A System of joyful colour and its disruptions: Architectural Colour in the German Democratic Republic

Jenkins, Jessica (2015) A System of joyful colour and its disruptions: Architectural Colour in the German Democratic Republic. Architectural Theory Review, 19 (2). pp. 221-242. ISSN 1326-4826

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Abstract / Summary

This essay examines the debates around colour in East German architecture from the mid-1960s to the early 1980s. It traces the gradual relinquishing of the attempt to determine principles for the colouring of socialist architecture based on an idealised conception of socialist society as inducing “joy in life” (Lebensfreude). The relationship to pre-war avant-garde thinking is examined as problematic, but nonetheless present in the 1960s re-conceptions. In the 1970s, colour was discussed not so much as reflecting “joyfulness”, but as a means of generating “pleasure” in residential areas. Colour was no longer to serve a projected abstract notion of the condition of socialism, but to relate to the everyday experiences of residents in housing estates and, indeed, to improve these experiences through the “emotional impact” of colour. In the closing phase of the GDR, residents of prefabricated architecture began to introduce their own colours to their loggias, upsetting the predefined colour schemes. By the 1980s, differentiated manifestations of colour in GDR architecture arguably reflected the societal order of the closing years of the Republic—conflicted and fragmented.

Item Type: Article
Identification Number: 10.1080/13264826.2014.987364
Uncontrolled Keywords: Architecture, Colour, German Democratic Republic, East Germany, Socialism, Built Environment, Design history, Urban History, Socialist Spaces,
ISSN: 1326-4826
Subjects: Arts > Architecture
Arts > Historical
Arts > Landscape & Area Planning
Courses by Department: The School of Communication > Graphic Design
Related URLs:
Depositing User: Jessica Jenkins
Date Deposited: 06 Mar 2017 13:37
Last Modified: 11 Nov 2022 16:31
URI: https://repository.falmouth.ac.uk/id/eprint/1518


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