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Den levande väggen: Färg och arkitektur i svenskt 1970-tal
KTH, School of Architecture and the Built Environment (ABE), Architecture, History and Theory of Architecture.
2011 (Swedish)Doctoral thesis, monograph (Other academic)Alternative title
The living wall : Colour and architecture in 1970s Sweden (English)
Abstract [en]

The 1970s in Sweden saw a distinct change of attitude concerning colour inarchitecture, from strong primary colours, grey concrete and brick at the beginning of the decade to a lighter, more nuanced palette of pink and yellow towards the end of it. From being a significant token in a broader popular movement with commercial overtones, colour, as the decade went on, increasingly demanded a professional approach. The thesis addresses colour in architecture as a cultural phenomena, amenable to interpretation. In the analysis, colour can consequently be used as a tool for understanding 1970s architecture within a social context.

The hypothesis is that colour in architecture served a very definite purpose in1970s Swedish society, through its inclusion in the rethink on how good architecture and surroundings should be designed so as to endow them with meaning and significance in peopleʼs lives. In this process the architectural discourse was partly emancipated from the mainstream social discourse, which can be perceived as a deliberate strategy for addressing and controlling new problems and issues.

The “forgotten sides” of human existence, as they were termed in the 1970s, were seen to be represented in Anthroposophy, which, through its colourful Centre at Järna, offered an architecture of individuality indicating a contrasting alternative to rational, systematised construction. Parts of the anthroposophical discourse were imported into a wider architectural discourse, of which they subsequently became a natural ingredient.

The debate on architecture in the 1970s was very much concerned with managing the legacy of discussions in previous decades. During the 1960s, good architecture in professional contexts had generally meant design adapted to modes of production, the handling of large volumes, additive vocabulary and modular repetition. The reaction against this way of defining good architecture came out into the open during the 1970s. The focus on colour in the 1970s helped to build a bridge and unleash a new discussion on how architecture and habitats should be designed in order to acquire significance in peopleʼs lives. The choices of colours underlining the expressions of structure, authenticity and collective was gradually replaced by a striving for harmonic space, tradition and individuality.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: KTH Royal Institute of Technology , 2011. , 239 p.
Trita-ARK. Akademisk avhandling, ISSN 1402-7461 ; 11:01
National Category
Architectural Engineering
URN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-38548ISBN: 978-91-7501-004-5ISBN: 978-91-7844-831-9OAI: diva2:437308
Public defence
2011-09-09, F3, Lindstedsvägen 26, KTH, Stockholm, 10:00 (Swedish)
QC 20110829Available from: 2011-08-29 Created: 2011-08-29 Last updated: 2011-08-31Bibliographically approved

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