Façades and Stripes:
An Account of Striped Façades from Medieval Italian Churches to the Architecture of Mario Botta [Conference Paper]

SAHANZ 2011: “Audience”: 28th Annual Conference of the Society of Architectural Historians, Australia and New Zealand. Brisbane, Australia.

Stripes have adorned architectural façades for centuries, and can be found on buildings as diverse as the celebrated striped churches of medieval Italy, and Adolf Loos’s notorious unbuilt house for Josephine Baker. It is the purpose of this paper to begin to piece together an account of such varied extant and unrealised striped façades, to establish an understanding of their techniques and forms, as well as the theoretical interpretations and justifications that have been put forward in support of their use. The study is significant as there appears to be no existing historical survey of striped façades, coupled with very little discussion or analysis of the compositional operation and use of stripes in architecture. By redressing this largely overlooked body of architecture, this paper is not only able to speculate on connections between numerous striped façades over nearly one thousand years of building, but also to suggest the presence of an inherently deceptive function of stripes, that has the power to manipulate, exaggerate, clarify and confuse the appearance of the architectural façade.

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Author: Ashley Paine
Conference Location: Brisbane, QLD
Date: 2011