Beauty in the Built Environment: Sto Color

Since 1965, when Sto introduced a revolutionary color system, the company has been providing art and inspiration in architecture, working with design and building professionals to facilitate design and color decision-making.

#2 in a three-part series on Sto Studio

The study of color by artists, philosophers and scientists has spanned centuries, dating back to 1672 when Sir Isaac Newton defined the components of visible light as color. Segmenting the spectrum into easily identifiable color families, he led others to develop their own versions of the color wheel and established “color theory”, which in today’s parlance means “guidance on mixing colors”.

While Sto Corp. doesn’t date back as far as Newton, it has been a pioneer in color theory, specifically as it relates to architecture. Product and color formulations are based on theories, old and new. In 1965, Sto introduced a revolutionary color system and has been building upon that first offering since then. The StoColor 800 — a collection of 800 colors formulated to match the range of human visual perception — was released in 2002, and remains a favorite resource for the architecture, engineering and construction sectors.

Humans are able to distinguish “primary colors” (e.g. yellow, red, and blue), “secondary colors” (e.g. orange, violet, and green), which are created by mixing two primary colors (yellow + blue= green), and a host of tertiary colors for use in buildings’ interiors and exteriors. It is the human perception of color that is the foundation of the StoColor System.

Sto’s color wheel is made up of 24 parent colors which are combined with white, black and grays to create a range of sophisticated colors applicable to our built environment. Extrapolating specific colors from the master palette, Sto has created subsets for varied markets: The Sto Sto Classic Color Collection,  The Sto Designer Color Collection, Sto for the Southwest, The Architectural Color Collection and so on.

The Power of Color

Color is integral to our world, not just in the natural environment but also in the man-made, architectural environment. It has played a role in human evolution. Colors influence us. They affect our psychology, they communicate, inform and influence judgement. Clearly, color in architectural spaces is more than decoration.

Form, function, design and color coexist within our architectural environment. Just as color plays a huge role in branding, colors define the nature and aesthetic of a building; colors help develop the culture and identity of a city as well. Architecture influences our lives more than we are usually aware and the use of color in architecture makes a built form even more impactful.

Utilizing color in buildings has evolved over the years. Grey, dull and restrained monochromatic facades — especially in older cities — have given way to bolder colors on building exteriors and interiors.  Whites and greys have long been favored by architects and designers, but many feel these colors are too “grave and isolating” and are incorporating more color into their designs. Dark saturated colors are trending right now, as are so-called “celebration colors”. How uninspired is beige on beige on beige, and by contrast how delightful is it to turn a corner and see a sudden burst of color?

Empirical observations and scientific studies have proven that our reactions to architectural environments are highly influenced by our sensory perception of color. Architectural psychology, color psychology, neuropsychology, visual ergonomics, psychosomatics prove that color influences us psychologically and physiologically.

The psychological effects of color are the basis of what’s called visual/color ergonomics: “a multidisciplinary science concerned with understanding human visual processes and the interactions between humans and other elements of a system”. As an example of visual ergonomics: a medical facility would benefit from a different color scheme than an industrial complex or a school.

Color is a sensory perception and, as with any sensory perception, it has effects that are symbolic, associative and emotional. In simpler, more graphic terms: yellow feels sunny, friendly, and inviting; red is provocative, arousing, perhaps aggressive. Green is balanced, calm and simple

Celebrate Color

As a means to help the market understand the power and potential of color Sto established Sto Studio, offering custom color solutions to clients world-wide. By illustrating the potential aesthetics for a project with full-color renderings, Sto Studio enables design and building professionals to see the future and choose from a variety of design scenarios.

The team of color professionals at Sto Studio who are inspired by color and art in architecture, know the science of color mixology, but also the gestalt and psychology of color. Sto Studio designers are experts on color but also understand its value as part of new coatings and finishes, its sustainability and efficacy in meeting the goals of the design and building community, or in the restoration of protected buildings.

Whether providing industry leading delivery of quality color formulas and samples, or a professional grade rendering, Sto Studio facilitates design and color decision making. The Sto Color System offers a harmonic, finely nuanced selection of colors for facade and interior use and the most advanced, visually ergonomic media presentations for all phases of color design.

