The Building Exploratory

3 people looking at a 3D map of London

The Building Exploratory is the only education and resource centre in the UK with an interactive exhibition exploring buildings and the built environment. It is unique in that many of the exhibits are made through art projects with local people.

Our exhibition is currently closed for re-development and will open in an exciting new home in 2012.

We also have a website at

Venue Type:

Architecture centre

Opening hours

The exhibition is currently closed. Please visit the following link for information on available workshops and events:

Admission charges


Exhibition charts the development of London, with a special focus on Hackney. Takes in ideas of finding sense of place, different housing styles and their implications, and how events such as bomb damage have shaped our built environment. There is a strong focus on interactivity and many of our exhibits have been made by local people.

Collection details

Archaeology, Architecture, Social History

Key artists and exhibits

  • The built environment, architecture centre, hackney, ww2 bomb damage, London
Resources listed here may include websites, bookable tours and workshops, books, loan boxes and more. You may need to scroll down or click on headers to see them all.


Brickfields is an educational website focused on Hackney, although we hope it will prove useful to anyone interested in learning about the history of London.
The Relics sections highlight interesting objects from our past displayed in London museums.
The Victorian Hackney and Homes Through Time include suggestions for further learning through worksheets and visits, and have interactive games reinforcing learning through fun.
The Kingsland Road Panorama section offers a taster of our interactive CD-ROM guide to this unique and ancient road, which can be ordered along with an accompanying walking guide.

How to obtain

Kingsland Road Panorama CD-ROM and walking guide are available from, price £7.

Digging Hackney - Y1-Y6

Students discover just how much archaeology can tell us about the way people lived in the past by becoming an archaeologist for the day! Have a go at a mock excavation - recording and describing exciting local finds.


  • The Building Exploratory.

How to obtain

Please call our Education Officers to book on 020 7729 2011. Workshops available on Wednesdays and Thursday, either from 10am to 12pm or 1pm to 3pm.

Religion and Place

Religion and Place in Tower Hamlets is a Building Exploratory Project with English Heritage and Arts Council England, celebrating 167 of Tower Hamlets' extraordinary places of worship.
Places of worship are often the most noticeable buildings in an area. People tend to feel strongly about them, whether they visit them regularly or not. Looking at religious buildings can help you to understand an area's distinctive local history.

How to obtain

To enquire about borrowing one of the 10 Faith Chests, or to obtain a free printed map and booklet celebrating the schools project, contact The Building Exploratory on 020 7729 2011 or email

The Building Exploratory
8 Orsman Road
Greater London
N1 5QJ


The Building Exploratory

Religion and Place


Places of Worship



020 7729 2011


020 7729 2367

All information is supplied by the venues or providers themselves and every effort is made to ensure it is correct. Please remember to double check opening hours with the venue concerned before making a special visit.

Related teaching activities

Key stage 2 geography, 1 lesson

Geographical enquiry and skills

Look at maps of your local area from the present day and a time in the past. Discuss how the built environment has changed over time.

Key stage 3 art and design, 1-2 lessons

2.1 Explore and create

Work in groups to make drawings and sketches of the rooms and external spaces at your school. Discuss the changes you would make if you were to create the ideal learning environment for students using the space in 2020.

Key stage 3 design and technology, Small project

1.3 Creativity

Imagine you have been asked to design a piece of public art to stand outside the new Building Exploratory that will open in 2012. Discuss the principles of good design and draw your own designs.

Key stage 3 English, 1 lesson

En3 Writing

Write a review of the website designed by Building Exploratory for its Religion and Place project so that audiences will be inspired to use the online resource.

Key stage 2 English, 1 lesson

En1 speaking and listening

One of the projects undertaken by the Building Exploratory was Hackney Hoardings Project where young people developed a piece of public art that aimed to enliven and celebrate the local area. In groups design a piece of art which you would make for your local area and agree a statement about what your art is trying to say.