Colour in Architecture

Monday 18 Nov 2013

Illuminated concrete, brightly-hued favelas and pops of brilliant colour in city homes lead the way for Colour in Architecture

Now in its third week, the award for Colour in Architecture is one of the most highly anticipated here at the WAN AWARDS. With the previous award for this category being held two years ago, we are expecting a wealth of exciting new projects to become part of the melting pot our judges have the pleasure of pouring over to root out this years’ winner.

Most traditional building materials have an inherent colour that is naturally occurring, determining the final finish of a certain project unless additional pigments are added or extreme weather conditions tarnish their hue. Often different tints are incorporated into the original build however an existing scheme can also be revisited at a later date and completely re-imagined using vibrant materials.

One example of the complete transformative effect dynamic shades can have on a wide scale is a simple but effective scheme headed by two Dutch artists: Haas&Hahn. The vivid project began in 2005 when Haas&Hahn visited the favelas of Rio de Janeiro and were struck with their raw beauty. After completing three small-scale painting projects, the duo were inspired to engage in a much larger scheme by painting an entire hillside slum.

This project - funded by Kickstarter - will also include plastering the buildings in the community to help control moisture, acoustics and temperature. By involving local people in the project, the team hopes to provide new opportunities for unemployed people and the end goal is to instil pride in the community while providing a catalyst for positive social change.

In recent years, exciting new developments in technology and building techniques have meant dramatic changes in the way colour can be used within architecture, both subtly and overtly. Often, when a light reflective surface is used - or as recently seen, the use of integrated technology such as LED’s - architects across the world employ colourful façades and exteriors in their work for expression as well as form, demonstrated in Germany earlier this year with the worlds’ first light transmitting concrete. This dynamic visual language is what makes this category one not to be missed.

One project to use colour in a more responsive way, paying particular attention to the environment and surrounding architecture, is New Cambridge Lofts Penthouse, the recent entry into this years’ Colour in Architecture Award by Manasc Isaac Architects. The project challenges the conformity of the Edmonton skyline and asks the question: “Why can’t we crown our high-rises in a more dynamic way?” And what a great way to defy that norm!

For further information on the Colour in Architecture Award please visit our dedicated Colour in Architecture Award page. Alternatively, you can contact: faye.chalmers@wantoday.com. There is currently a 15% early bird discount, which will be available to everyone who registers before 30 November 2013.

The exposure and acclaim from being part of these awards is invaluable and you may reap more benefits than you think, as previous winner Morag Morrison from Hawkins\\Brown explains: “Winning the WAN Colour in Architecture Award for New Biochemistry has given Hawkins\\Brown more confidence to use colour in a painterly and free manner across their buildings whatever the context.” 

Faye Chalmers
WAN AWARDS Co-ordinator

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