Why Are Architects Sick For Green-Green? | Yellowtrace

 

If you’re an architect who’s had the great pleasure of working with me at some stage over the last 16 or so years (I know, I’m so hilarious and modest), chances are – I’ve paid you out many a time about your irrational fear of colour. I realise that this is not a groundbreaking observation, but rather a well known fact. Ok, so it’s also a gross generalisation stating that all architects fear or dislike colour, just like saying that architects like wearing black, they are partial to a healthy dose of cardigan action, regularly sport black-rimmed glasses, and opt for leather accessories in the following shades – black, black or black. Exactly – I’m totally exaggerating right now. Having said all this, I’ve been noticing a peculiar phenomenon in architecture both here and overseas which has me scratching my head juuuust a little. There happens to be one colour (other than “concrete”) that sits at the top of architect’s list. Green. Architects like using green on all kinds of projects – from homes to schools, office towers, shops, hospitals and interiors. They also specify green in it’s many shades – from acid (definitely a fave) through to pastels (probably chosen by an interior designer in the team). Their application of green appears anywhere from deliberate linear accents, all the way trough to entire interiors and/ or buildings being wrapped with it in a more-is-more approach. Hmmm…

In light of this, today’s Story is just a tad different to our usual style. Instead of sharing countless examples of something amazing that’s happening in the world of architecture and/or design, my intention is to pose the following question – Why Are Architects So Sick for Green? In case you think I’m mad and this is something you hadn’t noticed yourself, I hope today’s many examples open your eyes to this fascinating phenomenon. Who knows. If you’re an architect, perhaps after seeing this post you might even consider choosing one of many other colours of the rainbow for your next project. Pretty please?

 

See More ‘Stories on Design’ Curated by Yellowtrace.

 

Les ballets C de la B & LOD Belgium by Architecten De Vylder Vinck Taillieu | Yellowtrace

Les ballets C de la B & LOD Belgium by Architecten De Vylder Vinck Taillieu | Yellowtrace

Les ballets C de la B & LOD Belgium by Architecten De Vylder Vinck Taillieu | Yellowtrace

 

Les Ballets C de la B and LOD in Belgium by Architecten De Vylder Vinck Taillieu // The production studios for the dance company Les Ballets C de la B and music theatre company LOD are situated along the river Leie. In a cunning move by architects De Vylder Vinck Taillieu, the building’s steel structure is highlighted in an acid green that perfectly offsets the bricks and the concrete, creating a fresh aesthetic.


 

Social Services Center by Dosmasuno Arquitectos | Yellowtrace

Social Services Center by Dosmasuno Arquitectos | Yellowtrace

Social Services Center by Dosmasuno Arquitectos | Yellowtrace

Social Services Center by Dosmasuno Arquitectos | Yellowtrace
Photography by Miguel de Guzman.

 

Social Services Center by Dosmasuno Arquitectos // Madrid-based Dosmasuno Arquitectos have completed this community building in Móstoles, an area outside the city of Madrid. Presenting minimal restraints as the immediate surroundings are currently being developed, the structure is oriented to primarily address environmental issues and also respond to its future neighbours. Using traditional methods instead of technology driven systems, the placement of programmed spaces and internal circulation creates a compact interior which minimises maintenance. Using the maximum area for the site, the exterior is lightened by removing cubic masses which reveal block of green, producing open and outdoor areas for resting and waiting. Hmmm… Resting? In a room that’s that green? I personally have my reservations with this.


 

Dent Protetyka by Adam Wiercinski Architekt | Yellowtrace

Dent Protetyka by Adam Wiercinski Architekt | Yellowtrace

Dent Protetyka by Adam Wiercinski Architekt | Yellowtrace
Photography © Przemyslaw Turlej.

 

Dent Protetyka by Adam Wiercinski Architekt // The main task of the project was to divide a small room of just 10sqm, to create separate work zone for a dental technician, plus a customer waiting room. A characteristic element of this bright, sterile interior is a green medical cross shape created by cutting the partition on one side, and replicating the reflection on the opposite wall. Clever.


 

Hans House by MOD | Yellowtrace
Photo by Ricky Fung.

 

Hans House in Australia by MODO // This house in Vitoria by Michael Ong of MODO features a subtle hint of green used on the stair balustrade and landing support, providing visual stimulation in an otherwise understated architectural space.


