Why 'SALT'

The metaphor salt is to indicate the thought of THEORY for architecture. Salt as an ingredient cannot be directly consumed, but without it, the recipe remains tasteless. The same idea applies to architectural theories. Here, the intention is to create a platform where various architectural theories and theorists can be discussed, reviewed, and further dissected to apply it in the tangible world. A theory for architecture remains in the intangible ways, if not applied, but that does not mean that every theory has a direct application. The point here is that an architectural theory most of the times acts as this ingredient ‘salt’ and we cannot expect it to be in direct conversation with the idea of built-forms, but definitely can be added in the right proportion to shape an idea to a thought, which in turn is subjected to changes and finally ‘the end product’.
Hence the name ‘SALT’
We welcome you all to contribute, and to make this a more tasteful recipe.

Please feel free to mail your essays to publish on this blog and keep commenting (your name with comments will be highly appreciated).

Contact email

Tushar gaur: ar.tushar@gmail.com
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Sunday, March 6, 2011


Saili SONAR1

1Masters in Interior Architecture and Design, CEPT University, Ahmedabad Postal address:

Postal address:163/4, Opal House, Mahatma Nagar, Nashik-422007



Color is a vital element in architecture and design. It informs and speaks to us in various

ways, gives expressions to the space and enhances its visual language. The study aims to

identify color shades on the exteriors and in the courtyards of the palaces in Jaipur. The

exterior color is a gesture of the building and courtyards are the most interactive and festive

spaces. Hence, five important palaces are chosen for assessment. The semi autonomous state

of Rajasthan and its political capital Jaipur has creatively used color in the parched landscape

which is elaborately demonstrated in its traditional palaces. The premise of the study is

confined only to the assessment of perceived colors of the palace buildings and does not

include the study of inherent color or the application techniques and methods. In this paper,

the focus is to unfold the attributes of its use in the palaces that have created the resulting

color configurations which is totally studied under natural lighting conditions. It creates a

rationale of colors and factors governing the relation between hues, expounding the play of

colors in the palaces of Jaipur. This can be used in today’s context for the purpose of

conservation and for the architectural colorations, art and other fields of design as an essence

of colors in the palaces of Jaipur.

KEYWORDS: Color assessed in Natural light, Palaces of Jaipur, Exterior Color, Courtyards,

Attributes for use of Color.


India portrays a wide range of colors in architecture which is governed by the regional,

climatic and cultural diversities. The state of Rajasthan and its political city Jaipur is a hub for

traditional crafts and its polychromatic display of color which is known internationally. The

palaces belonged to the royal clans where they used the best possible features of aesthetic

representations, through the fine workmanship of the use of color. The important space

making elements in the courtyards such as walls, columns, gates, doors and openings, semi

open spaces comprising of pavilions inside courtyards are assessed for their colors. Colors in

the palaces are seen as kaleidoscopic visual mix. They show a strong traditional background

and are related to traditional Indian treatise which explains their existence. These colors show

strong relevance with the local crafts in Jaipur, where they portray their metaphor in

architecture. Textiles and paintings are the major contributors to the life style in Rajasthan and

it has been like a trigger to the development of the tradition of color. The surface colorations

in palaces have brought out the metaphors of the traditional crafts in architecture. All these

colors are best sensed as a visual display than described but to understand their interactions,

there is a need of a system that will break down the components of colors and help in a

systematic analysis. There are several colors that human eye perceives and it is difficult to

describe the color verbally. Hence, NCS has helped in plotting the exact color shades which

has helped in analyzing them along with a set of parameters derived out of observations


The palaces are identified which are assessed as a visual match with a NCS fan deck of 1,950

colour shades in the natural light in the month of March 2010 in between 10.00 a.m to 5.00

p.m. Extensive photographs have been taken as a part of the documentation. The color

pigments and influences for the use of colors have been identified. Further the analysis

parameters are derived out of overall observations, finally performing a comparative analysis.


Color pigments in Rajasthan have a strong traditional origin and have governed the schools of

painting. In the Vedic tradition, the transformation of mineral stones and metals into colour

pigments is seen as an inherently alchemical journey. They have been identified as primary

colours and secondary colours. The surface colorations show direct influences of the color

shades and designs seen in the crafts of blue pottery, mandana paintings and the colours in the

textiles of sanganer and leheriya fabrics. These are specific to Jaipur and are flourishing


Mandana painting Blue pottery Leheriya(wave patterns) textiles

The terracotta brown color, blue pottery color and the wave patterns are a few examples of

the same.


There are two sets of analysis parameters which are clubbed together. The first set is the one

that is derived out of the NCS plotting, where the colors are segmented in their singular

components of hue, chroma, nuance, blackness and whiteness. The analysis parameters

derived out of the observations are categorized as color as massing and color as decoration.

These further are governed by two sub parameters – firstly geometry, motifs and patters and

secondly the relation between hues.


5.1 Character of five palaces in Jaipur:

The palaces selected for the study are – City Palace complex Jaipur comprising of the main

palace building, Hawa Mahal, Jantar Mantar, and other palaces like the fort of Amber and

Samode Haveli.

Entire color palette of the palaces describing the rationale of colors as a comparative

The most prominent color families seen for massing are in the range of Y70R, Y20R, Y30R.

The connotations show the details of the colors as per the plotting done in NCS. The colour

families of all the palaces demonstrate that most of the colours have their blackness in the

range of 30-50% and whiteness in the range of 20-30%. This quantifies the pastel character of

the colours. The colour as massing and as decoration highly falls in the range of off-whites.

The other colour families identified fall between: R70B, R80B, B10G, B90G and G60Y. The

layering and revealing of architecture is enhanced due to the modulations in the use of colors.


The colors used are not many, but the kaleidoscopic display is an outcome of the geometry

and color compositions. The colour summary of all the palaces show strong coherence. Also

the exterior colours of the palaces are in harmony with the ochres seen in the city. The study

can be used further for the conservation of the palaces in Jaipur in the present time as well as

in the future. Colorations with such a sensitive approach on the basis of precise interpretation

of color shades and color interactions can be imbibed in new contemporary spaces. Palaces

are not very prevalent in today’s context, but the essence of colors extracted from them has a

wide range of applications. They have the potential to give a new dimension to colour usage

for designers and craftsmen in the fields of art, design and interior architecture.


________ ______ ________ ___ ______ _______ ______ __ ____ ___ ______ _ __ __

______ _______________________

MA International Architectural Regeneration & Development, ‘Walled city of Jaipur:

Modikhana Project’, Oxford Brookes University, January-June 2007

MarĂ­a L. F. de MATTIELLO, ‘Colour and light in architecture’, AIC Brazil 2004


Jutterstrom, Per, Four cities, four colours, Coherent colours of four cities in Rajasthan, India,

The Swedish Research Council for Environment

Dr Smith, Dianne, Colour and Space: An Investigation of Three – Dimensionality,

Queensland University of Technology, Australia.

Tillotson, GHR-‘The Rajput Palaces’: The development of an architectural style1450-1750’,

Oxford University press, 1999.

Renner, Paul, Colour: ‘Order and Harmony: A colour theory for artists and craftsmen’,

Germany, 1964.

Saili Sonar has done her PG in MIAD (Masters in Interior Architecture & Design) from School of Interior Design, CEPT University, and is currently working with Canna Patel in Ahemdabad.

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