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Design decisions are increasingly directed not by architects but by marketing executives, writes Crystal Bennes...
IS DESIGN [ARCHITECTURE] OR MARKETING
We tend to think of marketing as something of the mind, the 21st-century equivalent of Satan’s whisperings to Eve in the Garden of Eden, rather than as something which has physical form. But of course marketing is often rooted in tangible objects, and nowhere is the relationship between product and advertisement more distempered than in the built environment. We must ask the question, where does architecture end and marketing begin?
Take the housing industry. While the familiar marketing apparatuses of print adverts and occasional video commercials still make an appearance, the primary tricks of the trade are construction hoardings and mocked-up sales showrooms. In most instances, both of these tools themselves require planning permission and effect visible change in the built environment. They are of course pop-ups - here today, gone tomorrow - but when read as a now-requisite extension of many major building projects, these forms take on new power.
For one thing, not all temporary marketing remains temporary. Despite a 1909 circular published by the American Institute of Architects stating that ‘advertising tends to lower the standard of the profession, and is therefore condemned’, Californian property developer Harry Chandler had no such qualms. In 1923, Chandler erected a giant billboard in the hills of LA to market his new housing development: Hollywood. Chandler’s sign has become so famous as a landmark in its own right that we’ve forgotten it was originally a pop-up advertisement. Indeed, in many respects it continues to function as shorthand for a glamorous lifestyle many associate with the Hollywood Hills.
What the example of the Hollywood sign illustrates is the extent to which the construction of new housing has historically gone hand in hand with marketing. In today’s car-centric western USA, large billboards are often found on the edges of motorways or other busy roads. Targeted at domestic buyers, these billboards don’t push an aspirational lifestyle to those sat in their cars, stuck in traffic. ‘If you lived here, you’d be home by now’ exemplifies the US approach. It’s not the aesthetics of luxury, but a shorter commute that seals the deal. Or think of the vogue for Hollywood-esque X-marks-the-spot signage on everything from FAT’s Villa in Hoogvliet to Will Alsop’s Peckham Library: Chandler’s legacy lives on, enfolded within contemporary building design.
"Increasingly, hoardings begin to function as a kind of architectural cross-section - where the Platonic ideal of the interior architecture, as an expression of lifestyle, is made publicly visible on the building’s exterior before it is built..."
Occasionally, entire cities, such as Milton Keynes, and more recently Gurgaon (India’s version of Silicon Valley) have been designed and built with marketing tactics almost as first principles. In Milton Keynes, an initiative to market the project as a ‘city in the trees’ resulted in planning guidelines which stated that no building was to be built taller than the tallest tree, leading to a low-rise mat plan. In Gurgaon, new homes for India’s emerging middle classes are sold on hoardings and billboards which explain why nearly all new housing in the vicinity takes the form of giant, gleaming towers: ‘Let the Skies Sense Your Arrival. Live. Every Moment’, reads a vast poster for the Upton-Hansen Architects-designed Michael Schumacher World Tower, depicting a hovering helicopter about to land. Another boasts ‘360 Degree Living, 100% Privacy’. In Gurgaon, towers have come implicitly to promise privacy and luxury - the lines between the built form of development and its simplistic marketing narratives are blurred.
