IF you study the new car models that are released everyday, you may not find a big difference in them when compared to the previous models of the same company. The form may be almost similar, but the refinement of the lines, the colours or the accessories used, produce a better model that looks futuristic.
Be it cars or buildings, the refinement of the lines, forms and colours have resulted in some exciting models.
From the pure white colour of the Taj Mahal to the strong red of the Red Fort, colour has been used to create a particular emotion in the onlooker's mind. But in the modern scenario, colour need not be just paint, it can be any material that has a natural colour or that can be coloured.
For painting the exterior of residential flats and residences, there are paints available in various price brackets depending on the durability and finish. The cheapest options available could be cement paints, which would work out to be Rs. 3 - 4 per sqft of wall surface. For options such as the Sandtex Matt and exterior emulsions, it would cost around Rs. 6 - 7 per sqft and Rs. 10 - 11 per sqft respectively. Cement paints will have a 3-year life, while the Matt finish will last 5 years and the exterior emulsion about 6-7 years. Interesting and novel painting techniques like mixing paint with fine sand can also be tried.
We could even look at some textural finishes like the textured concrete finish or a marble chips embedded grit finish that could give a lot of variation in the exterior, costing about Rs. 25 per sqft. In the later option, the chips themselves have their own colour and are available in various sizes.
Options are available in the form of textured paints, sand blasted finishes, and exposed concrete finishes. Stone facing the walls with Dolphur Sandstone (red and pink) at Rs. 40 per sqft, Slate, the Pathen Charala (Andhra Pradesh) stones at Rs. 30 per sqft produces a good finish. The Sholingar rough granite (Rs. 80 per sqft) and the Thailapuram stone (Rs. 40 per sqft) are locally available options.
The granite slabs can be flame finished as well for exterior cladding purposes. Maintenance of walls becomes easy as the stones have a stain-resistant surface and are easy to clean as well.
Besides the type of colour, the colour theme is important. To create contemporary aesthetics, you might need to use some rare colours and in some unseen combinations. Dark colours, contrasted by light and bright colours could be used to highlight the various elements of the building.
Probably residences are the only buildings of which it could be said, "they are owned by an individual" or "it is an individual's house.'' Hence the colours and finishes could be used to reflect the person's character and style of living.
The colour scheme used in the inset image is a blend of bright and strong dark colours, creating an interesting mass and highlighting the shading.
The elements of the building can also be designed employing a colour theme. For example, a projecting balcony or a corner window can break the mass and give an interesting colour combination.
Light and shade play a very vital role in the colour schemes. Using the right shading devices at the right places becomes vital. Hence a `braise soliel', a shading device with slits could be employed instead of the usual concrete solid sunshades. Light and shade may be used to highlight a bright colour like yellow or orange. These shading devices not only protect the building from the sun and rain but also give some depth and character to the facade.
If you are looking at something more artistic, materials like metal and deal wood could be used in the exterior where the entrances are to be highlighted with special texture/colours. In areas where there is heavy wear and tear, special finishes can be done. Even an artist could be employed exclusively for creating an interesting wall finish, be it in paint or an amalgamation of various materials like paint, metal, wood or stone. Mural walls can also be done.
So, do experiment with colours and new materials, and the architect or the artist in coordination with the client, would often produce a good output.