Colour in culture – does this make a difference?

Posted: 27 August 2020

Ikonografik-News-Aug-2020-1-Red-Stone-Museum-Alvaro-SizaHistorically, I think colours had a big role to play with individual identity, sometimes to make a statement, such as national flags, but often as a result of the only local materials available. I think this is sometimes referred to as vernacular architecture.

Walls were often finished with coloured render or coloured limewash. Sometimes for decorative effect and sometimes as a result of natural pigments in the local materials.

Adobe / rammed earth walls were often coloured by the pigments and hues found in the local soil.

Different types of stone and clay often result in differently coloured buildings, all based on the colour of the local materials.

In religion and faith certain colours can also have different or slightly different meanings and intentions.* Depending on the context of where colour is going you may need to be careful about selecting certain colours and the how they could be interpreted.

* This is a potentially big topic in it’s own right and there is not enough space here to cover this.

However, with the increasing effect of globalisation, individual colour seems to be becoming less apparent. Each country and locality seem to slowly morph into the next with regional variation being reduced or colours introduced for dramatic effect with materials shipped in from a different country. Is this sustainable architecture?

Hope you enjoyed this post, just continuing our recent theme on colours.

Pink house photo = Nottingham Post / Gurjeet Nanrah

Adobe house photo = *pascal* / Flickr

Buff stone house = Brent Darby

International Design Museum, Hangzhou, China by Alvaro Aiza, [with the building stone imported from India!] photo = Fernando Guerra


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