IELTS Cue Card: Describe a new public building you would like to visit

IELTS Cue Card: Describe a new public building you would like to visit


Describe a new public building you would like to visit.
You should say:
  • Where it is
  • What it is like
  • What you know about it
And explain why you would like to visit it.

Part 3:
  • Which is more important: preserving old buildings or building new ones?
  • What kinds of public buildings do people like to visit in your country?
  • What is most important for a public building: design, location, or facilities?
  • Do you think the appearance of a building is important?

Part 2 — Sample Answer:

I’ve always been an aviation geek, so I’d like to visit the new airport that’s being built in Berlin.

This airport isn’t open yet, but has been under construction for donkey’s years now, far longer than the architects and planners originally anticipated. It’s become something of a laughing stock among Berliners who have been promised this new transportation hub for forever and a day.

One of the reasons why it’s been so delayed has been due to technical problems with the building. For example, the fire detection system was found to be faulty by the fire department who were doing an inspection. The problem proved to be anything other than an easy fix and I believe the entire system had to be removed and replaced.

I think one of the reasons why this is on my list of places to visit is because I want to see if it lives up to all the hype, or whether it’s just a run-of-the-mill airport. My guess is it’s going to be the latter. Obviously the experience of travelers, especially frequent flyers has been factored into the design, so I’d expect it to be very easy to navigate, quite modern, and with a large number of shops and amenities to help people pass the time while they’re waiting for their flight.

There have been quite a few new airports that have been built around the world in recent years, and I’d like to visit some of these other ones just to have a wander around and see how they stack up to the more run-down airport I usually fly from.

Vocabulary and idioms for this answer:

Aviation geek (noun)
An aviation geek is someone who has a love for planes, airports, and anything about aviation.
Example: I’m such an aviation geek and get excited every time I see an unusual plane.

Under construction (idiom)
Something that is under construction is currently being built.
Example: The new school is under construction and it should be finished in a year.

Donkey’s years (idiom — British)
It’s a British idiom for a very long time.
Example: We’ve known each other for donkey’s years.

Laughing stock (noun)
Someone or something that seems silly or stupid, especially by trying to be serious or important and not succeeding.
Example: He was the laughing stock of the company when he announced his plan.

For forever and a day (idiom)
If something lasts for forever and a day, it can mean a very long time, but not actually for forever.
Example: We’ve been driving for forever and a day and we’re still not there yet.

Lives up to the hype (expression)
If something lives up to the hype, it’s as good as expected by the public.
Example: That concert really lived up to the hype. It was great!

Run-of-the-mill (adjective)
Something that’s ordinary and not special or exciting in any way is said to be run-of-the-mill.
Example: He gave a fairly run-of-the-mill speech. It was really disappointing.

Pass the time (idiom)
If you do something to stay busy while waiting for something, you’re passing the time.
Example: I watched videos on my phone to pass the time while waiting for my flight.

Stack up (phrasal verb)
To stack up means to compare or measure against something else.
Example: This new car doesn’t stack up against previous models; it’s just not as good as previous models.

Run-down (adjective)
Something that’s run down is in a very bad condition. It could be a building or a neighborhood.
Example: The buildings in the south of the city are really run down. I’d hate to live in that run down area.

Part 3 — Sample Answers:

Which is more important: preserving old buildings or building new ones?

I’d say both are equally important.

There’s been a lot of focus in recent years on maximizing land usage. As population density increases, the value of every square meter has skyrocketed, and this has led to some older buildings being torn down and replaced with a glass and concrete monstrosity.

Obviously we can’t just preserve an old building for the sake of it, and there usually has to be a good justification. Perhaps the building has some historical significance, or perhaps there aren’t the funds to replace it with something new, but there is money available to renovate or repair it.

The town I come from is a small fishing village that also has a castle ruin. It hasn’t experienced a lot of population growth over the years and so there hasn’t been much pressure to build new buildings. As a consequence, it’s ended up looking like it did hundreds of years ago with quaint old buildings that have proved to be a tourist attraction.

Vocabulary and idioms for this answer:

Population density (noun)
The number of people living in a unit of area (such as a square kilometer).
Example: This part of the country has a high population density.

Skyrocket (verb)
If something skyrockets, it increases quickly and suddenly.
Example: Prices are skyrocketing in the south.