Of course, such iconography is primarily aimed at the luxury housing market where often the only difference between what is being sold is the marketing itself. Like many goods in the luxury market, brand, perception and desirability are more important (and easier to manipulate) than intrinsic value, something the developers are well aware of. ‘Many residences can pamper you with luxury. Only the rarest few can refresh the soul,’ reads an advertisement for The Cascade, a tower built in Bangalore by Tata Housing, subsidiary of one of India’s largest multi-national conglomerates. What marketing enables there is to turn the architecture inside out, flipping traditional notions of public and private architecture as a sales tool. Increasingly, hoardings begin to function as a kind of architectural cross-section - where the Platonic ideal of the interior architecture, as an expression of lifestyle, is made publicly visible on the building’s exterior before it is built. Marketing showrooms, by contrast, take this inversion of public-private architecture to its logical conclusion by building the ‘lifestyle’ of construction hoardings in physical form. An apt example is the marketing suite of Neo Bankside, the £275m Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners development for the Duke of Westminster’s property company, Grosvenor. A stand-alone two-storey mini tower-cum-marketing suite, it is built using the same cross-bracing and exterior cladding as the development itself. Elsewhere in London, marketing suites for the mid-market have seen the conflation of the showhome with longer-lasting amenities. At the construction site for Bellway Homes’ Pembury Circus development, large arrows on the hoardings lead the way to an oddly shaped, double-height marketing suite and sales showroom. While you might assume that these poorly constructed showrooms finish up on the slag heap of sales-suite history, at Pembury Circus, the marketing suite is billed to be ‘transformed’ into a long-term community centre. Its marketing becoming architecture in the most literal sense.
"While you might assume that these poorly constructed showrooms finish up on the slag heap of sales-suite history, at Pembury Circus, the marketing suite is billed to be ‘transformed’ into a long-term community centre. Its marketing becoming architecture in the most literal sense..."
If marketing suites and showhomes represent selling housing through the cracked lens of lifestyle, we can see the same thing happening elsewhere with the turn to statement architecture by luxury fashion brands and tech companies as a form of brand promotion. That Frank Gehry’s Guggenheim is now synonymous with the regeneration of Bilbao suggests that architecture and marketing were tethered long before the fashion pack caught on. Architecture has always been about creating narratives, which has perhaps made it all too easy to be co-opted by the narrative-weaving of marketing executives.
Consider luxury brand LVMH’s commissioning of a 54-metre-high UNStudio-designed flagship store in Japan, or the Fondation Louis Vuitton in Paris by Gehry (AR Nov 2014). The brand isn’t interested in a high-quality built environment: rather, LVMH understands how a futuristic architectural aesthetic can be used to peddle expensive perfumes and bags. Similarly, the Neo Bankside suite isn’t about selling the quality of design but a perceived lifestyle through carefully staged interiors perfectly pitched to appeal to the income, race, gender and tastes of the small group identified as target buyers.
Architecture and marketing have blurred into an unproductive muddle, detrimental to all but those who profit from uninformed consumer choices. But if marketing and its highly effective tactics could be harnessed for the good of the urban realm, they might become powerful allies for better cities. This would not be unprecedented: think of Bruno Taut’s utopian exhibition pavilions of the 1920s, which inspired a generation to build in glass - and which doubled as marketing suites for the German steel and glass industries. If we do not recalibrate the balance between commerce and public good, the future of design holds little more than lowest common denominator-driven showhome architecture for all.
Source: The Architectural Review Written By: Crystal Bennes
The psychology of colour is based on the mental and emotional effects colours have on sighted people in all facets of life. Did you know your surroundings may be influencing your emotions and state of mind? Well, there’s a good chance that the colours in those spaces are playing a part.
What is Colour Psychology?
The psychology of colour is based on the mental and emotional effects colours have on sighted people in all facets of life. There are some very subjective pieces to colour psychology as well as some more accepted and proven elements. Keep in mind, that there will also be variations in interpretation, meaning, and perception between different cultures.
Applying Colour Psychology to Everday Life
Did you know your surroundings may be influencing your emotions and state of mind? Do you ever notice that certain places especially irritate you? Or that certain places are especially relaxing and calming? Well, there’s a good chance that the colours in those spaces are playing a part.
In art therapy, colour is often associated with a person’s emotions. Colour may also influence a person’s mental or physical state. For example, studies have shown that some people looking at the colour red resulted in an increased heart rate, which then led to additional adrenaline being pumped into the blood stream.
There are also commonly noted psychological effects of colour as it relates to two main categories: warm and cool. Warm colours – such as red, yellow and orange – can spark a variety of emotions ranging from comfort and warmth to hostility and anger. Cool colours – such as green, blue and purple – often spark feelings of calmness as well as sadness.
