Reviews /

100 Things To Know About Architecture

Authored by Lousie O'Brien
Illustrated by Dalia Adillon and Leanne Daphne Publisher
Published by Happy Yak

100 Things To Know About Architecture is the third in this series of books, 100 Things to Know About…, with one on art and another on inventions already published. I like the originality of this series, having 100 pages, each dedicated to an aspect of architecture, with approximately 100 words of information for each page. I was delighted to see this symmetry when I spotted it and think children will too. A great creative writing challenge to ask Upper KS2 children to similarly write about something in 100 words, perhaps even make their own class book on a different subject and create their own 100 Things to Know About book.

There were also other aspects of the layout of the book that I found interesting too, which are not that obvious when you take a first quick look through the book and this is certainly a book to dip into as well as read from cover to cover. Each page focuses on one aspect about architecture, so two per double spread and each pair offers the reader an opportunity to think about how they are both connected and contrasts. So, for example, the first two pages are village and skyscraper which is a good start for discussing links, differences and similarities. Some pages are quite playful too, like tent and pyramid. Whereas other pages lend themselves at times to springboard further research to find out more, such as the Guggenheim museum and Frank Gehry: one a building in New York by an American architect and the other a Canadian architect who designed another Guggenheim museum in Spain.

A great deal of variety and detail is covered which ranges from iconic buildings around the world such as the Sydney Opera House, famous architects, the history of architecture, different styles and movements of architecture such as Art Nouveau and Jeanne Gang and many different words associated with architecture, such as trapezoid to show how they are used in architectural designs. The illustrations are bright, colourful and clear and bring to life the building being described and are occasionally diagrammatic to explain the word of that page, such as energy.

There are also some pages that are really helpful in a good nonfiction picture book: a comprehensive glossary, a detailed index and list of all the buildings and architects featured in the book. Although I would have liked to have seen these listed in a clearer way, maybe across a whole page rather than in tiny font on half a page. There is also a double page at the end from the author, telling us what we can learn from architecture and design from the past to help future designers create environments that ‘help everyone share a more eco-friendly, fair and healthy world’. So, it really does give is a lot to think about our perceptions of what architecture is. A thoroughly fantastic book to discuss with KS2 readers and inspire future architects.