Color 101 – a Quick Primer

  • Hue identifies the color family (blue, green, red, etc.)
  • Chroma is the purity or intensity of a color (a high chroma has no added black, white or gray).
  • Value refers to how light or dark a color is (the lighter the color, the higher the value). Dark colors absorb light energy and have a lower LRV (light reflective value). Light colors reflect light and have higher LRVs.
  • LRV – Light Reflective Value: indicates how much light or energy is bouncing off a surface. A color with 87% LRV is reflecting 13% of the light energy broadcast on its surface; a dark brown with 8% LRV absorbs 92% of the light energy.
  • Achromatic: essentially, lacking chroma (grays, neutrals, black and white).
  • Saturation refers to how strong or weak a color is (a highly saturated color would be considered very strong). Regard it as “Pure vs. Pale”.
  • Tones are created by adding gray to a color, making it duller or softer-looking than the original, pure hue. Tones are sometimes easier to use in designs.
  • Shades are created by adding black to a color, making it darker than the original. The word is often incorrectly used to describe tint or tone, but technically shade only applies to hues made darker by the addition of black.
  • Tints are created by adding white to a color, making it lighter than the original. Very light tints are sometimes called pastels, but any pure hue with white added to it is technically a tint, even if the color is still quite bright.

Next week, look for Sto Studio case studies.


Top 50 Architectural Firms of 2017 Announced by Architect Magazine

The Stealth Building -- a renovation of a cast-iron building in Tribeca-- by WORKac, the architectural firm ranked #1 in America for Design by Architect Magazine.

Architect Magazine has published their list of the 50 best architecture firms in the United States, and the 2017 top honors went to a combination of established heavyweights as well as young upstarts.

The rankings are based on scores from three categories: business, design and sustainability. This year there were more entrants than ever before (149 firms submitted entries) with several first-time entrants making waves, including New-York based WORKac who ranked #1 in the design category. Topping the overall list was Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM), who also ranked in the top 10 for design and sustainability. SOM became the first firm to secure the overall Number One position twice.

ZGF Architects took first place in the sustainability category for the second year in a row with their ecodistrict Kashiwa-no-ha (outside Tokyo), and the Rocky Mountain Institute Innovation Center cited as industry-leading sustainability projects.

In the business category, the east coast firm FXFowle (New York & Washington D.C.) garnered the top award with special kudos for their Statue of Liberty Museum.

Congratulations to all the firms for their remarkable achievements worldwide.


High Performance Insulated Wall System a Game Changer for Architects

High performance insulated wall systems like the innovative StoTherm® ci XPS provide the air, weather and thermal tightness required for today’s most energy-efficient architecture, but are also cost-effective and provide designers with a wide range of aesthetic options.

Sto Corp. has joined forces with insulation specialists Owens Corning and Dow to produce one of the most technically advanced exterior wall systems available. The innovative StoTherm® ci XPS wall system is designed to provide the air, weather and thermal tightness required for today’s most energy-efficient architecture, but also makes for exterior walls that look good, and are cost-effective.

One of the first things architects will notice about the product is its design flexibility. The multi-layered system offers a wide range of finishes from the natural look of raw materials to boldly colored finishes, allowing for a variety of looks from traditional textured surfaces to limestone, concrete, metal and many more.

Hidden behind the beautiful outer skin, are important energy efficient properties; StoTherm® ci XPS meets rigorous sustainable design standards, including ASHRAE 90.1-2010, the new International Green Construction Code (IGCC), and the International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) requirements for continuous insulation.

This smart architectural product combines high quality, technologically advanced materials, including Dow and Owens Corning insulation with a closed cell structure which helps prevent liquid movement through the material and provides exceptional thermal performance with an R-value of 5.0 per 1”. The final result is a combination of layers that delivers exceptional air and moisture control, that also meets the latest building code requirements for energy efficient continuous insulation and fire testing. The highly durable system also provides significant impact resistance that exceeds IBC and IECC codes.

How can such a high-performance product, also be economical? The high R-value of Sto’s system (R5/inch) makes for a thinner wall, reducing the overall weight and cost-per-square foot for the building envelope. Add this to lifetime savings from superior energy-efficiency, and you have a product that offers both short- and long-term cost benefits to the client.

