Review: “Black: Architecture in Monochrome” by Phaidon Editors

Get lost in the pages of a good book—it’s the soul of any room.

It’s the ultimate luxury: time. What’s even more decadent? Travelling back over the last 10 centuries to discover how architects have been perhaps the world’s most exceptional markers of time. Here, Phaidon’s editors have created an exceptional genealogy that expands how we think about both constructing design history and experiencing architecture by using the colour black – the colour as culturally saturated as the buildings imbued with it.

Beginning with its exceptional introduction that reveals the complex history of the enigmatic colour, the tome’s 224 pages and 173 colour illustrations feature 150 different structures, beginning in the eleventh century. Notable projects include: a homeless shelter in Pamplona, Spain; Life House by John Pawson in the UK; The Doll House by Nika Zupanc in Milan; as well as readily recognisable structures such as Georgian town homes, Victorian residences and van der Rohe’s S. R. Crown Hall at the Illinois Institute of Technology.

Interspersed throughout this thoughtful volume are captivating quotes from philosophers, artists and musicians who span as many genres as the buildings with which they are surrounded. A work of educated eyes, this book surpasses expectations and redirects the art of architectural query in a bold new direction.

Black: Architecture in Monochrome
By Phaidon Editors