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Dionysos på Årsta torg: färgfrågan i svensk efterkrigsarkitektur
KTH, School of Architecture and the Built Environment (ABE), Architecture.
2006 (Swedish)Licentiate thesis, monograph (Other scientific)
Abstract [en]

The overall aim of the thesis is to discuss cultural significations and notions of colour in Swedish post-war architecture. More specifically, the purpose is to analyse the question of colour in architecture linked to the polychrome walls of Årsta Community Centre, including background, intentions, cultural context and debate.

Årsta Community Centre, situated just south of Stockholm, was built in 1947-53. The buildings as well as the colourful paintings covering the walls facing the square were designed by architects and brothers Erik and Tore Ahlsén. Newspapers and journals showed a clear indignation concerning the colourful exterior walls. Why did the polychrome walls at Årsta raise so much attention and cause such criticism? And how are these reactions related to contemporary ideas of colour in architecture in general?

The thesis is divided into six chapters. The introductory chapter is followed by a historical retrospect with examples of use and notions of colour in architecture, in order to present a prelude to post-war thoughts and design. This text leads up to two central concepts developed for this thesis: Structural and independent colour effect. The third chapter presents Årsta Community Centre with focus on the polychrome walls at Årsta square, analysing the role of the architects and the cultural and social environment in which they were interacting. Special attention is paid to the important inspiration provided by the thoughts of the Danish artist and writer Asger Jorn. The forth chapter deals with the critique of Årsta square as well as arguments in contemporary debates concerning colour in architecture (as for example in the Apollo and Dionysus-debate). Chapter five discusses the role of independent colour effect in art and architecture of the 1940´s and 50´s related to examples of contemporary ideas and use of history.

The conclusions of the study are presented in the sixth chapter. It contains an interpretation of the polychrome space, mainly focusing on two themes: The first is the understanding of the square as a theatre, based on historical social and urban patterns. The second is the suggestion of a modernistic language of colour and architecture for common man that is universal and time-less, challenging established social and material hierarchies. The thesis finishes with an analysis and a summary point by point of the critique directed at the colours of Årsta Community Centre with main emphasis on the underlaying political motives.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Arkitekturskolan , 2006. , 133 p.
Trita-ARK. Forskningspublikationer, ISSN 1402-7453 ; 2006:12
Keyword [en]
architecture, history of architecture, colour in architecture, architectural debate, modernism, Dionysus, environmental colour design, cultural history, post-war architecture, monumental art, community centre, Erik Ahlsén, Tore Ahlsén, Asger Jorn, Årsta, Stockholm, Sweden, 20th century.
National Category
Architectural Engineering
URN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-4258ISBN: 978-91-7178-536-7OAI: diva2:11494
2006-12-20, Sal E2, KTH, Lindstedsvägen 3, Stockholm, 15:00

QC 20101112

Available from: 2007-01-08 Created: 2007-01-08 Last updated: 2013-06-20Bibliographically approved

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