Open Access Te Herenga Waka-Victoria University of Wellington
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inhabiting blue

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posted on 2021-12-08, 16:29 authored by Shim, Chiara

Architects by in large employ physical materials to generate and define space. Materials such as timber, stone, bricks, and mortar envelop and contain. Yet when described in a purely scientific sense, the visible world can be defined by light, or the absence of light and variations in between. Seminal author and investigator of the senses, Juhani Pallasmaa writes, ‘The experiences of matter, space and light are inseparable ... there is no true architectural experience without light’ (2016, p. 7). Extending this statement, the use of light generates space, creating an architectural experience.  The research proposition becomes: Using a reductivist approach, and employing only hue, saturation, and brightness to replace physical materials, this creative body of work explores how colour can be used to evoke a response in mixed realities.  The research methodology is Design-Led research, following similar beliefs to Peter Dowton, that by doing, knowing is enhancing knowledge. Literature reviews indicated that there are two main approaches to colour psychology and therapy. From this, the research aims to bridge the gap between popular culture claims and heavily scientific or psychology-based research, to explore the effects of colour through architectural design. Following this, colour theory was researched, followed by a feasibility study of design tests. In the sketch design phase, light at the wavelength frequency of blue was tapped into, and its effects researched. Unique blues were created from nature: flora and fauna were sourced and boiled into pigments. The final outcome is mixed media; Virtual Realities, physical works, and a unique experience. Throughout this project, tests were executed including reviews to gain an indication of whether a response was evoked.  The results of this architectural portfolio, which leans into the artistic vein of architecture, show that various saturations and brightness of hues in the blue range can indeed evoke responses.


Copyright Date


Date of Award



Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

Rights License

Author Retains Copyright

Degree Discipline


Degree Grantor

Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

Degree Level


Degree Name

Master of Architecture (Professional)

ANZSRC Type Of Activity code


Victoria University of Wellington Item Type

Awarded Research Masters Thesis



Victoria University of Wellington School

Wellington School of Architecture


Moleta, Tane; Schnabel, Marc Aurel