 

Julia Tower by Pau Vidal, Sergi Pons & Ricard Galiana | Yellowtrace

Julia Tower by Pau Vidal, Sergi Pons & Ricard Galiana | Yellowtrace
Photo by Adrià Goula.

 

Julia Tower by Pau Vidal, Sergi Pons & Ricard Galiana // Bright shades of yellow and green help elderly people find their way around this 17-storey housing block in Barcelona by Spanish architects Pau Vidal, Sergi Pons and Ricard Galiana. Corridors and staircases wrap the exterior and lead into double-height communal spaces, which were designed to encourage residents to communicate with their neighbours. “The hallways were conceived as streets,” explained Pons.


 

The Helix Staircase by Matter Design | Yellowtrace
Photo by Brandon Clifford.

 

The Helix Staircase by Matter Design // The feature of this image is the half-scale model of a spiral staircase by American studio Matter Design, made from concrete treads that slip neatly over each other. I, however, wish to bring your attention to that green folded steel stair. Interesting. Definitely not hating it.


 

Primary School & Nursery in the Claude Bernard ZAC by Atelier dArchitecture Brenac Gonzalez | Yellowtrace
Photo © Sergio Grazia.

 

Primary School & Nursery in the Claude Bernard ZAC by Atelier d’Architecture Brenac Gonzalez // Unlike the stair shown above, this one I struggle with somewhat. Overcomplicated much? Although, on second thoughts, when I take into account that this space is designed for young children, I start to think they’d probably imagine the experience of travelling up and down similar to passing thorough the guts of a green dinosaur, or something… Then all of a sudden this stair becomes a lot more palatable. Sorry about that visual though…


 

Knox Innovation Centre by Woods Bagot | Yellowtrace

Knox Innovation Centre by Woods Bagot | Yellowtrace
Photos © Peter Bennetts.

 

Knox Innovation Opportunity and Sustainability Centre by Woods Bagot // The design of this building reflects its purpose of operation – sustainability, inclusion and innovation. It’s distinctive facade is part of the sustainability imperative of the design. The large eve acts as a canopy, while the blades serve as a screen, positioned for thermal quality in response to the angle of the sun.


 

Basket Apartments by OFIS Architects | Yellowtrace

Basket Apartments by OFIS Architects | Yellowtrace
Photography © Tomaz Gregoric.

 

Basket Apartments in Paris by OFIS Architects // On the edge of Parc de la Vilette in Paris’s 19th district, modular student housing hides behind a basket-inspired jagged façade designed by Slovenian practice OFIS Arhitekti. Simple strategies were implemented for signage efficiency – chuck some green paint of stair nosing and wall graphics – et voilà!


 

Goethe Institute Temporary Premesis by FAR Frohn&Rojas | Yellowtrace

Goethe Institute Temporary Premesis by FAR Frohn&Rojas | Yellowtrace

Goethe Institute Temporary Premesis by FAR Frohn Rojas | Yellowtrace

Goethe Institute Temporary Premesis by FAR Frohn Rojas | Yellowtrace

Goethe Institute Temporary Premesis by FAR Frohn Rojas | Yellowtrace
Photography © Guy Wenborne.

 

Goethe Institut Temporary Premises by FAR Frohn&Rojas // In February 2010, the building that has historically housed the Goethe-Institute was damaged by an earthquake. The temporary Cultural Institute was installed on an unfinished floor in an office high-rise. The architects took the use of green to the next level in this project all the way to the glow-in-the-dark territory. Nice.


 

Goethe Institute Temporary Premesis by FAR Frohn Rojas | Yellowtrace

Goethe Institute Temporary Premesis by FAR Frohn Rojas | Yellowtrace
Photography © Juan Roldán.

 

Green Core by AGi architects // Green Core is a small residential building set in the Adaiiya neighborhood in Kuwait City. The project comprises 6 apartments which are accessed through an open core that divides the plot into two defined areas: front and rear. This core void is the key element in the design of the building, allowing the natural light to filter through the mesh and into the interior spaces. The void serves as common area designed to “enhance the social living experience as the rest of the program falls into place around it. The green mesh that encases the space softens the light and the harsh climate of the Arabian Gulf, allowing for a pleasant ambience while hosting fertile grounds for vegetation to grow inside a small garden.” Do you buy it? Me neither.


 

Syntes House in Pinto by Dosmasuno Arquitectos | Yellowtrace
Photo © Miguel de Guzmán.

