Band 9 Essays: Opinion – Historic Buildings

Some people believe that it is better to build new buildings instead of renovating the old ones. To what extent do you agree or disagree? Give your opinion and relevant examples from your own experience.



As cities expand, there is a strong demand for space. As a result, many older buildings are torn down and replaced with modern versions. Although, society must progress, it is important to preserve older structures that reflect the past.

Old buildings are a way for us to remember the history of a city. If every building beyond a certain age was demolished, then we would only have modern structures that often look very similar. In countries that experienced colonial rule, for example, people can see the foreign influence in the buildings around them and understand more about that country’s history – both good and bad.

Similarly, by preserving historic buildings, cities are more interesting and vibrant places to live in. Older buildings feature a range of architectural styles that many people find more impressive to look at than the modern style of steel, concrete, and glass. An old stone building with an elaborate facade seems to carry more prestige than a contemporary building that might be functional but not inspiring.

On the other hand, old buildings must be able to meet modern standards. Often when these buildings were constructed, there were no safety standards for things like fires or earthquakes, so now these outdated buildings may be unsafe for people to live and work in. However, if they can be renovated to conform to current safety guidelines, it should be a priority to maintain them.

Generally speaking, historic buildings are one of the strongest links to our past. If we take care of them, we can remember our history, be proud of our ancestors’ accomplishments, and learn from their mistakes. (266 words)


  1. This may be a difficult topic for many people, so try to keep your main ideas clear. IN this example, the main ideas are “remember the history of a city”, “more interesting and vibrant places to live”, “[On the other hand] must be able to meet modern standards”
  2. Remember that in an opinion essay, it is good to mention both sides of the argument, even if you’re just arguing for one. In this example, there are two body paragraphs for keeping old buildings, then one that might be a reason why we should not keep them. The counter-argument paragraph also contains a possible solution – “However…” This is the best way to fully answer the question.
  3. To get a high band score in Task 2, you need to show a range of topic specific vocabulary. In this example, words and phrases like “architectural styles”,  “elaborate facade”, “functional”, and “ancestors’ accomplishments” have been used.
  4. Try to include a range of vocabulary for common words as well. In this example, “torn down” has been used along with “demolished”. Instead of repeating “modern buildings” after “old buildings” the phrase “old versions” has been used. Instead of repeating “safety standards” the term “guidelines” has been used. Instead of “modern buildings” the word “contemporary” has been used.
  5. Try to use a range of complex sentence structures. Structures like “If…then…” and “…so…” are easy to use and often appropriate when giving an opinion.
  6. Try to include at least one example. In this essay, the example is about “colonial rule” and how buildings can show important parts in a country’s history.

One thought on “Band 9 Essays: Opinion – Historic Buildings

  1. Pingback: Band 9 Speaking: Part 3 – Museums | IELTS UNLOCKED

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