Loughborough University
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Contrast of Architectural Styles

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posted on 2018-05-29, 15:35 authored by Johnny Xu

In this case study, the discussion may fall into three architectural formations according to Leicester’s history, in terms of the relationship of use of architectural material and colour: Victorian, Modernism, and Postmodernism.

First, Victorian architecture is meant to promote the revival of traditional building crafts and the use of local materials in emulation of vernacular architecture. The local materials determined the colour of a place in the past and set up the visual and colour theme for the urban landscape. The façade colour reflects the material such as sandstone, limestone and bricks. For example, the red, yellow and green-yellow bricks of Victorian houses are still dominated in present Leicester.

Second, in Modernist architecture new materials emerged such as concrete, cement, glass, and steel to construct its forms and structure. The architectural colour reflects hues and tones becoming a symbolic and expressive element in the modern architectural language. The retail building of Next for example demonstrates a large scale cement surface to provide a cold colour appearance of the block.

Third, Postmodern architecture attempts to challenge the formative and monotony of Modernism with new materials and technologies. As a result, the Showcase Cinema de Lux has implemented the light and rich texture metal to form a shiny, illusionary façade. Whilst a double coding meaning is occurred in John Lewis building: the glass curtain wall connotes a modern technology, and yet the white outer layer conveys elements of traditional textile prints.