Colour Strategies in Architecture

Front Members' Room 12/11/2016 - 16/12/2016

Monday to Friday 10:00-19:00, Saturday 10:00-17:00.


This exhibition explores the potential of colour to modify space and the way in which buildings are perceived.  Colour plays a significant role in architecture – affecting the atmosphere, meaning, spatial understanding and hierarchy of architecture, and of place.  Whether inherent in material or applied, it can be used to tune and transform the way we perceive surroundings.  Yet specific strategies employed by architectural practices in relation to colour are rarely considered in texts and colour is seldom integral to the discourse in architecture schools.

The exhibition and accompanying book are the products of a four-year international interdisciplinary research collaboration between the Haus der Farbe, Zurich and the University of Edinburgh. Drawing on examples from the 20th and 21st centuries, six different strategies are presented on the basis of buildings in Berlin, Zürich and Edinburgh: Painterly Promenade (Lux Guyer, Zürich), Tectonics Clarified (Basil Spence, Edinburgh), Immersive Pop (Rainer Rümmler, Berlin), Holistic Interplay (Hans Scharoun, Berlin), Hushed Tonalities (Reiach & Hall Architects, Edinburgh) and Second Layer (Knapkiewicz & Fickert, Zürich).

Over 350 colours observed in the projects were replicated in hand-mixed and hand-painted samples and are presented through abstracted ‘building portraits’ that show the proportion, palette and use of colour on specific buildings, and ‘visualisations’ that aim to communicate possible alternatives for a strategic use of colour in architecture.

Researched and produced by Fiona McLachlan, AnneMarie Neser, Lino Sibillano, Marcella Wenger-Di Gabriele and Stefanie Wettstein.

Supported by The University of Edinburgh, Haus der Farbe, Gewerbemuseum, Keim Paints and Clockwork Removals & Storage.

Contact details

Head of Exhibitions:
Vanessa Norwood
T: +44 (0)20 7887 4031

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