50 shades of beige: Why are the buildings in Minsk painted yellow?

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50 shades of beige: Why are the buildings in Minsk painted yellow?

Over the past decade, Minsk has acquired the same beige coloring. Residential buildings, hotels, banks, shopping centers and even a fire station are painted a pale shade of ocher. Architect Dmitry Zadorin knows why beige is so popular in the capital of Belarus. 

"Beige color characterizes Belarusians very well"

There are many reasons. The most obvious is that beige ceramic granite is produced in Belarus. This material is not actively used in Europe, but it is popular in our country.

Bright beige does not exist in nature; there is only a muted color. The same gray can vary from almost white to black, but beige is always neutral. And this color characterizes Belarusians very well. The sky is often gray in Minsk. Zero degrees is the ideal temperature in Belarus, the ideal state of our nature, neutral colors perfectly fit Belarus.

We do not know for sure what works well in our climate. In Western Europe, with its long tradition of construction, architects understand the weaknesses of their design. In Belarus, the architectural technology is still at a preliminary stage.

Furthermore, color fastness is a property of all pigments. The more natural the color, the less likely it will fade.

As for the painting of concrete walls, I believe that this is barbarism. I remember how in the middle of the 2000s huge concrete sculptures in the Brest Fortress were painted gray. It's just stupid!  I cannot even say what these people have in mind and what encourages them to do so. Maybe it’s just a requirement to get everything in order.

This is our approach to reconstruction. A couple of years ago we visited various capitals of the Former Soviet Union Republics, and everyone noticed that the buildings in Minsk saved their original look. We do not have the desire to destroy old buildings, but we have a desire to "put them in order". But it's not so bad. The painted building can still be saved, but the demolished one, like BelExpo, cannot be.

But the situation with the House of Radio is much more complicated. The building of gray color was painted beige, which will be quite difficult to remove from concrete walls. We discussed the scheme of the restoration with the architect Roman Zabello, and we came to the conclusion that the main legacy that we preserve is Stalin-era buildings. The trick is that it is much easier to restore Stalin-era buildings, because the construction technology is more simple and familiar: brick, plaster, paint, and this plaster can be painted many times without removing the previous layers. While modern buildings require special treatment.  

The House of Radio construction was carried out in the late 1950s. This is the period of departure from ' Stalinist architecture '. In fact, this is a very simplistic Stalinist style. But the material no longer requires painting.

Minsk has always been used to implement many urban ideas. However, these ideas corresponded to the ego of the rulers, but did not correspond to the duration of their lives. The style of buildings was planned for 40 years ahead, and then a new ruler came and everything began anew.

Our typical house construction was considered the best in the Soviet Union. However, in reality everything was terrible, and therefore Minsk looked quite good on this background.

The problem is not just with color. The problem lies elsewhere – we all do the same thing. The houses used to be gray and identical, and now we started massively repainting them in beige. As a result, there is no variation.

Is it worth it to experiment with colors? I do not think that this is a good idea. The reason is in pigments. Bright colors are used only for the decoration of individual elements, because such colors are washed off after 2-3 years.

Today architects are not involved in style development. Previously, they at least thought about the ensemble. Mr. Shelkovsky from Minskproject, who designs all buildings, constantly says that "we look into the future". I do not know, maybe he looks, but this does not affect the architecture.

In the Netherlands, where I grew up, there is an ancient tradition of brick, and nobody cares about the fact that "all buildings in our country are made of brick." Nevertheless there is no such monotony. Architects experiment with a variety of materials and styles. Therefore, first of all, we need to work on a variety of forms, and only then experiment with colors. 

Source: the-village.me