Colour Strategies in Architecture


Fiona McLachlan
University of Edinburgh


Portfolio, Practice based, colour, architecture


This practice-led research portfolio includes the book Colour Strategies in Architecture, original artworks and the design of nine installations of an exhibition that toured 10 venues. The research offers new insights into the strategic use of colour in architecture through field investigation of a series of buildings designed between the 1920s and the present day, by six architectural practices. New research methods have been established to make ‘close readings’ through observation of the colours used in the buildings, followed by an interdisciplinary discursive analysis of the palettes, location and extents of the colour. The fieldwork observations and documented palettes were synthesised with research from texts and photographic records. The proposed strategies are intended to be transferable into architectural design practice to promote a greater integration of colour within the design process. The use of hand-paintings and collage as part of a visual research methodology is suggested as a technique that embeds the development of new knowledge through making and designerly analysis. The method of production of these images became an inherent part of the research. The images are therefore both the research, and one of the means through which the research findings are communicated to the audience. Colour Strategies in Architecture has been published as a second edition in German, Farbstrategien in der Architektur.

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2 May 2024


Additional Copyright Information:

All text in this portfolio is under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0) licence. This means you are free to share and adapt this content provided you give appropriate credit, provide a link to the license, and indicate if changes were made. All images in this portfolio are All Rights Reserved. This means the authors retain copyright over original work and it is not permitted to copy or redistribute these images.


Creative Commons License

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.