The stereotyped image of Mediterranean built environment is embedded in collective memory – and tourism advertisements – as a picturesque complex of white cubic buildings. Besides, in the dazzling light of the South, vestiges of the past is also perceived as white, a kind of “Apollonian emblem” against the colourful nature: dark green, dark blue sea and light blue sky. Is not a coincidence that the Bio-Mediterranean Cluster at the Milan EXPO featured a coloured floor and a white articulated roof, hinting at the sea of different cultures while suggesting a typical skyline. Our paper discusses the evocative power of this chromatic symbolism, trying to identify some historical turning points. Rediscovering the polychrome nature of ancient Greek architecture, in 1830 J.I. Hittorff’s brought back colour to the Mediterranean. Ever since, many scholars from different disciplines have focused on the study of ancient Mediterranean civilizations. Many of their cahiers de voyage however, have removed colours from Mediterranean scenes. Thus, despite a few exceptions, the “axiom of candour” became almost a symbol of the archetypal significance of ancient Mediterranean architecture. In questioning the preponderance of white in the Mediterranean built environment, we shall consider examples of modernist architecture in 1930s Greece, as well as small towns in southern Italy, where current building regulations impose the use of white to comply with the alleged Mediterranean character.

Questioning Mediterranean White

IAROSSI, MARIA POMPEIANA;PALLINI, CRISTINA
2016

Abstract

The stereotyped image of Mediterranean built environment is embedded in collective memory – and tourism advertisements – as a picturesque complex of white cubic buildings. Besides, in the dazzling light of the South, vestiges of the past is also perceived as white, a kind of “Apollonian emblem” against the colourful nature: dark green, dark blue sea and light blue sky. Is not a coincidence that the Bio-Mediterranean Cluster at the Milan EXPO featured a coloured floor and a white articulated roof, hinting at the sea of different cultures while suggesting a typical skyline. Our paper discusses the evocative power of this chromatic symbolism, trying to identify some historical turning points. Rediscovering the polychrome nature of ancient Greek architecture, in 1830 J.I. Hittorff’s brought back colour to the Mediterranean. Ever since, many scholars from different disciplines have focused on the study of ancient Mediterranean civilizations. Many of their cahiers de voyage however, have removed colours from Mediterranean scenes. Thus, despite a few exceptions, the “axiom of candour” became almost a symbol of the archetypal significance of ancient Mediterranean architecture. In questioning the preponderance of white in the Mediterranean built environment, we shall consider examples of modernist architecture in 1930s Greece, as well as small towns in southern Italy, where current building regulations impose the use of white to comply with the alleged Mediterranean character.
Colour and Colorimetry. Multidisciplinary Contributions
9788899513047
mediterranean architecture, modern architecture, vernacular architecture
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11311/1008581
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