Four Colors

Project Secondary School Ergolding Location Ergolding, Germany Architecture Behnisch Architekten, Stuttgart Completion 2013

Color can do a lot of things. Not only is it crucial which exact color you choose (seriously, there are so many of them...), it is equally important if and how you combine a bunch of them. It is easy to create confusing patterns which we love when it comes down to the necessity of visual disassembly of a really bad proportioned surface. As we did not find bad proportioned surfaces in the Ergolding project, we used color in the other famous manner when we flooded the 4 stories of the school with 4 bright unique colors to create maximum identity.


Color scheme

From the very start of the Behnisch Architekten practice back in the late eighties their built spaces have been using color in a fancy and playful way as an additional layer to architecture without functionality other than emotionality (if this can be called functionality at all). This resulted in sometimes quite diffuse color patterns spread throughout the entire building which made it hard for the poor color to contribute to man's wish of orientation.

Using color to identify different levels of a building is nothing new. It happens in almost every parking garage worldwide. Often hidden underground or reduced to color labels in elevator cabins the colors rarely are set free. The Ergolding school is different. When diving into the yellow, orange, green and blue levels there is no doubt about where you are at the moment. And the best part of it is that these color-flooded levels play together to create the visual appearance of the school building. Reflections on the ceilings put a unique and playful polychromatic fingerprint on the otherwise monochromatic building envelope.


Letters have been used here in two different ways. Over-sized readable from a distance or generating textures and transitions between painted and unpainted areas. In a smaller scale for wayfinding information. No matter in which scale, they are all stenciled and painted on the walls.


Sometimes we have the chance to work on a project in different disciplines. It is exactly this what we love to do, be it signage and print or communication design and photography or all of them together.