As often as we make decisions based upon color specification—a new car, a new dress, new living room furniture, even a pair of shoes—we often still fail to realize how our assessment of a product is intricately connected to our own personality. Color has meaning. In many Western cultures, black symbolizes mourning and death. Mourning in Eastern societies is often noted by the color white which, in the West, is a traditional preference for wedding gowns. What’s the reason for these dramatic differences in color perceptions? First of all, color preferences are subjective. . You may love the color blue, but can you explain why? You see the difficulty that can arise when a client tries to explain personal color preferences in terms of architecture. A design can’t come to fruition based solely on a fondness for the color blue. Color specification and architecture can, when external attributes such as cultural influences, environmental factors, and even energy efficiency are appropriately weighed in, yield a stunning result that performs its functional role while satisfying esthetic expectations.
Color Specification And Double Skin Facades
We see with our eyes, but our eyes see with our brains. That’s why an architect is charged with creating a design that matches our needs and wants with the purpose of a structure. While the proposed function of a building determines its intrinsic design, color specification is still a significant consideration when assessing how the structure will blend into its particular environment and how it will be used by the occupants. A gymnasium will have a very different appearance from a boutique, for example, and yet, even with these decidedly different structures, there are areas in which color specification matters.
Architectural innovation embarked upon a new direction in the twentieth century with the development of double skin facades. In this process, a building’s enclosing wall is separated from the structure, giving the architect greater flexibility in developing the design. As consumers prioritized energy efficiency and personal comfort, the popularity of double skin facades accelerated. The results include improved thermal insulation, a healthier environment through natural ventilation, expanded use of natural light, and a reduction in the demand for heating and cooling.
As the functional aspects of architectural curtain wall and cladding improve a building’s energy efficiency, color specification improves its esthetic appeal. Again, the human brain reacts to the allure of color in very different ways, making this dimension one which develops a new direction for architects and their design.
The Influence Of Color Specification
Architecture is influenced by the varying perceptions that we have of color. As we have noted, architects employ color to add to a building’s attractiveness by appealing to the human affinity for beauty. Color affects our mood and our productivity and can even affect their personal wellbeing.
Through the deliberate application of color, a building’s exterior can either catch the eye of passers-by or subtly blend into the surrounding area. Muted colors make a surface seem larger; vivid colors shrink the dimensions.
Certain colors automatically trigger dynamic attention. Bold, bright red summons a response. Yellow is a popular choice of color for day care centers and elementary schools where children respond to its brightness and cheer. Studies have shown that blue has calming properties that can actually lower blood pressure. Blue light, which slows the production of melatonin, increases alertness. Because it is so often used for external cladding and internal office space, it conjures an impression of depth. Nature lovers who spend their days in office buildings welcome the color green, which is also a restful color. Likewise, brown evokes the natural environment. White, a clean, pure color, has a special popularity for architects and their clients. Achromatic gray, sometimes seen as not a color at all, evokes a sense of balance. Black is a powerful color with both visual and emotional effects on viewers.
Color specification is one of the building blocks of an architect’s design. Through the use of color, an architect creates a structure which not only inspires attention, but also has the power to improve human wellbeing.