The concepts of colour psychology can also be applied in everyday life. For example, maybe you’re planning on re-painting your walls or redecorating a house or room with a new colour scheme. Well, you might want to consider some of these suggestions about colorus and how they might affect your emotions and mood:
Psychological Effects of Cool Colours
Need to be creative? Want help getting those brain synapses firing? Try utilizing the colour purple. Purple utilizes both red and blue to provide a nice balance between stimulation and serenity that is supposed to encourage creativity. Light purple is said to result in a peaceful surrounding, thus relieving tension. These could be great colours for a home or business office.
Are you looking for a peaceful and calming environment? You might consider using green and/or blue. These cool colours are typically considered restful. There is actually a bit of scientific logic applied to this – because the eye focuses the color green directly on the retina, it is said to be less strainful on your eye muscles.
The colour blue is suggested for high-traffic rooms or rooms that you or other people will spend significant amounts of time. Another cool colour, blue is typically a calming and serene colour, said to decrease respiration and lower blood pressure. The bedroom is a great place to use these colours as they should help you relax.
Psychological Effects of Warm Colours
Want to create an environment of stimulation or whet people’s appetite? You might consider utilizing the colours yellow or orange. These colours are often associated with food and can cause your tummy to growl a little. Have you ever wondered why so many restaurants use these colours? Now you know why even after people watched the movie SuperSize Me, they said they were hungry.
You do want to be careful about using bright colours like orange and especially yellow. They reflect more light and excessively stimulate a person’s eyes which can lead to irritation. You also probably don’t want to paint your dining room or kitchen these colours if you’re a calorie-counter.
Pyschology of Colour for Marketing & Advertising
Marketing and advertising are well-known for utilizing colour psychology. The fact that some companies have heavily invested in this type of research and many others have followed through in its use shows they have at enough belief in the concepts of colour psychology to implement them in their advertising.
Colour is consistently used in an attempt to make people hungry, associate a positive or negative tone, encourage trust, feelings of calmness or energy, and countless other ways.
Most marketing and advertising executives will likely agree that there are benefits to understanding and utilizing the psychological effects of colours. Now let’s take a look at some of the more common traits of colour psychology, by some common colours.
The following are some common psychological effects of colours in the Western Hemisphere. Keep in mind that certain shades or tones may result in very different meanings. Also, the context around the colour, and even surrounding colours, can have an effect. Think of this as more of a beginning guide to colour psychology.
Colour Psychology: The Colour White
sense of space
mourning (in some cultures/societies)
Colour Psychology: The Colour Black
thinning / slimming
death or mourning
Colour Psychology: The Colour Gray
Colour Psychology: The Colour Red
Colour Psychology: The Colour Orange
Colour Psychology: The Colour Yellow
Colour Psychology: The Colour Green
Colour Psychology: The Colour Blue
Colour Psychology: The Colour Purple
Colour Psychology: The Colour Brown
mourning (in some cultures/societies)
Colour Psychology: The Colour Pink
Source: Art Therapy
As a child growing up in a declining neighborhood in Detroit, I dreamed that the burned buildings and vacant lots might be replaced with brilliant new structures that would invigorate the community. As I matured and took up architecture, I found myself in a world where faceless modernism seemed to decry the death of spirit. You could not tell what city you were in if dropped in the middle of downtown "anywhere." Most buildings had no meaning and did not feel part of any certain community. It doesn’t have to be this way. Architecture can strengthen Identity, Community and Purpose when buildings have meaning.
Architectures Impact On Vancouver is Alive & Well
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Throughout history, architecture has stood as a representation of society, reflecting the values, successes, and eventual downfall of civilizations over time. From the monumental structures to the residences and buildings that make up the fabric of a city, we can learn a lot about who the people were who inhabited them long before our time. By studying the built environment of the past, combined with modern-day research on psychology and the environment, we’re coming to understand the effects of architecture on people in entirely new ways, which begs the question: Just how does architecture impact society?
