Paleo Retiree writes:
Why don’t people — including critics — complain more than they do about the colorlessness of so much of what’s being designed and built these days? It’s a question that seldom comes up but that has always leaped out at me: What’s with all the white, black and gray buildings anyway? It’s not that white, black and gray weren’t used in traditional and classical architecture; they were. But in the old days they were part of a very expansive palette. (It’s peculiar that the Bad Old Days are often associated with racism and fascism because, so far as architectural color and style went, they were far more diverse than today’s world.) Yet the colorlessness of much chic architecture isn’t only seldom discussed, it’s seldom even noticed. Time to correct that.
Here’s a snap I took the other day near the West 14th Street Apple Store.
It was an overcast day so the colors weren’t screaming. Even so: Compare the colors of the older buildings — the gold/tan of the building in the lower left and the red/orange/brown of the building in the upper left — to the black-and-gray of the all-too-typical recent addition. Which makes for the richer visual experience?
Since I often find that many people aren’t used to thinking of bricks and stones as having colors, and since I want to drive my point home here, I’ve treated myself to some fun with the eyedropper and paintbucket tools. Lower left / new addition / upper left:
On the left and right: loads of muted, earthy color. In the middle: all the warmth and appealingness of wet charcoal.
And don’t get me started on the topic of the sensuality of brick and stone vs. the cold impersonality of metal and glass …
Another example, shot on the same dull day:
- Blowhard, Esq. is a fan of the way neon signs enliven the visual atmosphere.
- I gabbed about color (and some other general topics) in this epic, if I do say so myself, posting about Nevada City.
- I see that the Kindle version of James Howard Kunstler’s great “Geography of Nowhere” can be had for $3.99. Now that’s a sensible way to price an ebook.
- Dallas comes up with a seriously wacky way to solve a shiny-curved-building/death-ray problem. (Link thanks to Will S.) Here’s another way to take the problem on: How about not designing and constructing shiny, curved buildings in the first place? What do you think: Too radical?