The Importance of Art in Architecture


The Midtown North Community Mural, in Reston, Virginia, was designed by Reston artist Dana Scheurer. It was executed in 2013 by Artifice, Inc. using Keim mineral paint on a parged cement surface, 20 feet high x 23 feet wide.

Building designers consider not only the functionality of a structure but how it will appeal emotionally to tenants and visitors. Art can be an inspiring component of architecture and design. It can make a building more welcoming, more intriguing and more relevant to the community and society. Perhaps most important, murals and other forms of public art can bring meaningful vibrancy to exterior and interior spaces.

Murals are some of the strongest statements an artist can make on an architectural canvas, and nothing is more critical to a mural’s longevity and color fastness than the paint used to create it. Keim has had a long history — dating back to 1878 — of providing mineral paints, stains and glazes to makers of public art. The company’s oldest paint projects are part of the fabric of historic neighborhoods and their most beautiful buildings. Learn more about these heritage murals here.

Today, Keim Mineral-Art Artist Paints and Glazes incorporate over a century of research, development and artistic influence to deliver high-performance paints with exceptional durability. Following are examples of the impact of the visual arts on building renovation and new construction. Learn more here.

A trompe l'oeil painting, completed in 2007, decorates the former Board of Education building at 110 Livingston Street, Brooklyn, New York. “I think a mural can change a neighborhood in many ways,” said Richard Haas, the mural’s creator, “because it begins to make people aware of what the beauty is that surrounds them.” 





A recent renovation of an 80s-era housing project in Langen, Germany, has transformed a once-maligned eyesore into a source of true community pride. The newly decorated brick façade has become the symbol of this town, blending into the surrounding landscape with a compelling pixelated “sky” and realistic flora. The Keim mineral silicate finish is lightfast, weather resistant and breathable and is expected to last for decades without fading or peeling. See the project here. 





The Fair-Haired Dumbbell office building, with ground-floor retail, is in the heart of the Burnside Bridgehead in Portland, Oregon. At the eastside intersection of Burnside Street and the Willamette River, the Bridgehead is home to some of Portland's most exciting new architecture and development. The Fair-Haired Dumbbell sits squarely in the center of the action and doesn't shy away from attention. The project consists of two canted six-story towers decked in hand-painted original artwork on all eight of its elevations. No two elevations are the same. Tenants and visitors alike will be greeted by the colorful and engaging façade. The work was painted in Keim Soldalit All Surface Sol-Silicate Finish and Design Lasur/Stain by local artist Dan Cohen. See the project here. photo: guerilla development co.

One of Keim's first mural applications, the Schwyz City Hall in Schwyz, Switzerland, was painted in 1883 with Keim mineral silicate paints. Today, the colors remain vibrant, despite the harsh U.V. exposure of its Alpine climate in the Alps. Only two touch-ups have been conducted in the ensuing 135 years, both times with a fresh finish of clear potassium silicate binder only.

The iconography (left) at the Holy Ascension Orthodox Church, Mount Pleasant, South Carolina, is by Dmitry Shkolnik, executed by Vladimir Grygorenko. The Astoria Column (right), built in Astoria, Oregon, 1926, was added to the Register of National Historic Places in 1974. The spiral graffito frieze was painted by Electus D. Litchfield and Attilio Pusterla. The mural shows 14 significant events in the early history of Oregon with a focus on Astoria's role, including Captain Gray's discovery of the Columbia River in 1792 and the Lewis & Clark Expedition. PHOTOs: (left) COURTESY OF ANDREW GOULD, NEWWORLDBYZANTINE.COM; (right) © 2018, KEIM MINERAL COATINGS INC.

*Claims or positions expressed by sponsoring authors do not necessarily reflect the views of TPC, Durability + Design or its editors.




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