An Architect's Toolkit for Color Theory



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This graduate project (M-ARCH 23) investigates the discipline's relationship and valuation of the use of color to bring awareness to both implicit and explicit cultural biases within the architectural practice. It’s important to address that many of these notions have come from the student’s experiences living in the US, working with American Architects, and attending three different American schools of architecture. From her limited experience on the professional side, Knight has observed how paint colors and material finishes are put at the very end of the process and left to interior designers. In the actual design process, architects are all taught to start with modeling white boxes, taking after modernist pedagogy and giving preference to minimalist aesthetics. In American architectural education, color theory is not a required aspect of design curriculum. These Eurocentric biases towards color were coined “chromophobia” by David Batchelor in his book of the same name. The erasure of color from Greco-Roman architecture is an early example of chromophobia. Hellenistic architecture was vibrantly painted, but when studied centuries later European scholars disregarded the evidence of color; the Greeks were considered genius while bright colors were associated with the aesthetics of “savage nations,” (Wolfgang von Goethe’s Theory of Colors). The false whiteness of antiquity then became idolized in Neo-Classical Architecture, further associating white with purity and supremacy, only to be later reinforced by modernists. View exhibition image gallery.


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Publication Date

Spring 5-18-2023




Color Lab, installation, exhibition, Architecture, graduate studies, color, video



An Architect's Toolkit for Color Theory