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ARCHITECTURE – Reaching For The Sky: Reading Answers

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Cambridge Academic Reading Test 1 – Passage 03: ARCHITECTURE – Reaching for the Sky with answers location and pdf summary. This reading paragraph has been taken from our huge collection of Academic & General Training (GT) Reading practice test PDF’s.

IELTS reading module focuses on evaluating a candidate’s comprehension skills and ability to understand English. This is done by testing the reading proficiency through questions based on different structures and paragraphs (500-950 words each). There are 40 questions in total and hence it becomes extremely important to practice each and every question structure before actually sitting for the exam.

This reading passage mainly consists of following types of questions:

  • Match the following
  • Fill in the blanks

We are going to read about the concept of Architecture and some world famous architects. You must read the passage carefully and try to answer all questions correctly. 

ARCHITECTURE – Reaching for the Sky

Architecture is the craftsmanship and study of planning structures and designs. A structure mirrors the logical and mechanical accomplishments of the age just as the thoughts and goals of the fashioner and customer. The presence of individual structures, in any case, is often controversial.

The utilization of a building style can’t be said to begin or complete on a particular date. Nor is it conceivable to say precisely what describes a specific development. Be that as it may, the starting points of what is presently commonly known as modern architecture can be followed back to the social and innovative changes of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.

Instead of using timber, stone and traditional building techniques, architects began to explore ways of creating buildings by using the latest technology and materials such as steel, glass and concrete strengthened steel bars, known as reinforced concrete. Technological advances also helped bring about the decline of rural industries and an increase in urban populations as people moved to the towns to work in the new factories. Such rapid and uncontrolled growth helped to turn parts of cities into slums.

By the 1920s architects throughout Europe were reacting against the conditions created by industrialisation. A new style of architecture emerged to reflect more idealistic notions for the future. It was made possible by new materials and construction techniques and was known as Modernism.

By the 1930s many buildings emerging from this movement were designed in the International Style. This was largely characterised by the bold use of new materials and simple, geometric forms, often with white walls supported by stilt like pillars. These were stripped of unnecessary decoration that would detract from their primary purpose — to be used or lived in.

Walter Gropius, Charles Jeanneret (better known as Le Corbusier) and Ludwig Mies van der Rohe were among the most influential of the many architects who contributed to the development of Modernism in the first half of the century. But the economic depression of the 1930s and the second world war (193945) prevented their ideas from being widely realised until the economic conditions improved and wartorn cities had to be rebuilt. By the 1950s, the International Style had developed into a universal approach to building, which standardised the appearance of new buildings in cities across the world.

Unfortunately, this Modernist interest in geometric simplicity and function became exploited for profit. The rediscovery of quickandeasytohandle reinforced concrete and an improved ability to prefabricate building sections meant that builders could meet the budgets of commissioning authorities and handle a renewed demand for development quickly and cheaply. But this led to many badly designed buildings, which discredited the original aims of Modernism.

Influenced by Le Corbusier’s ideas on town planning, every large British city built multistorey housing estates in the 1960s. Mass produced, lowcost highrises seemed to offer a solution to the problem of housing a growing innercity population. But far from meeting human needs, the new estates often proved to be windswept deserts lacking essential social facilities and services. Many of these buildings were poorly designed and constructed and have since been demolished.

By the 1970s, a new respect for the place of buildings within the existing townscape arose. Preserving historic buildings or keeping only their facades (or fronts) grew common. Architects also began to make more use of building styles and materials that were traditional to the area. The architectural style usually referred to as High Tech was also emerging. It celebrated scientific and engineering achievements by openly parading the sophisticated techniques used in construction. Such buildings are commonly made of metal and glass; examples are Stansted airport and the Lloyd’s building in London.

Disillusionment at the failure of many of the poor imitations of Modernist architecture led to interest in various styles and ideas from the past and present. By the 1980s the coexistence of different styles of architecture in the same building became known as Post Modern. Other architects looked back to the classical tradition. The trend in architecture now favours smaller scale building design that reflects a growing public awareness of environmental issues such as energy efficiency. Like the Modernists, people today recognise that a well designed environment improves the quality of life but is not necessarily achieved by adopting one well defined style of architecture.

Twentieth century architecture will mainly be remembered for its tall buildings. They have been made possible by the development of light steel frames and safe passenger lifts. They originated in the US over a century ago to help meet the demand for more economical use of land. As construction techniques improved, the skyscraper became a reality.

Questions 29-35

Complete the table below using information from Reading Passage 3.

Write NO MORE THAN THREE WORDS for each answer.

Write your answers in boxes 29-35 on your answer sheet.

Before 18th centuryExample traditional… (29) …
1920sintroduction of … (30) …steel, glass and concreteexploration of latest technology
1930s – 1950s… (31) …geometric forms
1960sdecline of Modernismpre-fabricated sections… (32) …
1970send of Modernist eratraditional materials… (33) … of historic buildings
1970sbeginning of … (34) … erametal and glasssophisticated techniques paraded
1980sPost-Modernism… (35) …

Questions 36-40

Reading Passage 3 describes a number of cause and effect relationships.

Match each Cause (36-40) in List A, with its Effect (A-H) in List B.

Write your answers (A-H) in boxes 36 40 on your answer sheet.

NB There are more effects in List B than you will need, so you will not use all of them. You may use any effect more than once if you wish.

List A
36. A rapid movement of people from rural areas to cities is triggered by technological advance.

37. Buildings become simple and functional.

38. An economic depression and the second world war hit Europe.

39. Multi-storey housing estates are built according to contemporary ideas on town planning.

40. Less land must be used for building.
List B
A) The quality of life is improved.

B) Architecture reflects the age.

C) A number of these have been knocked down.

D) Light steel frames and lifts are developed.

E) Historical buildings are preserved.

F) All decoration is removed.

G) Parts of cities become slums.

H) Modernist ideas cannot be put into practice until the second half of the 20th century.


Check out your ARCHITECTURE – Reaching for the Sky reading answers below with locations and explanations given in the text.

QuestionsTaskSkills tested
29-35Completing a table▪️ following a chronological account
▪️ skimming for specific information
▪️ noting main ideas
36-40Matching (causes to effects)▪️ skimming for information
▪️ understanding paraphrase
▪️ understanding cause/effect relationship
29timber and stone
31International style
32badly designed buildings
35co-existence of styles

Questions 36-40

(Suggested approach)

  • Read the task rubric carefully. You have to decide which effect arose from each cause.
  • Decide which list you should work from. In this case it is better to work from List A as you must find an effect m List B for every question. The causes also come first chronologically in the cause/effect relationship: List B contains results of List A.
  • Read through List B to familiarise yourself with it.
  • Skim through the passage until you locate the information in the text.
  • Select the effect of question 36. If you think there is more than one effect, mark both and come back to this item later. But remember that only one answer is correct.
  • In the third paragraph it states that the increase in urban populations “helped to turn parts of cities into slums”. So the answer to question 36 is G.
  • Repeat this procedure with items 37-40.
QuestionsAnswersLocation of answer in the text
36G“Such rapid and uncontrolled growth helped to turn parts of cities into slums.”
37F“These were stripped of unnecessary decoration that would detract from their primary purpose — to be used or lived in.”
38H“But the economic depression prevented their ideas from being widely realised until the economic conditions improved …”
39C“Many of these buildings … have since been demolished.”
40D“They originated in the US … to help meet the demand for more economical use of land.”
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