 

Syntes House in Pinto, Spain by dosmasuno arquitectos // This house can be described as a topographic volume – a plinth running along the plot emerging from level -0.90m that’s perforated with three different types of inner courtyards, which provide the dwelling with natural illumination and crossed ventilation. The spaces are united by a lime green handrail that flows around the external space like a ribbon, before launching upwards and into the superstructure to form a series of angled supporting columns.


 

Villa Vonk by VenhoevenCS | Yellowtrace

Villa Vonk by VenhoevenCS | Yellowtrace
Photography © Luuk Kramer.

 

Villa Vonk by VenhoevenCS in The Netherlands // Villa Vonk is a community school with a sports hall, toddlers’ playgroup, after-school care, youth centre and welfare facilities in a multicultural community in Hoogvliet. The playful use of tiles and colour fields in the building exterior and interior alludes to the cultural diversity of the people of the community, and adds to the surprising and inviting atmosphere.


 

HAD Office by Had Architects | Yellowtrace

HAD Office by Had Architects | Yellowtrace
Photography © Tang Jiajun.

 

HAD Office by HAD Architects in China // As the office space for an architectural design company, the interior of HAD office space shows continuous concepts of architectural design – that is, integrating the space by the logic of “construction”, and then showing characteristics of the environment on the basis of space shaping.


 

Sumiyoshi Do Campo Lounge by ID Inc | Yellowtrace
Image courtesy of id inc.

 

Sumiyoshi Do Campo Lounge by ID Inc in Aichi, Japan // Pale green medicine cabinets are stacked up along the walls of this Japanese acupuncture clinic by Tokyo design office id inc. Tiers of mint green cabinets with square drawers are stacked one on top of each other, stretching from the green painted ceiling to a pale timber floor.


 

Famous by Architecten De Vylder Vinck Taillieu | Yellowtrace

Famous by Architecten De Vylder Vinck Taillieu | Yellowtrace
Photography & images courtesy of Filip Dujardin.

 

Famous by Architecten De Vylder Vinck Taillieu // There is so much to love about this spectacularly effortless interior. Architects De Vylder Vinck Taillieu have managed to successfully balance the heritage character of the building, bringing in new elements that create a completely unique aesthetic.

Read the full article about this project & see more image here.


 

Studio R in Sao Paulo by Studio mk27 | Yellowtrace

Studio R in Sao Paulo by Studio mk27 | Yellowtrace

Studio R in Sao Paulo by Studio mk27 | Yellowtrace
Photography © Fernando Guerra.

 

Studio R in Sao Paulo by Studio mk27 // This concrete photography studio in São Paulo by Studio MK27 features two folding walls that allow the garden to be included in shoots. A green formica-clad box runs down one side of the studio and conceals a dressing room, toilet and small equipment room. Lighting in the floor highlights the bold colour of the walls and perforated openings let this light filter inside. A floating staircase is hidden behind it with a skylight directly above.

Read the full article about this project & see more image here.


 

Aesop Berlin Store by Weiss—heiten | Yellowtrace
Image courtesy of Weiss—heiten.

 

Aesop Berlin Store by Weiss—heiten // Weiss—heiten have designed the first signature store in Germany for Australian skin care brand, Aesop. Inspired by Gerhard Richter’s colour studies and monochromatic canvases and by the city’s industrial history and everyday charm, the interior assumes a palette of leaf-green and a quietly clinical aesthetic. Handmade raw concrete tiles cover the walls and floor. Under the sea of green tiles, a near-invisible raw steel structure shows through.

Read the full article about this project & see more image here.


 

Scheeplos House Renovation by De Vylder Vinck Taillieu | Yellowtrace

Scheeplos House Renovation by De Vylder Vinck Taillieu | Yellowtrace
Photography © Filip Dujardin.

 

Scheeplos House Renovation by De Vylder Vinck Taillieu // For this home renovation project in Belgium, De Vylder Vinck Taillieu have employed a simple but an effective strategy of highlighting the steel structure in green, creating a interesting interplay between the existing and the new.


 

Lounge Ms by Vaillo Irigaray Architects | Yellowtrace

Lounge Ms by Vaillo Irigaray Architects | Yellowtrace

Lounge Ms by Vaillo Irigaray Architects | Yellowtrace
Photography © José Manuel Cutillas.

