Black is a polarising colour. We tend to either love it or hate it. The new book Black: Architecture in Monochrome from Phaidon, would most logically appeal to the already converted. However, I would also recommend this darkly gorgeous tome to those who feel averse to black, to confront and demystify one's demons, so to speak. The conversion begins with the introduction, written by Stella Paul (if the sleek, graphic cover hasn't already piqued your curiosity). Weaving together a vast range of historical, social and cultural lessons, Paul adeptly opens up the dark world of black and highlights its fascinating record of practical and symbolic significance, past and present. It's a fantastic read that stands on its own even outside of a conversation about colour or architecture. I have a hunch that anyone who reads Black: Architecture in Monochrome will be seeing the light in these perfectly saturated, evocative structures. As the pictures within this comprehensive survey illustrates - spanning every purpose from rural barns to urban offices to Icelandic chapels - black is a benevolent partner in the creation of whatever one wants, or needs, to build. It has the potential for limitless incarnations. Black is our friend.
Black: Architecture in Monochrome by Phaidon Editors, with an introduction by Stella Paul, is now available in hardback, £29.95. It is 224 pages including 173 colour illustrations.
Black Desert House. Oller & Pejic. Yucca Valley, California, USA. 2014.
LaJeune Residence. Architecture Open Form, Montreal, Quebec, Canada. 2013.
Stacked Cabin, Johnsen Schmaling Architects, Muscoda, Wisconsin, USA. 2012.
Kirkjuboargardur, Anonymous. Kirkjubour, Faroe Islands, Denmark. 11th century.
Kalmar Museum of Art, Tham & Videgard Arkitekter. Kalmar, Sweden. 2008.
Kvivik Igloo, Easy Domes Limited. Kvivik, Faroe Islands, Denmark. 2000.
Domo Dom House, Tadeusz Lemanski. Krakow, Poland. 2013.
Búðakirkja Church, Anonymous. Búðir, Iceland. 1848.