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Urban Research Banks Against Beige

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

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Could a blue bridge bring more cash to a city’s coffers than a brown bridge? New global research funded by AkzoNobel will put that proposition to the test.

Led by the architecture firm OMA (Office of Metropolitan Architecture) and drawing on a host of partners, the research project aims to provide insight for architects, developers, city authorities, citizens and others.

color in architecture
Our Human Cities / AkzoNobel

Color "has a distinct impact on all the variables that determine the vitality of a city: social, cultural and economic," according to Rem Koolhaas, co-founder of OMA, which will lead the study.

The study is one aspect of AkzoNobel’s new Human Cities initiative, according to an announcement made Friday (June 6).

The Human Cities Manifesto contains six principles (in this order) for urban transformation worldwide:

  • Cities should be more colorful.
  • Urban heritage needs to be embraced.
  • People must connect to make cities come alive (the company's case for effective, sustainable infrastructure).
  • Education should be a city's lifeblood.
  • Citizens need space to rest and play.
  • Urban design must consider climate change.

The Impact of Color

Rem Koolhaas, a co-founder of OMA, says the link between color and our emotional reaction to the built environment is well established.

Seattle Public Library
Bobak Ha'Eri / Wikimedia Commons

OMA's design work in the U.S. includes the Seattle Public Library.

“But it doesn't stop there,” he said. “In affecting our perceptions, color has a distinct impact on all the variables that determine the vitality of the city: social, cultural and economic.

“By combining our expertise with AkzoNobel, we're hoping to produce a study that will provide important insights to all key players in the urban environment.”

Color consultant Jill Pilaroscia recently made a similar case for the economic impact of color in the built environment at D+D 2014 ("Hue Knew? Why Building Color Matters").

Influencing Urban Transformation

Added AkzoNobel’s CEO Ton Büchner, “We believe that our new research partnership with OMA will make a significant contribution to creating more 'human' urban environments for the world's citizens.”

Sydney Harbour Bridge
AkzoNobel

Efficient, sustainable infrastructure is a foundation of AkzoNobel's "Our Human Cities Manifesto." The company cites the Sydney Harbour Bridge as an example.

“Given that 60 percent of our products are in the Buildings and Infrastructure and Transportation end-user segments, AkzoNobel has an important influence on the process of urban transformation that's currently taking place,” he said.

The partnership by the two Dutch companies was announced at the 14th International Architecture Exhibition of la Biennale di Venezia, curated this year by Koolhaas.

Human Cities Initiative

The Human Cities initiative highlights the company’s commitment to “improving, energizing and regenerating urban communities” around the world.

Our Human Cities / AkzoNobel

Urban built environments must address climate change, according to AkzoNobel.

Human Cities builds on a few existing AkzoNobel activities, such as its employee-led Community Program, Let's Colour program and Art Foundation. It also builds on the company’s work with external partners, such as the Rijksmuseum, UNESCO and the Cruyff Foundation.

More information: www.akzonobel.com/humancities.

   

Tagged categories: Aesthetics; AkzoNobel; Architects; Architectural coatings; Coating Materials; Color; Economy; Infrastructure; Research; Urban Planning

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