color in architecture

Below is an interesting view about color in architecture: source


Hanns-Peter STRUCK

Associação Brasileira da Cor, Porto Alegre, Brazil

Like constructions in Greece, Italian-Etruscan temples with their tulles and mosaics were colorful and attractive to the eye, as is the case today in India and Thailand.

One could discuss that through some ancient cultural periods, the attractiveness of color was muffled. Unquestionably the Gothic style also used little coloring in its interiors, but it knew how to take advantage, as in no other architectural period, of the effects of colored light itself on the surroundings. In the present day, however, we often see buildings with free-acting color effects which, however, have nothing to do with the building itself. Certainly we exclude certain individuals as Frank Lloyd Wright, Walter Gropius and Oscar Niemeyer.

Whoever deals with color in architecture and has the misfortune to deal with overlaid color without sufficient knowledge about color and its meaning and action, should at least seek the help of color specialists.

Starting from knowledge of the essence of color and its influence on human life, not by the intuition inspired in the religiousness of bygone centuries, but by conscious responsibility of self-criticism, the use of color is justified. This naturally also means considering the psychological effect of color in the discussion of its application. If we work with color it is obvious that aesthetics have to be considered also.

But along with these aspects other problems and factors arose: color became “applied, overlaid”, and had nothing to do with the work itself, and paint left natural pigments behind and began to be extracted from coal and its by-products. A discussion arose regarding the matter of how construction should be considered, and two main lines of opinion developed: formalism and functionalism. The problem involves various alternatives. Is the form a visible expression of the function? And where is man with his soul (only with his function)?

Neither formalism or functionalism, nor psychologism —the mission that architectural work requires of the color adviser is far easier to circumscribe. “To relate color in its influence on thought, feeling and wanting, to the environment, and in this manner cause it to help, provide and correct emotional and organic aspects by its psychoaesthetic effects on the human organism.”