Why architects hate colors?

When you type “why do architects” into google search, things that pop out might be quite shocking, here the top 5;

  • why do architects use the golden ratio (that is not the scary part yet)
  • why do architects work long hours (here it starts)
  • why do architects get paid so little (should I change the field of study?)
  • why do architects wear black (might be a good topic for someday – note to myself)
  • why do architects hate colours (okay, I made it up, but if google showed more, I bet that one would be in top 10 searches)

And the one I made up (that means the topic today was completely made up, don´t blame me I have the best intentions) is what I would like to think about today.

See those colours? Those are tools of the interior designer, not an architect, so do not confuse yourself. If you are (or you want to be) an architect, do not worry, you won´t need these. That is so flamboyant and unnecessary (e.g. in architects dresser).


But why do architects seem to hate colours? Is it something they teach at the universities? Since I do not study architecture, but rather Architectural technology and Construction Management (from now on “ATCM” since I am lazy – and yes, that is an official shortcut) I must say I do not know. All we talk about are materials, connections, schedules and numbers of all kinds. Even though I must say that for this semester project, we used EXACTLY what would most of the architects probably use. Our colour palette is very decent, just a bit of white there (Danish people love white, since they say it is rarely sunny here up north and they want to lighten up the interiors) and a dash of grey, light wood, and teeny tiny brownish hue (fancy archispeak for color) in some rooms.

Basement palette

Pallete 2

Ground floor palettepalete 3

First floor palletepallete 1

Why did we choose these? It might seem like architects are lazy or worse… BORING !!! But no wait, that can´t be true, let´s continue with analyses. What colour do you like? Do you like wearing bright colours? Do you like colourful furniture, pillows or dishware? I believe you do. And our imaginary house can accommodate your needs. I get it now! What is a space for the architect, is also the canvas for people occupying the space. Architects are the ones that are creating the stage for daily episodes of life.small-easel-with-a-blank-canvas-1385377654QWM

Architects are an observant bunch and know that everybody is different, and therefore they make sure that everybody can bring piece of themself, as a dash of brush on a canvas. Lady in a bright yellow jacket, boy in a blue T-shirt, old gentleman in tweed vest, all of them are little dots making the bigger picture, society.

Okay, I got little too philosophical, but you get the picture (insert laughter). When we are creating a building of any kind we must accommodate different programmes inside and when we want to include different colours, it is easy to make a misstep. To be on the safe side, we should only use subtle colours, no colours at all or when we want to go wild, we can come up with some monochromatic palette (i.e. different shades of the same colour), but still only on your own responsibility – I warned you.

As you can see nothing is black and white (see the joke?) and with a painful process possibly ending in failure lot of effort, you theoretically can make a nice space which will even contain some colours. But don´t blame me for sticking with black/grey/white and everything that comes in between, since I am not that suicidal brave.



PS. When I will get home I will add a picture I sketched some time ago which inspired today´s big question.

Edit: Here it is, not so pretty sketch, from some time ago with a note

“Building is a canvas, that´s why architects favourite colours are white, grey and black”



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