Colour in the built environment.

The  world is  beautiful  because    unlike  a black and white television, it is  a full manifestation of all shades  and  tones  of colours .In the  same    way , to  improve the aesthetic  appeal of the  built  environment  we  use  colours  tastefully  ,so that  they  reinforce each other, rather than   clash. This   adds  a  desired  atmosphere  of  say  cosiness and  quiet excitement  that  may  transforms a house  to  a  home. Colour choice  come into play  when buying  the paints, wood stains and vanishes  to  applied  to  area  such as walls, floor,   ceiling and  sanitary  fitting .This  in turn will determine the colour  of carpets, fabrics, wall  covering  and  furniture  that may be deployed  in the  house.

While there are hundreds of colour shades such as Flake grey, Magnolia, and Lavender, it’s generally   assumed that people with normal vision see   six pure colours, namely Yellow, Red, Blue, Green, White and Black.

Colour has three main attributes hue, light reflectance value and Chroma.

Hue is derived from the eight divisions   of the colour spectrum as shown below.

  1. RR-Magenta to Red.
  2. YR-Red to Orange.
  3. YY-Orange, Yellow to Lime.
  4. GY-Lime to Green.
  5. GG-Green to Turquoise.
  6. BC-Turquoise to Blue.
  7. BB-Blue, Purple to Violet.
  8. RB-Violet to Magenta.


Light reflectance value measures the lightness or darkness of colour. So  we  have  light  green or  dark green colour.Chroma  refers  to the  measure  of the colour  saturation or  intensity. The colour intensity will range from neutral grey to the most intense full Chroma. Also   colour  appear  different   according  to  surface  material   to  which    the colour is  applied. For example colour on paper and a fabric will look and feel differently.

Thus ,colour  important  element in  building construction ,  because it  gives  the tail  end  of building  construction work and finishings that  great look. Typical applied finishes are paints, wood stains and Varnishes.

©Copyright 2017

Sources: Materials for Architects and Builders by Arthur Lyons PhD.



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