Black is Dark White: ArchitectScripta explore color effects in digital design and fabrication. ― 

ArchitectScripta  is an interdisciplinary team founded by Nefeli Chatzimina and Nikos Papavasileiou, with built work in New York and Athens. The team organizes international workshops of Advanced Architectural Design, part of an ongoing academic research, which introduce participants into contemporary discussions of formal exploration in Architecture and Art, through technical attainment of design and production. For their Summer 2019 workshop, entitled “Black is Dark White”, ArchitectScripta raised questions about the relevance of color in digital design and fabrication, and involved architecture students primarily using AutoDesk MAYA and Rhino GRASSHOPPER, including other fundamental software digital design tools.

Aris Grammatas, in his project entitled “Reflections and Refractions”, used a monochrome architecture with different reflective properties to explore what appeared to be real and what appeared artificial. The project introduced a black metal structure containing a “colorless element” and documented the formal properties of its various configurations. Location and materiality quickly became irrelevant: the black color, which was mostly non-reflective, only made the components of the loadbearing structure appear thinner. This effect was multiplied by the visual deformations caused by the concave and convex forms of the highly reflective “colorless element”; black lines appeared fluid, adding further visual complexity.

Elena Schenavsky, beginning from Ka Yee Shum’s research, The Celebration of Fleur de Sel , which explores the generative properties of an architecture that captures the material, color and spatial qualities simulated by the crystallization of salt, designed a set of different spheres and documented their interaction against a backdrop of a classical temple. Schenavsky’s spheres included continuous or discontinuous surfaces, reflective, matte or transparent variations of the same geometries, monochromatic and polychromatic configurations.

Elisavet Kolliniati saw architecture as dressing around a human body and tried color variations to accentuate how different materials – soft or hard – react to dynamic movement. Beginning with a monochromatic palette relying on graphic elements, like dots or lines, corresponding to different degrees of hardness, Kolliniati designed two surface variations with color and observed their degrees of visual intensity. “Dots” were placed closer to the body and to its geometry, while “dashes” were further removed. Different graphic components were further set apart, with “dots”, being colored white, and “dashes” a dark red. In a second variation, dash surfaces were painted a different color on each of their two faces. The spatial effects were further accentuated by a reflective, transparent, flexible and colorless element that brought the “dress” together.

Complex geometries and digital fabrication tools show the way towards the architecture of the future, but, as well, make us rethink what we know of the architectures of the past. Formal properties, such as color, shape, texture or reflectivity, remain relevant in all cases.