Monstrosity (noun)
Something that’s very large and also very ugly is a monstrosity.
Example: That new office building is a real monstrosity.

Ruin (noun)
Ruins are the remains of something that’s been destroyed.
Example: The temple ruins are now a tourist attraction.

What kinds of public buildings do people like to visit in your country?

There are a lot of different kinds of public buildings, and often it depends on the individual.

Children are more likely to visit the library and they’ll certainly be going to their school on an almost daily basis throughout the year.

I suppose post offices could also be considered to be public buildings, but as people are sending fewer and fewer letters, these are becoming a thing of the past.

Shopping malls are the most common public place people visit. They’re convenient because people are able to compare different products they’re interested in buying without much hassle, or they’re able to go window shopping if they find themselves with some time to kill. This is probably why they’re springing up like weeds all over the city I currently live in. Right now the largest one is being expanded to almost double its size.

Vocabulary and idioms for this answer:

Thing of the past (idiom)
Something that’s a thing of the past is something that no longer happens.
Example: Young people giving up their seat to an older person seems to be a thing of the past.

Hassle (noun)
A hassle is a situation that is difficult. It may be a situation that involves problems, effort, or arguments with people.
Example: I can’t face the hassle of moving again.

Window shopping (noun)
If you go window shopping, you have a look at the things that are on sale without intending to buy any of them. You’re just having a look around.
Example: Most people in the mall are just window shopping and looking for somewhere to eat.

Time to kill (idiom)
If you’re not busy and just have some time to waste, you can say you have some time to kill.
Example: I arrived at the airport too early and had some time to kill before my flight.

Springing up like weeds (idiom)
If something is springing up like weeds, it means it’s increasing in number really quickly and rapidly.
Example: New houses are springing up like weeds in this neighborhood.

What is most important for a public building: design, location, or facilities?

I think for the most part all three are important, but if I had to rank them, I’d say that its facilities come in first place. People go to a public building for a purpose, and if they can’t achieve their goals the beauty of the building as well as its location become somewhat irrelevant. For example, an aesthetically pleasing mall that has just a handful of shops is less likely to thrive compared to a mall that has hundreds of stores, but is located in an ugly building.

The location is in some cases the least important factor. Outlet malls and airports that are often located on the outskirts of a city are still visited in spite of the difficulties that most people face traveling to and from them.

I do believe it is important to to have beautiful buildings. I think just about everyone would prefer to live in a pretty environment, and architects seem to be paying attention to the façade with an ever greater frequency. They know their design is going to last for many decades, and they don’t want it to be a blight on the landscape.

Vocabulary and idioms for this answer:

Aesthetically pleasing (adjective)
Something that’s pretty, tasteful, or nice to look at is aesthetically pleasing. It’s only used with the visual appearance of something.
Example: The new house across the street is aesthetically pleasing.

Handful (noun)
A handful is a small number of people or things.
Example: She invited all her friends to the party, but only a handful of them turned up.

Façade (noun)
The front of a building, especially a large or attractive building. Most words in English don’t use a ç with an accent, but this is an exception because it’s a French loanword.
Example: The new apartment building I’m moving into has a beautiful façade.

Blight (noun)
Something that spoils or has a very bad effect on something, often for a long time.
Example: Those new buildings are a blight on the neighborhood and make it look terrible.

Do you think the appearance of a building is important?

As mentioned before, I do believe it’s important for buildings to be pleasing to the eye, however if cost is a concern, design may take a back seat.

I’ve lived in a city which has a lot of buildings that were constructed hastily and as cheaply as possible. From what I know, there wasn’t much time, nor much inclination to build beautiful buildings. They were designed and erected within months, rather than years, and a bare bones basic design was chosen.

Frankly I feel that a lot of those buildings should be demolished and replaced with something more up to date. Because they’re so ugly, people are also less likely to invest the funds necessary to keep them in a good state of repair and it is looking ever more likely that they will be replaced in the not too distant future.

Vocabulary and idioms for this answer:

Pleasing to the eye (idiom)
If something is pleasing to the eye, it’s really attractive and nice to look at. It’s another way of saying aesthetically pleasing.
Example: The movie’s special effects are pleasing to the eye, but the actors are terrible.

