Color as a sign of urban transition in the city of Bordeaux

  • Aline Barlet GRECCAU Laboratory, ensapBx, Bordeaux, France
  • Audrey Bousigues GRECCAU Laboratory, ensapBx, Bordeaux, France
  • Alice Herbert GRECCAU Laboratory, ensapBx, Bordeaux, France
Keywords: Color, Architecture, Heritage, Function, Visual Integrity


Color in architecture, despite its functions as a signal, a landmark and a symbol, remains largely absent at both the urban level and at the building level. The trend is towards the color chart, seeking harmony, but which sometimes gives way to monotony. In the case of a heritage city such as Bordeaux, the question of the use of color has also to cope with the UNESCO World Heritage protection of a large part of the city. Actions are limited by a concern for the relationship with what exists already, and as a result, respect for the historic and visual context gives rise to architectures that are discreet, or sometimes even banal. Nevertheless, there are designers in Bordeaux who dare to use color. Most colored buildings are part of a specific program or are in a key location in the city. By analyzing some urban and architectural examples, we show that buildings may be located in places of urban divide or that color may be used to identify a specific function. Logically, the further we move from the historic city center, the more colored buildings we encounter, yet colors nevertheless seem to be complex to manage. However, by determining the predominant colors and identities of a place, it is possible to focus a project more precisely and make it easier for residents to appropriate the space.

Author Biographies

Aline Barlet, GRECCAU Laboratory, ensapBx, Bordeaux, France

Aline Barlet - Environmental psychologist, PhD Psychology - Behavioural Sciences and Social Practices, Master Degree of Architectural and Urban Acoustic. Co- director of the GRECCAU Laboratory, Associate professor at Bordeaux Higher National School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture, France (ENSAP Bordeaux). The research and teaching topics are sustainability issue, comfort and atmospheres and particularly in the fields of territorial consultation, energetic and environmental transition.

Audrey Bousigues, GRECCAU Laboratory, ensapBx, Bordeaux, France

Audrey Bousigues - Architect. Master Degree of Ambiances and Comfort for Architectural and Urban Design.

Alice Herbert, GRECCAU Laboratory, ensapBx, Bordeaux, France

Alice Herbert - Architect. Master Degree of Ambiances and Comfort for Architectural and Urban Design.


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How to Cite
Barlet, A., Bousigues, A. and Herbert, A. (2020) “Color as a sign of urban transition in the city of Bordeaux”, Cultura e Scienza del Colore - Color Culture and Science, 12(01), pp. 18-25. doi: 10.23738/CCSJ.120102.