Architects generally add colour through materiality: mostly natural colours derived from timber, stone, and metal. For this issue of The Design Guide, we were interested in projects that use bold colour in architectural ways. Houses and apartments with colour baked into materials, such as brick, steel, plaster or tiles. Interiors where colour drives the spatial experience. Examples of colour defining form and scale.
We looked for experimentation, innovation and surprise, and although it wasn’t easy to find colour in architecture, we eventually came up with an amazing diversity of international projects. From Titirangi to Edinburgh, Shanghai to Kyiv, this issue features houses and interiors that will challenge your understanding of how colour can be used in residential architecture.
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We open with a photo essay about exterior colour: gold in France, blue in Australia and green in New Zealand – examples of buildings with strong neighbourhood identities. Next, interior designer Katie Lockhart walks us through three remarkable houses by architects with very different perspectives on colour – famous and lesser-known buildings, from ancient to modern. Our designer Ian Ferguson has created new illustrations to accompany Katie’s essay showing the clear arrangement of shapes and spaces.
In our Projects section, we have six stories, from Shanghai, Kyiv (Kiev), Auckland, Edinburgh, London, and a landscape feature. New Zealand colour stories – in residential architecture, at least – include the development of the rural red barn, or the colourful 1940s and 1950s baches where leftover paint pots led to an eclectic colour mix.
Crosson Architects’ Red House in Titirangi is a whole new genre. Not a barn, but an abstract red cube for the artist and musician clients. We have a couple of Parsonson Architects’ baches that use classic 1950s duck-egg blues and greens, recalling the heyday of simple beach dwellings. In issue 07, we featured the remarkable orange-stained Maungakawa house by Patterson Associates, a real innovation in the use of colour in this country.
We hope this issue provokes more discussion about colour in residential architecture and its positive contribution to housing. There are many opportunities to experiment, particularly in interiors, as so many of our houses are lined in plasterboard. The Green Apartment in section two has a very sophisticated use of colour across mostly plasterboard surfaces. It is an exemplar for how an abstract colour scheme can lift interior space out of the ordinary.
Writers: 2LG Studio, Adam Haddow, Adam Woodruff, Andrea Stevens, Antonina Venediktova, Archier, Bent Architecture, Cristiana Ruspa, Doherty Design Studio, Dominic Glamuzina, Dorrington Atcheson Architects, Henning Stummel, FIGR Architecture & Design, Kate Fitzpatrick, Katie Lockhart, Nicola Bainbridge, Oleksii Venediktov, Parsonson Architects, Pohio Adams Architecture, Richard Murphy, Sarah Price, Simon Pendal, Tomi Williams, Wutopia Lab.
Photographers: Andrey Avdeenko, Ben Ruffell, Ben Hosking, Chen Hao, Dario Fusaro, Derek Swalwell, Edgard César, Emma-Jane Hetherington, Felix Forest, Jason Mann, Jeremy Toth, Kate Ballis, Keith Hunter, Megan Taylor, Patrick Reynolds, Paul McCredie, Rachel Warne, Robert Frith, Sam Hartnett, Sergio Grazia, Sharrin Rees, Simon Devitt, Simon Elvidge, Simon Wilson, Stephen Goodenough, Steve May, Su Shengliang, Tatjana Plitt, Timothy Soar, Tom Blachford, William Giesen.