as consumers of architecture? How many people ever think of architecture at all unless that roof leaks? In this activity, students will begin to think about what they might like in a place to live, then go out to find it or design it!


bullet Ask students to think about their own houses or apartments.

  • What are their favorite things about their houses?

  • What would they like to change?

  • What if they could go shopping for a house of their own?

  • Would they want to build a brand-new house or would they shop for an older house? What are the advantages of each?

bullet Assign or let students choose one of these options:

  • Shop for a dream house: Research neighborhoods in the Pittsburgh region to find a place that fits your lifestyle. If possible visit the neighborhood to go "house-hunting." When you find a house you would like to live in (it doesn't have to be for sale!) draw or photograph it and write a real estate ad that would get you to buy it. [Note to teachers: you may wish to limit the area of the hunt to a range your students can reasonable cover on their own.]

  • Design a dream house: Research neighborhoods in the Pittsburgh region to find a place where you would like to build a house. If possible, visit the neighborhood and pick a building site. Design your house to fit the site and draw a floor plan and front elevation to scale.

"Design a Dream House" can be easily simplified as low kindergarten level. For older students, extend this activity into a math-lifeskills exercise by having them research and compare the actual costs of building or buying a house, then make a budget for buying and maintaining a house.

Photos and drawings: Pittsburgh History & Landmarks


Elementary house drawing
Pittsburgh History & Landmarks

Vintondale street
Susan Donley

Washington's Landing street
Susan Donley

Schenley Farms
Pittsburgh History & Landmarks

Source: Adapted form material copyrighted in 1990 by Susan Donley. Used by permission.

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