Study Room resource: Designing pattern

Introducing students to original drawings in the Prints & Drawings Study Room is an inspiring and vivid way to interest them in architecture and architectural design processes.

The Designing Pattern resource box contains a selection of drawings which range in date from the 1830s to the 1940s. They show the interior and exterior decoration of Classical and Egyptian Revival buildings, Indian monuments and plans for modern buildings. The box also includes pattern designs made by Owen Jones for his publication The Grammar of Ornament (1856). Jones sourced these patterns from diverse non-western and western cultures and developed his designs during a period of travel in the 1850s.

Teachers' notes

When booking your visit to the Prints & Drawings Study Room, also pre-book the Designing Pattern resource box. The objects from the box will be put on display for you to look at when you arrive. The notes below will help you to explain the drawings to your students. You might choose to examine some as a group, before allowing students to look independently. The drawings show a diverse range of design processes which you could encourage students to try out at school/college.

Download: Designing pattern study room resource box teachers' notes (PDF file, 493 KB)

The objects are unique and often fragile items, so please ensure that your students follow these instructions:

  • Coats and bags must be left in the Sackler Centre Lockers or Museum cloakrooms before you visit the Prints & Drawings Study Room.
  • Pencils only can be used in the Prints & Drawings Study Room.
  • Move carefully around the room, ensuring students don’t jog tables, chairs or lean on items
  • Take care not to sneeze or cough over the works
Key Questions

Encourage the students to consider some of the following questions before reading the notes on each drawing:
The artist or architects’ intentions:

  • What do you think were the artist or architect’s aims and intentions?
  • Can you find out who the image is for?
Analysing the image
  • Where can you see pattern in the drawing? On which part of the building does it feature? e.g. interior or exterior, doorway, chimney.
  • Is it structural (helps support the building) or decorative (surface decoration)?
  • What different types of pattern can you identify? e.g. rotating, reflecting, tessellating
  • What shapes or motifs have been used? Are they abstract or figurative?
  • Does the pattern convey any symbolism, messages or meanings?
Personal responses
  • Do you think this pattern would improve the design of a building or not?
  • Have you seen any other buildings or designs that use patterns like these?

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