We are experiencing a unique cultural moment wherein a critical examination of our museums, monuments and arts institutions is no longer optional, but compulsory. The discussion will explore the responsibility of the architect today and the task of interpreting our legacy for future generations.
Some of the world’s most renowned architects – Daniel Libeskind (National Holocaust Monument in Ottawa), Robert A. M. Stern (Museum of the American Revolution in Philadelphia; the George W. Bush Presidential Center in Dallas), and Billie Tsien (Obama Presidential Library in Chicago) – detail their process and purpose in designing these and other historic projects.
Source: 92nd Street Y
Based on Steward Brand's book, "How Buildings Learn"...
View the Six Part Youtube Series
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Part 1: https://youtu.be/AvEqfg2sIH0
Part 2: https://youtu.be/09pekAKuXjc
Part 3: https://youtu.be/ZSaWdp833YM
Part 4: https://youtu.be/GuKPknFLHno
Part 5: https://youtu.be/j_dozoqw4To
Part 6: https://youtu.be/HTSbtM12IZw
"Building a skyscraper? Forget about steel and concrete, says architect Michael Green, and build it out of ... wood. As he details in this intriguing talk, it's not only possible to build safe wooden structures up to 30 stories tall (and, he hopes, higher), it's necessary."
Vancouver’s Michael Green Architecture, a firm specializing in timber buildings, has been acquired by Silicon Valley startup Katerra.
Timber is trending. Earlier this year, Azure wrote about the proliferation of plyscrapers around the world: thanks to the possibilities of cross-laminated timber, which is fire-resistant and as strong as concrete, wood construction is being considered for 70-storey buildings in Japan, 80-storey residential projects in London and mid-rise college campuses in Toronto. And one of the most prominent champions of timber construction is Vancouver-based Michael Green, whose firm has been pushing wood buildings – and indeed wood cities – since 2012.
Green, who authored The Case for Tall Wood Buildings and won a 2017 AZ Award for Environmental Leadership for his T3 Minneapolis office building, promotes timber as an environmentally friendly alternative to concrete. Earlier this week, Michael Green Architecture (MGA) was acquired by Katerra, a Silicon Valley construction startup that received $865 million from Japanese venture capital giant Softbank Vision Fund. Reportedy valued at over $3 billion, Katerra is run by former Tesla interim CEO Michael Marks; it lists itself as a tech company, though it aims to disrupt the construction industry.
Green says that, after the acquisition, he will remain the president and CEO of his firm – it will be called Michael Green Architecture, a Katerra company. In an email, Green says that its parent company will help “advance our agenda on design, quality, sustainability and affordability.” MGA and its two dozen employees will remain in Vancouver.
Katerra, Architectural Record notes, wants to vertically integrate all aspects of construction, from design to subcontracting. Founded three years ago, it, like Green, focuses on affordability through efficiency: Katerra has created market-rate multi-family housing and student and senior housing, with projects focused on mass-timber construction. The acquisition of MGA, it seems, is a step towards making its architecture division more environmentally friendly – and could provide Green with wider resources, both human and financial, to achieve his wood-built ambitions.
The terms of MGA’s acquisition by Katerra were not disclosed.
Green said the acquisition allows him to make a bigger impact on the North American market – though his reach already extends beyond his Gastown office. MGA’s recent projects include the OSU College of Forestry building at Oregon State University, a proposal for the world’s tallest timber tower in Paris, and Riverfront Square, a 2,000-unit residential project in New Jersey.
Though the acquisition is a victory for Green, it’s also a promising step for the future of timber construction. Silicon Valley’s embrace – and investment – in architecture, green design and wood construction could have a lasting impact on the built environment. For a glimpse of what the future may have in store, watch Green’s influential TEDxTalk above.
Source: AZURE / Written By: Mark Teo