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Documenting Deco: K–12 Learning Program

Activity One: The Architecture of Deco

Since most students will not have a working knowledge of the Art Deco era, nor the features of Art Deco architecture, decoration or fashion, this lesson utilizes images, a PowerPoint presentation and group exercises to provide a basic knowledge, basic Art Deco vocabulary, and tools to recognize some of the most identifiable features of Art Deco architecture and design.

Materials provided in the activity one packet include:
  • Activity one lesson plan

  • Image of The Empire State Building

  • Image of Squibb building

  • Gallery Walk images

    • American Radiator Building, Manhattan

    • The Century Apartments, Manhattan

    • 1005 Jerome Avenue, The Bronx

    • 120 Wall Street, Manhattan

  • Noticing/Wondering Chart handout

  • Vocabulary of Art Deco Architecture handout

  • Photo Contest Overview handout

  • Ticket Out handout

Please note, the images listed above appear in the same order within the packet.

Additional downloadable materials include:
  • What Makes a Building Art Deco? PowerPoint by ADSNY

  • The presentation can be previewed to the right but it must be downloaded for full user experience.

Optional videos that may be helpful with this lesson:

  • What is Art Deco? by The Culture Concept Circle

  • Art Deco Makes New York City Great by Alan G. Wasenius

Both of these videos can be viewed below and are helpful additions to this lesson. ​If time allows, we suggest playing one of the videos before the Gallery walk exercise to get students thinking about architecture and design. 


The Documenting Deco Educational Program is provided with funding and support provided by:


This educational program would not have happened without the assistance of many individuals who contributed their time, talents, and knowledge to make it possible. Many thanks to architect and photographer Richard Berenholtz, who inspired Documenting Deco and shares his vast experience with students participating in the program; Judith Spokony, who brings more than thirty years as a New York City educator to creating the teaching guide and student materials; television producer Pamela Kawi who has contributed her talents overseeing all our media; Damian Cavalo for videotaping Richard Berenholtz’s interview; Sandra Tansky for her careful editing and helpful suggestions; Meghan Weatherby, ADSNY’s Executive Director, for her extensive design skills, knowledge of Art Deco and endless patience spending countless hours designing all elements of the final print and online components of program; and Christine Stoddard for her exceptional development and implementation of this program.


Many thanks to the instructors and administrators, for bringing this program to your students. We welcome your suggestions as we expand the program to more schools in the coming year.

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