 

Lounge Ms by Vaillo Irigaray Architects in Navarre, Spain // The MS Lounge is a pavilion in Navarra, Spain gets its distinctive look from the airy facade of green “reeds” surrounding it. Designed by architects Vaillo + Irigaray, the structure serves as a pop-up event space that allows guests to feel like they are dining and dancing within a bamboo forest.


 

Casas 2C by Vaillo Irigaray Architects | Yellowtrace

Casas 2C by Vaillo Irigaray Architects | Yellowtrace
Photography © José Manuel Cutillas.

 

Casas 2C by Vaillo Irigaray Architects // Somewhere between the ground and the glass, small courtyards have been released between these two houses, as if they were small air and light bubbles. On the zigzagging glass plinth, small volumes assigned to garages and studios have been sat. The houses suggest a changing image, prompted by the façade crooked geometry and the latticework vertical movement, that offer a meandering screen in the colour of the moment – green.


 

Youth Center in Qingpu New town by Atelier Deshaus | Yellowtrace

Youth Center in Qingpu New town by Atelier Deshaus | Yellowtrace

Youth Center in Qingpu New town by Atelier Deshaus | Yellowtrace
Photography © Yao Li and Zhang Siye.

 

Youth Center in Qingpu New town by Atelier Deshaus // A layer of perforated aluminium cloaks the bright yellow and green exterior of this Shanghai youth centre by Chinese firm Atelier Deshaus. The corrugated metal skin is cut away in places, revealing some but not all of the windows of each building and providing glimpses of the brightly coloured walls behind.


 

Pixel in Beijing Modelroom by SAKO Architects | Yellowtrace
Photo © Ruijing Photo.

 

Pixel Modelroom by SAKO Architects in Beijing, China // This vast project is composed of 10,000 units of commercial suites, residential apartments, and office spaces placed on an area of about 210,000 square meters. 19 residential towers are placed on the site in order to meet the demand for privacy and hours of sunlight. Each tower features a different accent colour to create individual distinction and at the same achieve an overall cohesion for the entire site.


 

Euronews by Jakob + MacFarlane Architects | Yellowtrace

Euronews by Jakob + MacFarlane Architects | Yellowtrace
Photography © Nicolas Borel.

 

Euronews by Jakob + MacFarlane Architects + Fabrice Hyber // Built in Lyon’s docklands, Jakob + MacFarlane’s new headquarters for international news channel Euronews features an acid-green facade punctured by two huge egg-shaped holes. Hyber was responsible for the building’s green aluminium skin, which features a sinuous pattern of openings that allow light and air to filter inside. Blimey! Those poor people who have to work in this building and see this crazy colour every single day…


 

Catch Light Classrooms by LAND Arquitectos | Yellowtrace
Photo © Sergio Pirrone.

 

Catch Light Classrooms in Chile by LAND Arquitectos // This project was built with funds donated by Latin America Holcim Cement company employee’s and Holcim Chile cement company, for the victims of the 8.8 earthquake that struck Chile on February 27th, 2010. The project incorporates design elements that help reduce energy use and make the most of seasonal climate changes, as well as simple construction techniques to achieve this goal. The architects used stimulating colours outside the school, considering that the project is located in a space for children.


 

Social Housing in Madrid by Inaqui Carnicero Architects | Yellowtrace

Social Housing in Madrid by Inaqui Carnicero Architects | Yellowtrace
Images courtesy of Iñaqui Carnicero Architecture Office.

 

Social Housing in Madrid by Inaqui Carnicero Architects // The building’s faceted surface recalls images of a giant rock, and a series of voids penetrate the facade, altering and determining the location of different rooms within each apartment. The intense green colour that was used in various areas of the building was inspired by its adjacent neighbours. In doing so, the L-shaped building becomes a defining corner piece that completes and connects the entire perimeter block.


 

Tony's Farm Offices by Playze | Yellowtrace

Tony's Farm Offices by Playze | Yellowtrace

Tony's Farm Offices by Playze | Yellowtrace

Tony's Farm Offices by Playze | Yellowtrace
Photography © Bartosz Kolonko.

 

Tony’s Farm Offices by Playze // Berlin and Shanghai-based studio Playze stacked up perforated shipping containers to create offices for an organic farm in Shanghai, China. To link the activities of the working people with the visitors of the farm, the building complex combines the main reception, a lobby and a VIP area, with the new offices and an existing warehouse, where the fruits and vegetables are packaged. The building design is driven by the concept of sustainability, and combined with it’s iconic qualities, it communicates and promotes the core values of the company.


