The use of colour in history has gone through a long story. It has been used because of its ability in altering mood and atmosphere, and also because of its symbolic meanings. The earliest known usage of colour in interior spaces started when man drew on walls of caves and tombs, which continues with the application on cathedrals, palaces, and ordinary homes. However, despite the usage in daily life, there’re times when the potential of colour is forgotten. Few causes such as the movement Minimalism and the term ‘chromophobia’ are part of it. But considering its ability in altering perception of space and creating direct connection with the user, should we re-examine the use of colour in modern architecture in order to prove its value? The usage of colour has been involved in the architectural development in ancient Egypt and Greece. It has been used mostly because of the association of colour with certain symbolism in the cultures. Ancient Egypt, one of the most documented civilizations, used paintings on walls and ceilings in order to tell the story of their civilization, from daily life to battle scenes. Earth pigments are used in creating these paintings – red, yellow ochre, also green, blue, purple, black, white, and gray. Each colour is used to symbolise certain aspects, for example red ochre for skin colour of men, while yellow is used for the women. While in the Greece history, the Palace of Knossos, is a distinct example of the use of colour in its architecture. The most outstanding feature in the building is its large red and black columns (Rompilla, Ethel, 2005). Palace of Knossos
Based on these examples, we realize that colour can be used to create certain effects in its application, either symbolically or structurally. In the Palace of Knossos, colour is able to manipulate the appearance of the building. The colour red and black applied creates a distinct feature in the building. Even in its usage in symbolism, colour creates relation with certain people. This kind of occurrence, relation between colour and certain culture, still lives nowadays. We can see how certain culture is associated with certain colour. For example, the Japanese is often associated with the subtlety of white and blue. On the other hand, Mexico is associated with brighter colour tones. For these people, the colour chosen can serve as a connection between them and their culture and therefore its application is more than just decoration. This is one of the aspects which can be used as a consideration in applying colour in architecture. The colours in Japan culture ( left ) and Mexico ( right )
Association with culture and impact on structure will contribute on how objects and spaces perceived by the viewer. More on this issue will be examined thoroughly in the next chapters. THE REDISCOVERY OF COLOUR : Towards a Dynamic Architecture
Colour Throughout History
Considering the importance of colour in everyday life, to observe what has been done in its usage in the past, is part of knowing to what extent colour has achieved in its application. Therefore, the following is an observation on the role of colour in three ancient civilization, Egypt, Greece, and Rome. The observation will focus on the role of colour not only in its symbolic meaning to a particular culture, but also in terms of creation of arts. These include paintings, ceramics, sculpture, and also architecture. 1.Egypt
Egyptian civilization,(3000-500 B.C.E), had developed an advanced creation in arts. Colour, was used as an integral part in the process. The colours of the Egyptian were obtained from finely ground minerals, and mixed with a tempera base, material prepared from glue or egg albumen. In the later time, they began to get colour pigments from inorganic sources, too. The ten basic colours being used by the Egyptians are white, gray, yellow, burnt umber, brown, red, green, blue, violet, and black. In portrait paintings,...