StoTherm® ci XPS is truly a system designed with the architect in mind –its versatile and seamless combination of energy-efficient qualities and aesthetically pleasing finishes provide a true “end-to-end” solution for architects.

 


Award Winning Architectural Proposals that Speak to the Future

An award winning architectural concept for a hydroelectric canal to protect a low-lying harbor area in Boston from flooding and sea level rise. Photo: Paul Lukez Architecture

A recent CNN story showcased this year’s most innovative architectural concepts – they haven’t yet been built, but these designs are being lauded for addressing the biggest challenges facing architects in the next decade, including climate change and aging populations.

The inaugural WAFX Prizes, created in conjunction with the World Architecture Festival (WAF), honor concepts that address sustainability, smart cities, building technology and cultural identity. “Everything architects do is about the future, even if it’s a restoration project,” said WAF’s program director, Paul Finch.

The award winning architectural proposals include a wooden tower in Nigeria, a community food center in Hawaii and an industrial building in Norway repurposed into a greenhouse and social hub. The overall prize went to the US firm Paul Lukez Architecture for its proposed hydroelectric canal in Boston, which also won in the climate, energy and carbon category. Designed to protect Boston’s low-lying harbor area from flooding, the project would restore almost 25 million square feet of salt marshes to create a sustainable neighborhood. In the case of rising tides or storm surges, the canal system would channel water toward recreational parks which double as reservoirs. Hydroelectric turbines would also provide clean energy to residents.

The development would use tides and infrastructure to generate renewable energy — a new urban design that would make this area of Boston more resilient to climate change. The firm believes that their design concepts can be applied to other cities at risk from rising sea levels.


An Award-Winning Project that Includes StoGuard®

Disney Springs won an award for its contractor and kudos for a key vendor on the project: Sto. Photo: Chad Baumer

Disney Springs won an award for its contractor and kudos for a key vendor on the project: Sto. Photo: Chad Baumer

KHS&S is an international design-assist specialty contractor with a portfolio that includes more than 5,000 casino resorts, hospitals, hotels, entertainment venues, retail facilities, theme parks, attractions and public works projects around the country and overseas. Founded in 1984, the firm is now the second largest specialty wall and ceiling contractor in the USA.

At the recent Florida Wall and Ceiling Contractors Association (FWCCA) convention and trade show in Orlando, the company picked up the award for Project of the Year for the work they did on Disney Springs, an elegant shopping, dining and entertainment complex at Florida’s Walt Disney World. A key partner in the KHS&S supply chain? Sto Corp, who provided wall components for two stucco buildings, that included products from its leading air and moisture barrier system: Sto Gold Fill® and StoGuard Mesh, Sto VaporSeal®, Sto TurboStick™ and Sto DrainScreen.

Sto worked with Disney’s architects on the specification details. Now that the work is done, the results speak for themselves.

The Disney Springs design team specified StoGuard for the KHS&S project. Photo: Chad Baumer

The Disney Springs design team specified StoGuard for the KHS&S project. Photo: Chad Baumer

StoGuard

The handsome brick facing was constructed using StoGuard Vaporseal for protection. Photo: Chad Baumer


The First Sustainable Tourist City in the World Planned in Mexico

Amaitlan is a new tourist city being planned along the Mexican coast that will be totally sustainable.

With its cultural heritage, endless beaches and amazing landscapes, Mexico is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world. It will soon be home to the world’s first sustainable tourist city.

The new city will be called Amaitlán which means “The Land of Rest” in Nahuatl – a Uto-Aztecan language native to Central Mexico. It is being built near Mazatlan on the Pacific coast of Mexico.

Amaitlán will boast a “tropical architecture” with green technologies and renewable energies, extensive recycling, residue management, green recreational areas, clean transportation and an environmentally friendly lifestyle for its residents and visitors. The city’s residential areas, recreational zones, hotels, parks, schools and hospitals will cover close to  5000 acres.  It’s estimated that the project will create over 370,000 jobs.

Architect Jaime Lerner is the master mind behind the master plan. Lerner, who has been recognized by the United Nations as the “greatest urbanist humankind has ever seen”, hopes that this project will prove that a balance between environment, society and quality of life can be achieved, and that these elements are not necessarily contradictory.