Page N3.2 . 25 October 2006                     
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    Splashes of Hue


    The firm Ibarra Rosano Design Architects received the "HUEY" award for several projects in the residential exteriors category. They transformed the backyard of the 1940s Winter residence by creating a serene garden and pool bridged by cantilevered concrete walkways. Color's role, in paint and tile, was to unify and simplify this environment.

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    Deep sky-blue exterior plaster faces the 27-by-27-foot (8-by-8 meter) enclosed courtyard of Ibarra's and Rosano's own home. They find the pureness of the blue inviting yet calming.

    For the Garcia residence, in the foothills of the Tucson Mountains, Ibarra and Rosano made the courtyard walls fuchsia to complement the lush green foliage of the bougainvillea growing on the southern exposure. Bright yellow chairs represent small desert flowers.

    Receiving the HUEY for residential Interiors is New York architect David Ling. His palette may be more restrained than that of the other honorees, but he has been experimental in his own way.

    He used color symbolically in the conversion of a Connecticut barn to a family home and gallery. The ceilings take on the gray patina reminiscent of the weathered wood of traditional barns. A corrugated steel backsplash, which also doubles as a wall defining the dining room space, is a bright farm-tractor red.

    To separate office from living space in the renovation of his own Gramercy Park loft, Ling created a water-filled moat and bridge and achieved subtle variations in blue, black, and silver through paint, oxidized metals, and dark wood. The rear brick wall behind the moat was painted in 14 layers of ultramarine blue and black to offset and accent the water.

    Canadian Colors

    In the contract interior and exterior categories, both HUEY winning firms are based in Canada. The Montréal Convention Center's 2003 expansion by Saia Barbarese Topouzanov Architectes was cited for bridging between Old Montréal and the modern festival city in both the literal and figurative sense. The firm applied rich primary colors throughout the public areas and lined the main hall with multistory, multicolored glass walls. As light pours in, it creates a kaleidoscopic effect.

    A subtler use of color, both symbolic and functional, is in evidence in SBT's more recent École Polytechnique at the University of Montréal. Red, ochre, green, and blue represent, respectively, the core of the earth, the ground, the vegetation, and sky. Red was assigned to the large public spaces, blue to the library, ochre to the computer sciences department, and green to the spaces for electrical studies. The colors liven the interior and dramatize the view from outside at night.

    Colorful exteriors are the hallmark of SMC Alsop, the young Toronto office of British architect Will Alsop. WESTside Lofts Sales Pavilion by Alsop protégés Gregory Woods and Caroline Robbie is part of a major redevelopment of the Toronto's arty West Queen West neighborhood. The distinctive design features a red wooden shell that surrounds an internal concrete slab building with Swiss cheese-like cutouts colored in orange, pink, blue, green, yellow, and red.

    SMC Alsop created am earlier sensation with their the Sharp Centre for Design at the Ontario College of Art & Design (OCAD), a rectangle propped on multistory, primary-colored stilts and vividly patterned with colorful window frames. Alsop, who is also a painter, credits his garden for inspiring this color palette.

    Crossing the Color Line

    Architect Gary Wang received Benjamin Moore's award for Social Responsibility for his work in Cabrini Green, a notorious public housing project in Chicago. Serving as the architect for a nonprofit after-school program for high-risk inner-city youth, he transformed deteriorating neighborhood spaces into dynamic and vibrant places. He used donated and low-cost building materials combined with design ingenuity.

    Color not only livens the otherwise drab environment, it creates visual hierarchies that complement and, in some cases, even replace architectural forms when budgets were particularly constrained. From 2000 to 2004, Wang completed four spaces for different age groups. Children in the program experienced measurable improvements in school performance.

    Wang has since moved to Cambridge, Massachusetts, where he has joined Chan Krieger Sieniewicz, an architecture firm with a commitment to bettering the community and its urban fabric through architectural design.

    Benjamin Moore & Co., founded in 1883, manufactures premium quality residential, commercial, and industrial maintenance coatings. The HUE awards jury included Stefano Casciani, Italian furniture designer and author; London-based Ilse Crawford, of Studioilse; Marian McEvoy, design author and contributing editor to Domino magazine; Jeff Mahshie, design director of CHAIKEN; and, Ethel Rompilla, of The New York School of Interior Design.   >>>

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    ArchWeek Image

    The Olabuenaga House, by Italian architect Ettore Sottsass, who received the Lifetime Achievement Award from Benjamin Moore & Co.
    Photo: Grey Crawford/ Metropolitan Home Magazine

    ArchWeek Image

    "Casablanca Cabinet" by Ettore Sottsass.
    Photo: Aldo Ballo

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    Garcia House by Ibarra Rosano Design Architects.
    Photo: Bill Timmerman

    ArchWeek Image

    Ibarra Rosano House.
    Photo: Bill Timmerman

    ArchWeek Image

    Winter residence garden transformed by Ibarra Rosano Design Architects.
    Photo: Bill Timmerman

    ArchWeek Image

    Connecticut barn converted to family home by David Ling.
    Photo: Scott Frances

    ArchWeek Image

    Restrained colors punctuated by spots of bright primaries, by David Ling.
    Photo: Scott Frances

    ArchWeek Image

    David Ling's own loft, with moat and bridge.
    Photo: Antoine Bootz and Violet Fraser


    Click on thumbnail images
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