Colouring in the black and greys of skyscraper design

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Colouring in the black and greys of skyscraper design

One young architectural firm committed to injecting smart, effective colour into the city is Berlin-based Sauerbruch Hutton. A couple of years ago, Toronto got a chance to hear what this critically celebrated office was up to, when Matthias Sauerbruch, co-founder (with Louisa Hutton) of the 100-person company, spoke at a local design exposition.

I asked the architect why we don’t see more colour in the contemporary cityscape.

He replied: “In postmodern times” – roughly 1970 to 1990 – “there was a lot of colour in a Pop Art sort of way, garish sometimes. The use of colour was meant to be a shock, a departure from the good manners of modernism. Then, there was a reaction against that, in neo-modernism and minimalism, in polite white surfaces. Now colour is slowly, slowly coming back, as a way of tuning buildings, almost like you would tune an instrument – slightly shifting their appearance, their identity, their atmospheric quality. Like music, colour can be horrible, it can be noise. But it can also be a symphony.” […]