Ib Extended Essay Architecture

Selecting a topic
Tips from the May 2012 Examiner's Report: 
Some EE’s were well-focused on the Visual Arts and carried special meaning for the candidate either in relation to a future program (e.g., the study of architecture), or for a current artistic reason, e.g. related personal studio pursuits. It was good to see some candidates steering away from well-worn topics. If one is going to write yet another essay on Frida Kahlo, Andy Warhol, Banksy, the Impressionists, etc., it is helpful to uncover something new, or to take issue with some existing scholarship and challenge conventional views. Local topics remain a good choice, especially in the area of architecture, or where one is able to visit a museum, gallery, view public art or meet with a significant artist or craftsperson. As one examiner stated, the number of candidates who write about an artist’s work without ever having seen a piece “in the flesh” is amazing. 

Forming a Good Research Question
Topic: Cultural influences on Pablo Picasso’s work
Research question: Picasso: individual genius or cultural thief?
Approach: An investigation of the extent to which selected images in Picasso’s work may have been appropriated from other cultural sources.

Topic: The influence of Renaissance architecture in Montreal
Research question: Cathédrale Marie-Reine-du-Monde, Montreal: a replica of St Peter’s, Rome?
Approach: An original investigation into the stylistic similarities in the architecture of these two buildings.

Topic: The impact of immigration on an artist’s work
Research question: What is the impact of transcultural experience on the art of Gu Xiong?
Approach: An investigation into the effects of migration on a selected artist’s work.
--From IB EE Syllabus
More Examples
Is the use of shock tactics a legitimate contemporary strategy? 
To what extent has the design of Federation square been a success? 
Can Luc Tuymans be classified as a political painter? 
Borrowing Culture: The Appropriateness of Picasso's Use of the Mbangu Mask in 'Les Demoiselles d'Avignon'

May 2012 Extended Essays Report
EE syllabus
The VAs Extended Essay is: 
  • a research paper
  • well focused on the Visual Arts
  • guided by a well-formed research question (stated in the form of a question or hypothesis)
  • a reasoned argument
The Extended Essay is NOT: 
  • a descriptive narrative
  • a regurgitation of facts
  • a "topic" report
Assessment Criteria
A: research question /2
B: introduction /2
C: investigation /4
D: knowledge and understanding of the topic studied /4
E: reasoned argument /4
F: application of analytical and evaluative skills appropriate to the subject /4
G: use of language appropriate to the subject /4
H: conclusion /2
I: formal presentation /4
J: abstract /2
K: holistic judgment /4
Total /38
Interpreting the assessment criteria

Recent Examiner's Reports
Titles of some higher scoring essays from the May 2012 session included: 
  • How were Sir Richard Rogers and Renzo Piano influenced by the Maison de Verre designed by Pierre Chareau in their design and construction of the Centre Pompidou in Paris? 
  • To what extent is Grady Gerbracht’s assertion that the role of an artist is: “to become the embodiment of a person, a citizen, a metaphor” particularly embodied in interactive artworks? 
  • A comparison of Darren Aronofsky’s works “Black Swan” and “Requiem for a Dream.” How does Aronofsky successfully employ film techniques and devices to engage the audience?
  • The painter, the model and the viewer: an investigation into the iconography and use of art elements in Velazquez’s original “Las Meninas” and Pablo Picasso’s first variation of the work. 
  • The London of John Nash: To what extent do the technical and aesthetic elements of John Nash’s master plan continue to provide functionality within the infrastructure of central London. 
  • Painting the head: a narrative journey into Basquiat’s universe. Why has Basquiat’s head of 1981 become his most celebrated painting? 
  • How has Gunmar Asplund contributed to the architectural landscape of Stockholm in the 20th century? 
  • The sculptures of Dennis Oppenheim: a conceptual genius or attention-seeking examples of contemporary artwork in modern societies. 
“How did Wassily Kandinsky use colour?”

“An analysis of African influences on Henry Moore”

“What is the artistic significance of recent poles raised by the First Nations of Haida-Gwai?”

“Klimt’s use of gold”

“Robert Ntila’s etching techniques: a critical investigation”
“The Bauhaus”.

“20th-century British sculpture”. 

The art of Native North American people”.  

“Sezession in Berlin”. 

“Contemporary East African art”.
Research Tips
Search Engines and Databases

Primary Sources
  • Viewing artworks in person
  • Art spaces
  • Interviews with artists
  • Interviews with curators, critics, historians

Secondary Sources
  • Websites
  • Journals/ periodicals
  • Books
Academic Honesty
Style Guide


An extended essay is a 4,000-word research paper usually completed as a requirement for undergraduate. For undergraduate art students, universities and colleges usually require them to submit an art extended essay on a certain art topic on their area of specialty or concentration. Writing an extended essay about arts can be challenging due to the broad scope of topics and medium to discuss. The following article narrows down the things you need to consider in writing an extended essay in the field of arts.

If you want to find out the secrets of excellent computer science extended essay, click here.

Choose the Topic Wisely

Art is a very extensive topic to discuss in an essay. The first step is to choose a topic that interests you the most. Among the common topics for an art essay include but not limited to abstract design, architecture, personalized crafts, advertising, photography (portrait, landscape, macro, and digital), fashion, contemporary and classical arts, and sculpture.

In choosing art extended essay topics, it is important to pick the one, which is really close to your field of study. For example, if you are taking up Fine Arts Major in Digital Arts, you must choose the subject related to your field such as digital painting, digital photography, different mediums in digital art, and among others.

Setting Up the Main Idea

Once the topic was approved, you must be able to draft the main idea of your extended essay. The main idea is the focus of the essay – it is where everything will revolve. To set up the main idea, you can draft an outline and list down the major ideas you want to discuss. At the bottom of each idea, you can list down the supporting details and research that will support them. An outline also helps you organize your thoughts, allowing you to include only the things related to the topic. It also restricts you to get overwhelmed and stumble with too many information you come across with.

Researching Related Ideas

Start your research once the draft is done and all thoughts are laid out. Among the most common sources of information include published materials such as books and magazines, art exhibits, autobiographies, bibliographies, and online materials such as eBooks. When conducting a research, do not forget to take note of the sources to cite for supporting details. Citing your sources also provides a stronger position for your extended essay.

The Act of Writing

Once all materials are ready, you can now start the actual writing. You do not have to worry delivering a perfect extended essay on the first draft because nobody does. An amazing essay is not written overnight. It is a product of series of revisions, solid research materials and other supporting documents to solidify the topic idea. For example, if you are writing extended essay visual arts, you have to gather as many written materials about visual arts and the artists who became prominent in this medium. You will also have to write about the materials that those artists used in delivering beautiful and perfect visual art masterpieces.

It is also important to let someone read and criticize your work, additional extended essay help is always good. A different set of eyes will allow you to see the flaws, inconsistencies, weaknesses of the essay you have written. Note the remarks and suggestions of your editor and consider the revisions being made to polish your work. You can check for the validity of the remarks and question them objectively.

After incorporating the changes and edit suggestions of your trusted reviewer, read your material again and you will be relieved with the positive changes that happened to your work. If you feel like another round of review is needed, feel free to ask your professor or mentor to review it before submitting it to the panel.

Write an art extended essay today!

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