Take a back seat (idiom)
If something takes a back seat, it isn’t very important and is given a low priority. Something might take a back seat for a while, before being made important again.
Example: I was sick last week, and work had to take a back seat while I got better.

Hastily (adverb)
Something that’s said or done in a hurry. If something is done hastily, it’s often done without much thought or care.
Example: Mary quit her job hastily.

Inclination (noun)
If you want to do something, you are said to have an inclination to do something.
Example: I’m inclined to look for a new job.

Erected (verb)
To build something, like a building, wall, or other structure.
Example: This building was erected in 1950.

Bare bones (noun)
The bare bones of something are the most important or essential parts of something.
Example: I don’t need all the details of what happened, just tell me the bare bones.

A good state of repair (idiom)
This idiom means that something is well maintained, working properly, or otherwise in a good condition.
Example: It’s a beautiful house, and they’ve kept it in a good state of repair for decades despite the fact they’ve not lived there for a few years.

In the not too distant future (idiom)
If you’re talking about something that will happen soon, you could say it will happen in the not too distant future.
Example: We’re going to be moving to Spain in the not too distant future.

How long will these questions be valid?

At least until the end of April 2020.
Three times a year the British Council changes many of the topics and questions they ask. Sometimes they decide to keep a topic for another four months, but oftentimes they decide to replace it. This one is very likely to be replaced with a new topic at the beginning of May 2020, but it won't be known for sure until then.

Just to let you know, there are 49 possible part 2/3 topics on the current exam. Sometimes there are more, sometimes there are less, and this number changes when the British Council updates the questions.

Book a Class Today

If you found this article useful, you’ll love my classes. I’ve helped hundreds of students achieve the IELTS score they dreamed of, and I’d like you to be the next success story. I help people with both conversational classes and IELTS speaking test preparation.

Here's what two of my students have had to say about me:

“Very interesting lesson, we had a useful conversation about different topics and Matthew corrected me to improve my vocabulary and grammar.”
— Philippe, France🇫🇷

“Matthew is a fun, easygoing and intelligent teacher that makes you feel at ease from minute one. He's very versatile too. I'd recommend anyone to book a lesson with him!”
— Gina, Spain🇪🇸

👋 Say hello to me today, and let’s get started by scheduling a class at the link below. 👋

https://www.verbling.com/teachers/ieltsmatthew
24 février 2020
Profile Picture
$25
$22.50
USD/h

Matthew Bradley

security_checked
5.0
$25
$22.50
USD/h
Flag
Anglais
globe
Royaume-Uni
time
28
Parle:
Anglais
Langue maternelle
I help students with two things: ✅ Day to day speaking practice ✅ IELTS speaking test preparation I correct everything and will help you learn where your mistakes are and how to fix them. I don't ignore your mistakes! I have all the current questions that can appear on the IELTS speaking test. Preparing with me won't be a waste of time, and you won't be practicing questions that are years out of date. I've helped hundreds of students get the score they want on the IELTS speaking test, which can be an incredibly difficult test sometimes. I can help make sure you're as prepared as possible for the questions that examiners can throw at you. Many of my students have commented that they've practiced the very same questions that appeared on the exam, and were happy to have thought through some tricky topics in advance. Let's get started! Book a class and I'll see you soon!
Flag
Anglais
globe
Royaume-Uni
time
28
Parle:
Anglais
Langue maternelle
I help students with two things: ✅ Day to day speaking practice ✅ IELTS speaking test preparation I correct everything and will help you learn where your mistakes are and how to fix them. I don't ignore your mistakes! I have all the current questions that can appear on the IELTS speaking test. Preparing with me won't be a waste of time, and you won't be practicing questions that are years out of date. I've helped hundreds of students get the score they want on the IELTS speaking test, which can be an incredibly difficult test sometimes. I can help make sure you're as prepared as possible for the questions that examiners can throw at you. Many of my students have commented that they've practiced the very same questions that appeared on the exam, and were happy to have thought through some tricky topics in advance. Let's get started! Book a class and I'll see you soon!
Mi vida antes del Covid- 19 (IMPERFECTO) A-2
Profile Picture
Alejandra Santiago
7 août 2020
팔랑귀
Profile Picture
Abby H
7 août 2020
The Origins of popular English Idioms
Profile Picture
Jen Mc Monagle
7 août 2020