 

Nuestra Senora del Rosario School Renovation by Martin Lejarraga | Yellowtrace

Nuestra Senora del Rosario School Renovation by Martin Lejarraga | Yellowtrace
Photography © David Frutos/ BISimages.

 

Nuestra Senora del Rosario School Renovation by Martin Lejarraga in Murcia, Spain // The construction of outdoor furniture emphasised the use of the original courtyard as a natural meeting place for various cultural activities that the building houses. The painted finishes use camouflage patterns to link the soft areas with the hard areas, and clad the building with a domestic character and shades of colour.


 

Bar Central Stockholm by Uglycute | Yellowtrace
Photo © Idha Lindhag.

 

Bar Central Stockholm by Uglycute // Stockholm’s ‘Tankovna’ Bar Central, designed by the local practice Uglycute, is a new take on a fictitious restaurant set somewhere in Central Europe. The hand painted zigzag pattern on the ceiling is also a reference to Bar Centrals sister restaurant, on Södermalm in Stockholm, that has a green and white zigzag terrazzo floor. Super fun, punchy, ballsy and brilliant!

Read the full article about this project & see more image here.


 

About The Author

Dana Tomić Hughes
Founder & Editor
Google+

Dana is an award-winning interior designer living in Sydney, Australia. With an unhealthy passion for design, Dana commits to an abnormal amount of daily design research. Regular travel and attendance at premier design events, enables Dana to stay at the forefront of the design world globally. While she is super serious about design, Dana never takes herself - nor design - too seriously. Together with her life and business partner, Nick Hughes, Dana is Boss Lady at Studio Yellowtrace, specialising in Interior Design, Creative Direction and Special Projects. The studio takes a highly conceptual and holistic approach to translating brands & ideas into places.

8 Responses

  1. Ezabelle

    Liked this post. Gee there’s some clever architects…but not sure about the use of nauseating neon green in some of these projects in such massive amounts…

    Bar Central Stockholm is stunning- particularly that beautiful velvet shade.

    Reply
    • Dana Tomić Hughes
      Dana Tomić Hughes

      Thanks Ezabelle, and totally agree about the masses of acid green – yikes! That was one of the reasons I was compelled to put this together as a little study and a “mirror” of what’s happening.

      Reply
  2. jan dash

    White with green trim looks CLEAN but then so would white with blue. When the % of green gets beyond trim, the people nearby are going to have green tinted skin…and feel sick looking at colleagues. I suppose the exterior green will be okay once it is covered by ivy.

    Reply
    • Dana Tomić Hughes
      Dana Tomić Hughes

      Hi Jan, I agree – many other colours look good as “trims” and “highlights” – orange, red, yellow, blue etc. And I should point out that architects do use these colours as well, but none as much as the colour green – particularly in it’s brighter shades. Time to rethink and revisit, I say.

      Reply
  3. JJK

    It’s because everyone wants green buildings these days (haha).

    In all seriousness why are we always using strong colours? its time for us to get into tinted and unusual colours.

    Building materials don’t help (Colorbond i’m looking at you)

    Also try getting a nice colour past senior architects mostly influenced by modernisim. they didn’t get the memo that the rest of the world has moved on.

    Meanwhile were listening to gold in our offices and looking at Mies for design cues.

    Even Le Corbusier departed from the white/black/grey boxes long ago.

    Reply
    • Dana Tomić Hughes
      Dana Tomić Hughes

      Hahaha! I resisted the “green building” reference, but I’m glad we’re on the same wavelength. Thank you for your observations and your input JJK, much appreciated.

      Reply
  4. JH

    I agree with JJK,
    it must be a mistaken reference to Modernism. I think the “Bauhaus” movement was very influenced by its painters like Itten, Kandinsky and Klee. So i guess they did know something about color. In Architecture they mostly used slightly tinted colors and color used to be an important topic in Bauhaus education too. To be honest i dont know any Bauhaus buildings where they used a bright green color. Instead they focused more on the Red, Blue and Yellow tints.
    Example 01: http://www.bauhaus-dessau.de/picture/upload/image/4_bhd_toerten_20120307_yt_8634.jpg
    Example 02: http://www.bauhaus-shop.de/media/images/popup/10403003_q1.jpg
    This knowledge must be lost after the World War where fast and simple construction was key….
    However, in the US and UK they like earthy colors a lot more and beige is supposed to be the most common color

    Reply

Leave a Reply