What Color is Your Favorite Architect?

Oh joy, thecolorof works for architects, too! There are some fascinating results--so many, in fact, that you'll have to travel beyond the jump, as I don't want them mobbing the Where homepage, heh.

Corbu's swatch is, oddly enough, distinctly pastel. While the Frenchman was no stranger to the occasional burst of color, he generally opted for bold primaries. His is by far the most perplexing of this bunch, but it felt wrong to leave him off, so...

Next up is Peter Eisenmen; as it's about 800 degrees in New York right now I've found no reason to venture outside, I spent a good chunk of yesterday afternoon playing with thecolorof. Eisenmen's is my favorite swatch yet. It's angular, ethereal, and undeniably Eisenmen-y; more importantly, it's just plain lovely. There's an iridescence to it that I can't stop coming back to stare at. Digital happenstance at its best.

Gehry's swatch is ever-so-subtly swoop-y. There's a sense of vertical movement that I've often noticed in his buildings: they reach, as if straining to leave the ground. That comes through here nicely.

I love Gilbert's if for no other reason than the fact that the first thing I see when I look at it is the Parthenon. For such an devout Classicist, this seems totally fitting. It's almost eerie, actually.

Rem's is a hot mess, but it's probably one of the most fun of the bunch to look at. Once again: fitting.

Like Gehry's, Niemeyer's swatch feels very dynamic; curvaceous, even. The movement here is more horizontal, as if the colors are floating by.

Nouvel's is a testament to the power that one very public building can have over the popular perception of an architect's career. Well-known within the design world, Nouvel is hardly a household name. Millions of tourists visited his rufescent Serpentine Pavilion in London last summer, though, and the influence of that tiny temporary building on his public profile seems hard to deny, here at least.

The only landscape architect famous enough to generate enough imagery for a decent swatch, Olmsted's looks, as one might expect, like a Monet painting. It's quite serene, no?

It's not perfect, but there's a definite symmetry to Palladio's swatch--no accident when you've layered more than 50 images atop each other. As thecolorof sources its photos from Flickr, they can be taken at any number of angles; the fact that this swatch bears a sort of ghostly resemblance to an elevation of one of Palladio's buildings hints at the strength of the psychological influence that his work has on the viewer. Buildings do not need to be photographed head-on, and yet this swatch suggests that such behavior de rigeur for visitors to Palladio's villas.

There is a vaguely architectural feel to Rossi's swatch; as with Palladio above, you can almost see one of the architect's buildings emerge from the blur. It feels more postmodern and asymmetrical, but there's a certain structural quality to the blocks of color set against the blue sky at the top. The angles suggest a building viewed, catty-corner, from across an intersection: a whitish tower surrounded by a low-slung, reddish-gold block.

Sullivan's iconic, stylized decorative motif is undeniable in this terra cotta swatch; in the center is the hint of one of his flowering medallions, like you might expect to see running in a rhythmic strip of tile around an archway.

Van Alen's is almost too perfect, as if someone at thecolorof is secretly a die-hard, obsessive fan of the Chrysler Building, and stayed up late one night working on a special algorithm to make sure that the architect's swatch turned out just right. The strong Deco lines, the hint of the Chrysler's stainless steel crown to the right, and the Cloud-Room-mural-esque color scheme pack quite a visual wallop, in the blend.

Mies was known for his clean and simple blacks and whites, and yet his swatch bears more resemblance to the travertine floors of the Barcelona Pavilion than the bulk of his portfolio.

There's a ruggedness to Frank Lloyd Wright's swatch, and a rich, fiery tone that fits his infamously forceful personality. And, interestingly enough...

...it bears a striking resemblance to the swatch for Ayn Rand's fictional architect Howard Roark, reported to be based on the strong-willed Wright. Curious as to whether this was because many of the images sourced for Roark might actually be of Wright's buildings, I checked each of them individually. In fact, just one of the 56 photos used to create the Roark swatch had anything to do with Wright: a black and white interior shot of the Guggenheim.

We'll end with Minoru Yamasaki. The verticality of the World Trade Center architect's style is instantly apparent here. The cooler tone is also interesting to note, as the other two Modernists included above (Corbu and Mies) featured uncharacteristically warm palettes.

If you're wondering why I left out so-and-so, it's probably because their swatch wasn't very interesting; thecolorof results are pretty hit or miss. I tried dozens of architects that wound up on the cutting room floor, but you're welcome to give any name a try here. Have fun!

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