Why Do Architects Wear Black?


Editor: Cordula Rau
Publisher: Springer Wien New York
Year: 2009
Size: 228 pages
ISBN: 978-3-211-79191-2


It truly is a question for the ages: why do architects wear black? Really, I’d like some kind of history of the entire phenomenon researched – from the trend’s inception to today [my favorite is the all black clothes except for the socks, which are obnoxiously colourful – always classic]. That, and those damned thick-rimmed glasses…

Well apparently Cordula Rau, editor of Why Do Architects Wear Black, was asked the question and couldn’t think up an answer. Her response: “Ask the other architects!”. So that’s exactly what she did – over the span of a few years Cordula asked architect’s themselves the question, and had them write out an answer. For the book, she has compiled these scribbled replies as they were written by the architects, along with a translation/typed version.

The sometimes amusing and other times programmatic or hair-splitting answers I have received over the last seven years are listed chronologically in this little black volume. Read, and please, don’t ask me why architects wear black! [via]


[“I also wonder why everyone wears black. Nowadays I’m trying to wear bright colors, but today I’m all in black by accident. What a pity!!”, Toyo Ito]

Almost perfect in it’s simplicity, the book is absolutely hilarious – and telling. Answers range from the honesty of Toyo Ito [above], to Bjark Ingles ridiculousness [below], Eisenman’s “I don’t wear black” [a lie!], Jun Aoki’s “An architect is (still) a kind of communist” [he hasn’t heard of Dubai, apparently], and Arno Brandlhuber’s “They are in mourning about their many unrealized projects” [possibly the answer that makes the most sense].

Definitely a great little book – bringing some levity to the profession [much like AMNP!], while asking the tough questions. I always thought it had something to do with the GSD…


[“Cuz I iz black”, Bjarke Ingles, PLOT (now of BIG)]

Why Do Architects Wear Black, edited by Cordula Rau, can be purchased here from the AMNP store.

::Special AMNP thanks to Hee for the book!::

Posted: December 4th, 2008
at 8:20am by orangemenace

Categories: architecture,my ninja, please,books

Comments: 3 comments


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