IELTS Vocabulary: Architecture and Buildings

IELTS Speaking or Writing Topic: Architecture and Buildings

You might be asked to speak or write about almost any topic. In this vocabulary series I want to give you some vocabulary for  the less-common topics — after all you can easily get word lists on the common areas (movies, environment, etc).

Architecture and buildings don’t come up too often, but when they do, you’ll be ready.



Don’t try to learn vast lists of vocabulary. Keep it short and simple. But make sure you know how to use the words in sentences. 


reinforced concrete; brick; steel and glass; stone; timber; a prefabricated building

an apartment building; a sky scraper; a high-rise apartment building; a flat; a tower; a bungalow; a cabin a studio; a slum dwelling; a ruin; a hovel; a historic building; a commercial building; a national monument; a public building


A hovel in the countryside.

Styles of Architecture
Classical; Medieval; Gothic; Renaissance; Art Deco; Modern; Post-Modern; Islamic. (These are all proper nouns, so use capital letters)

The Taj Mahal, India. An example of Islamic architecture featuring arches, domes, spires and minarets.

Idioms and phrases
an ugly monstrosity; an eyesore; a derelict warehouse.

pleasing geometric forms; a beautiful façade; an elegant structure; a radical design.

Buildings and the Environment
energy efficient; ecofriendly; it blends in with the surroundings.

Part of Buildings
roof; column; pillar; arch; balcony; terrace; steeple; spire; dome; cellar; basement; attic; loft; the access; a corrugated iron roof.

the blueprints; the building site; the foundations; the wiring; the plumbing.

Practice with these Speaking Part 1 questions:

  • Describe your neighbourhood.
  • What kind of house do you live in?
  • Are there any monuments in your hometown?
  • Do you like to visit historical buildings?
  • Have you ever visited a famous structure?
  • What are the landmarks in your hometown?

About Paul Davey

I’m Paul from Bristol, England. I am an IELTS tutor available for face-to-face classes in Taipei and Skype classes anywhere in the world. I'm based in Yonghe, New Taipei City — very close to Taipei. I have been teaching for many years and I am good at it. I’m patient and never tire of correcting students’ mistakes. I know many good ways for students to learn quickly and make a lot of progress in a short time. You won’t be wasting your money. I especially know the difficulties faced by Chinese speakers, and I know how to overcome these difficulties. IELTS is my primary concern and over the years I have taught hundreds of students in the UK, Hong Kong, Taiwan, and other spots around the world. I know what the examiners look for and I know how to increase your band and get the grade you need to make your dream come true. I have been blogging about IELTS for about a decade. I started my first website in 2007, before beginning to blog at IELTS Tutor on the Hello UK website. Now I blog only at IELTS in Taiwan and Around the World. I majored in Environmental Sciences at the University of East Anglia, UK, graduating with a bachelor’s degree (2/1 with honours). I obtained my language-teaching qualification in 2006, which is accredited by the Royal College of Teachers. Before I began teaching, I worked in a software company in the UK, writing and selling software solutions. After teaching for many years I took a five-year break to run my own retailing business. Following that adventure, I returned to full-time teaching. For the last 11 years, I’ve been in Taiwan, where in addition to my IELTS work, I have taught corporate classes at Taipei Bank, Pfizer, and Chinese Petroleum Corporation (CPC, Taiwan). I have interests in many fields including travel, literature, science and history.
This entry was posted in Vocabulary. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s