It’s no secret that color provokes emotion. Warm colors, such as those that are bold in appearance like red or yellow, promote positive emotions and are often found in the signage of retail brands. Cool colors, like green and blue are meant to calm and are said to make a space feel larger.
But what about using these colors in architecture and their effect on the human psyche?
According to Matheus Pereira for ArchDaily:
Describing the relationship of colors and the different features that govern them, or even the multitude of existing studies regarding these theories, is as complex as it is extensive. Color can be associated with psychology, symbolism and even mysticism; colors take on different meanings according to the artistic, historical or the cultural period; colors change when facing light; among many other characteristics.
The use of color is viewed quite differently by many in the world of architecture. Some consider it secondary to building form and structure, with architecture critics referring to color decisions as personal in nature, difficult to discuss, and hence inconsequential.
Many would disagree that color is simply a décor decision. A feature by Archinect states:
The color specifier/designer has the task of knowing how the reception of visual stimulation, its processing and evoked responses in conjunction with the hormonal system, produces the best possibilities for the welfare of human beings. This is of utmost importance in varied environments, such as medical and psychiatric facilities, offices, industrial and production plants, educational facilities, homes for the elderly, correctional facilities, and so forth. Each within themselves having different task and function areas.
Archinect goes on to state that there are also age, cultural and gender implications to determine as well when it comes the color’s impression on a particular person. Further complicating the impact of color in architecture is the effects of light on a space at certain times of day. Overstimulation of strong colors can cause stress to the viewer.
Trends of the day have an influence as well. While Pantone’s Color of the Year, Living Coral, is popping up everywhere in today’s interiors, it definitely qualifies as a bold choice. Says architect Tommaso Giunchi for Houzz, “The color isn’t for everyone, even though we’re definitely seeing it make a comeback. From my point of view, the best and trendiest colors right now are green and blue with some gray in them. Coral is hard to match with gray shades, so it’s not so easy to use it lightly — it has to be a statement color.”
If bold colors are your go-to, there is lots of inspiration from the past and present to take into account. Check out this list of seven architects who aren’t afraid to use color.