top of page

Towards an Architect, a response to Le Cobusier's theory on color, by Hannu Karjalainen

Hannu Karjalainen is a Helsinki, Finland based filmmaker, video artist, photographer and musician.

“Towards an Architect” was exhibited in Streaming Museum’s “Nordic Outbreak” – a globally touring exhibition of over 30 Nordic artists that launched in NYC on March 1, 2013.

Color is an elusive subject matter, with both abstract and coded meanings in this work, which is inspired by the color palette created by architect and urbanist Le Corbusier. Le Corbusier chose these colors on the basis of their psychological effect and assumed ability to induce harmony in the viewer. Instead of walls and ceilings, Karjalainen pours the colors on an architect, as if putting Le Corbusier into a close contact with this own creations. The work builds up as a critical response to the work of the architect.

Towards An Architect is a video installation work interpreting the legacy of modernism as manifested in the work and thoughts of Le Corbusier, especially in colour palettes he designed for Swiss wallpaper company Salubra. Le Corbusier chose these colours based on their psychological effect and their assumed ability to induce harmony in the viewer. Currently these colours are available as sets of wall paints.

The installation is based on a true story of a French architect Guillaume Gillet, who in the 1960s designed the Fleury-Mérogis prison, the largest prison in Europe. The prison, that looks more like a Le Corbusier -influenced modern housing unit, was build to accommodate “happy” convicts, who would be able to rehabilitate in the harmonious structure that the prison provides. The experience of the prisoners living in the overpopulated, damp prison was however very different from the projected ideals, and a few of them were so traumatized by the life in these surroundings that they decided to revenge to the architect. The former prisoners broke into the architect’s office and held a gun to his head while they destroyed his office.

The video work portrays a fictional architect, who, experiencing the response of the people forced to live in the structures he has created, is being covered in Le Corbusier paints in different colours.


bottom of page