1(7)/2000, p. 113

Anna Markowska
Colour in architecture in the period between the two world wars. Colouristic dictatorship or voluntary choice?

    Two methods of designing have been presented, leading to the same goal which was to make the city colourful. Colouristic dictatorship or counsel based on voluntary choice?
    The experiences of Wrocław and Frankfurt-on-Main showed that two ways turned out to be effective. Due to the action Colourful town – Die Farbige Stadt in the years 1925-1930, many German towns acquired new, picturesque features.
    Undoubtedly, the movement for colour owes its existence to architects, pioneers in the sphere of designing colouristics. Especially Bruno Taut and Ernst May with their popularizing activity and experimental projects drew attention to the problem of relationship between architecture and colour.
    Each time, an important role was also played by the building authorities in creating the artistic form of towns by supporting the colouristic movement and through displaying initiative in its appropriate organization.
    The problem of town colour planning still seems to be current. Should it be organized authoritatively by designing the colour of particular town fragments (urbanistic complexes) – presenting propositions through holding competitions, or should colour planning be carried out in institutions specifically called into being with this in aim. It should of course be stressed that these methods may prove deceptive in the case of monumental objects whose colour should be determined not so much from the point of view of aesthetics but through taking into consideration the results of specialistic studies of conservation methods.
    In the instance of architecture from the period between the two world wars there have survived discriptive materials which may be helpful, in the case of larger urbanistic complexes, in recreating the colour.
    In the conservation of housing estates from the twenties it also seems important to draw attention to the colour of the coat of paint of door and window woodwork and maintaining its divisions, which were keenly studied by architects.