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Elbert Hubbard: An American Original - WNED | PBS

For Educators

Arts and Crafts Architecture


The buildings on the Roycroft Campus make it clear that the style of Elbert Hubbard was that of a combination of original British Arts and Crafts aesthetic along with an American Arts and Crafts influence. Later, Hubbard’s meeting of architect Frank Lloyd Wright became evident by the addition of buildings with a Prairie-style appearance. Many say this merge of styles is what the true Elbert Hubbard was all about. The Roycroft Campus became the heart of a very productive community. The visual and structural setting may just have inspired that high productivity. This lesson allows students to think about Roycroft interior and exterior features and how they may have affected the community’s success.


Students will:
  • Identify elements of British Arts and Crafts style architecture among Roycroft campus buildings and others
  • Identify elements of Frank Lloyd Wright influenced architecture among Roycroft campus buildings and others
  • Create a visual representation (drawing) of a school building exterior
  • Create a three-dimensional model of a classroom or "workspace"
  • Students will present their design concept

Necessary Materials

  • Images of the Roycroft Campus
  • Images of Frank Lloyd Wright buildings
  • Architecture Elements handout
  • Computer for Internet usage
  • Art supplies

Relevant National Standards:
NSS-USH.5-12.6, NSS-USH.5-12.7, NA-VA.9-12.1, NA-VA.9-12.2, NA-VA.9-12.3, NA-VA.9-12.4, NA-VA.9-12.5

Teaching Procedure

Exterior Space Activity

Interior Space Activity

  • Share this information from Buffalo Organization for Social and Technological Innovation:

    "The workplace will…directly affect the behaviors of the people using it. If people are enabled to engage in the right behaviors, and enabled to be successful in completing the necessary tasks, then business success should follow. The workplace directly affects workplace behaviors, and the set of workplace behaviors directly affects the realization of business success factors."

    Using Office Design to Increase Productivity, Volumes I&II, 1985
    (Brill, M. with Margulis, S., Konar, E. and BOSTI, Using Office Design to Increase Productivity, Buffalo, NY: Workplace Design and Productivity, Vol. 1, 1984, Vol. 2, 1985.)

    Possible discussion questions:
    - How might the design and look, feel, aesthetic of a workspace impact work production? Do you think Hubbard thought about these things? Does Frank Lloyd Wright's style seem to accommodate the "worker" better? Why or why not?
    - Is your classroom/workspace designed in a manner that is conducive to learning/producing school work? Why or why not?
  • Working in groups of 3 or 4, students will think about their ideal workspace. Students will create a three-dimensional model of an interior space – either a classroom or a workspace that they think would allow for the highest productivity.
  • Some suggested materials to use are: foam core, tag board, balsa wood, or Styrofoam.
    Possible discussion questions:
    - Are you easily distracted? What motivates you? Be sure to take these things into consideration for your design.
  • Have students take this interactive quiz to find out what type of learner they are to help them with their designs. You may want to group like learners based on the quiz so that they are more likely to share design needs.

    Things to think about:
    • noise level
    • type of lighting (for example - natural vs. fluorescent)
    • how much and placement of lighting sources
    • temperature
    • windows – how many and where
    • furniture
    • wall and floor materials and/or coverings
    • decorative additions (plants, pictures)
  • A materials sample board should be created for the interior. This can include wall and floor coverings, lighting, furniture, and décor. The materials sample board items can be pictures cut from magazines, fabric, paint, wallpaper, flooring samples from home improvement stores that are mounted to illustration board. Students can alternatively present these items in other creative ways.
  • The student groups will share their three-dimensional interior models and give oral presentations of the concepts for their ideal classroom or workspace. Students should explain why they chose the design and features they did and why they would raise learning and work productivity.


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Funding for Elbert Hubbard: An American Original provided by The Margaret L. Wendt Foundation
Elbert Hubbard: An American Original is a production of WNED-TV