Urban Light and Color

In Colour for Architecture, published in 1976, the editors, Tom Porter and Byron Mikellides, explain that their book was “produced out of an awareness that colour, as a basic and vital force, is lacking from the built environment and that our knowledge of it is isolated and limited.”1 Lack of urban color was then especially salient in Britain—where the book was published—which had just begun to recoil at the Brutalist legacy of angular stained gray concrete strewn across the postwar landscape. Perhaps because the most urgent need was to inject some hue into this architectural dystopia, one of the main innovations illustrated in the book involves nothing more than cans of paint. Dull unfinished concrete façades, the interior of a subway station, a cement works, and so on, are shown enlivened by fields of bright color.
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