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From Pastel Pink to Pastel Blue: Why Colorful Architecture is Nothing New

In this essay by the British architect and academic Dr. Timothy Brittain-Catlin, the fascinating journey that color has taken throughout history to the present day—oscillating between religious virtuosity and puritan fear—is unpicked and explained. You can read Brittain-Catlin's essay on British postmodernism, here.

Like blushing virgins, the better architecture students of about ten years ago started to use coy colors in their drawings: pastel pink, pastel blue, pastel green; quite a lot of grey, some gold: a little like the least-bad wrapping paper from a high street store. Now step back and look at a real colored building – William Butterfield’s All Saints’ Church, Margaret Street, London, or Keble College, Oxford, or the interior of A.W.N. Pugin’s church of St. Giles in Cheadle, UK. They blow you away with blasts of unabashed, rich color covering every square millimetre of the space.

Beautifully-Designed, Downloadable Bauhaus Architecture Books

Last year Monoskop delighted the architecture and art community by making many of the Bauhaus publications available to freely download. As a perennial fan of all types of architecture communication, I had previously written about the exceptional qualities of Bauhaus-produced books and journals and how these visual teaching tools ultimately influenced more recent, canonical publications. Below we share an edited excerpt from “Architects’ Books: Le Corbusier and The Bauhaus,” a chapter from the larger research project, Redefining The Monograph: The Publications of OMA and Rem Koolhaas.

To access Monoskop’s treasure trove, which includes titles by visionaries such as Walter Gropius, László Moholy-Nagy, Wassily Kandinsky, Paul Klee, and others, visit Monoskop's Bauhaus archive.

As the Bauhaus operated in a generally experimental and revolutionary status, the information taught was not unified in any particularly accessible form. The Bauhausbücher were produced in order to expose the elements of the Bauhaus education to the original, small student body. These books later proved invaluable when the school was closed by the National Socialist Government in 1933, their contents holding authentic records of Bauhaus education. Merging theory and practice, the books, designed by Moholy-Nagy, are a testament to his creative ideas. He saw traditional forms of information dissemination as supplying information to students without stressing the relevance and relationship to the world in which they were living. His books sought to clarify these relationships through stimulating images and insightful (though at times lengthy and ethereal) text.