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Interpreters of the New Age

Grades 7 & 8 

2 Class Periods

Program Segments

  • A Legacy for the Future (approximately 5 minutes)
  • A Modern, Visionary Design (approximately 6 minutes)
Kleinhans' Gift to BuffaloA Legacy for the Future

Edward and Mary wish to use their wealth to leave a gift for future generations.

Interpreters of the New Age
1 / 2 Videos
A Legacy for the Future
Kleinhans' Gift to Buffalo
A Legacy for the Future
A Modern, Visionary Design
Kleinhans' Gift to Buffalo
A Modern, Visionary Design


Students will be able to:

  • Recognize architect team Eliel and Eero Saarinen’s designs.
  • Understand how architecture and public buildings can impact communities.


Instructional Resources


Kleinhans Music Hall under construction
Photo courtesy: Kleinhans Music Hall



  1. The teacher will begin the lesson by explaining that Buffalo, NY, is home to many buildings designed by significant architects such as Frank Lloyd Wright, Louis Sullivan, and H.H. Richardson. At the time of the planning for a new music hall in Buffalo, there were no modern concert halls in America. The teacher will explain that Kleinhans’ Gift to Buffalo tells the story of Kleinhans Music Hall in Buffalo.
  2. The students will watch the segment from Kleinhans' Gift to Buffalo on the father and son architect team, Eliel and Eero Saarinen.
  3. The teacher will start a brief classroom discussion about the decision to use the Saarinens as architects for the new music hall. Some prompting questions might be: Do you think it was a good idea to hire the Saarinens over a more traditional architect? How could that decision impact the community? What do you think of the style of Kleinhans Music Hall?
  4. The students will then be given some time to review the article on Eero Saarinen. Extra time can be given if they'd like to do more research on Eliel's work specifically.
  5. The students will then begin a drawing of a public community building (music hall, library, theater, etc.) in the style of the Saarinens. Students should think about designing a unique appearance for a community-shared space with a sleek and modern feel.



  1. Students will be given class time to finish their drawings.
  2. The students will be instructed to write two paragraphs to accompany their drawing, explaining how their proposed building will complement our community. They should give thought to and include in their writing how their design would make visitors feel.


Assessment Tasks 

  • Students will turn in a drawing and accompanying written description.


Extension Activities (optional) 

  • Students could do more research about another one of the Saarinen designs and write an essay on it.


Adaptations for Grades 9-12 

  • Students could construct 3-D models of their proposed buildings.
Kleinhans Music Hall exterior
Eileen Elibol