Colour Composition and Visual Tectonics in Facades; Adapting Colour Teaching to Current Architectural Practice


  • Kine Angelo Norwegian University of Science and Technology
  • Alex Booker Norwegian University of Science and Technology



colour in architecture, colour theory, façade design, advancing and receding colours


In Norway, this last decade has seen a steadily increasing demand for knowledge of how to use colour in an architectural context, and this paper will focus on the application of colour theory in building façade design. In architecture, colour theory is a body of practical guidance to  the visual effects of a specific colour combination creating a logical structure for colour, how we can organize them, and how colours can be used to enhance architectonic intent. Current architectural education largely focusses on the tectonic, as in relating to building and construction, and on the formal aspects of the visual tectonic, but until very recently, the teaching has devoted little focus to the visual tectonics of colour. As most research estimates that approximately eighty percent of our perception, learning, cognition, and activities are mediated through vision, with form and colour being a key feature, it could be argued that we should put more emphasis on the visual qualities of colour of architecture, i.e., inherent or applied. This paper will discuss how developing an under-standing of colour theory and implementation relevant to architectural education and practice in Norway is changing both students and professional practitioners’ attitudes towards the use of colour in architectural projects, giving examples from the recent years colour teaching at NTNU and professional implementation by the authors.

Author Biography

  • Alex Booker, Norwegian University of Science and Technology

    Professor at Department of Architecture and technology, Faculty of Architecture and Design, University of science and technology, Trondheim, Norway.


Angelo, K. and Booker, A. (2018) S>C – Proposing a formula for Harmonic Urban Colour Composition, AIC Proceedings, Color and Human Comfort, Lisbon, Interim Meeting of the International Color Association.

Fridell Anter, K. (2000) What Colour is the Red House? Perceived Colour of Painted Facades. Stockholm: Trita-ARK Akademisk avhandling.

Maulden, R. (1986) Tectonics in Architecture – from the physical to the meta-physical. Thesis (M.Arch.). Cambridge: Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Dept. of Architecture.

Ostwald, W. (1969) The color primer: A basic treatise on the color system of Wilhelm Ostwald. New York: Van Nostrand Reinhold Co.

Scruton, R. (1979) The Aesthetics of Architecture. London: Methuen, p. 190.







How to Cite

“Colour Composition and Visual Tectonics in Facades; Adapting Colour Teaching to Current Architectural Practice” (2024) Cultura e Scienza del Colore - Color Culture and Science, 16(01), pp. 65–71. doi:10.23738/CCSJ.160107.