John Pawson's World of Colour: Green
In his new book Spectrum the architect shows sensitivity towards both built and natural environment
Greenery can sometimes be viewed as the best way to hide architectural mishaps. As Frank Lloyd Wright once put it, "the physician can bury his mistakes, but the architect can only advise his client to plant vines."
Green, or at least green's ecological connotations can also be something of a bind for today's architectural profession, since new buildings often have to meet stringent environmental standards.
However, John Pawson may not view the colour green in the same light as many within his profession. His minimal, carefully considered buildings rarely need correcting with artful placement of a few climbing plants; and, since he often renovates and repurposes old buildings, rather than building anew, he remains an ecologically sound architect.
We may associate his buildings and interiors with whites and off-white shades, yet his new book, Spectrum, demonstrates his love of greenery, or at least green scenes, nonetheless. Spectrum, is a multi-coloured photo essay, featuring 320 of John’s shots arranged in colour order. The pictures are often simple and minimal – in keeping with Pawson's architectural practice – while remaining worldly and inspired.
There are shots of astroturf and copper roofing, alongside more natural scenes of churning rivers, mossy rocks and lichen-heavy wood. Some pictures clearly possess some architectural information – even if dry-stone walls and weathered clapboards aren't the kind of features that reappear in Pawson's work. Others are beautiful landscape images, such as his aerial shot of Kenya, taken in 2013.
Viewed together, they suggest their creator has a remarkably sensitive appreciation of both the natural and the built environment; great qualities for a photographer, though equally important in an architect, if you're keen to avoid those unwanted vines.
You can take a look at some of John’s blue shots here; and his yellow photos here; and, if you like what you see, you can order a copy of Spectrum here. Check back for another colour from the book soon.