Rehabilitation and re-signification of the urban environment through colour management on the façades


Subject work y Final Degree work


María Senderos Laca/ José Javier Pérez Martínez


School of Engineering of Gipuzkoa, University of the Basque Country (UPV/EHU)


Official College of Basque-Navarre Architects (COAVN)




The ageing of cities and their necessary rehabilitation is creating a niche of valuable opportunities for improving the energy efficiency of buildings. The energy improvement of the environment through the modification of its façades should be understood as an opportunity to give a new meaning to the urban environment, and to rectify uncontrolled interventions. This improvement accelerated by public investment has led to an increase in the alterations caused in the urban environment with chaotic and unregulated intervention in them. 

It is urgent to regulate the intervention on façades to avoid the degradation and accelerated loss of identity of cities. The colour on the façade, the colour in the cities, the materiality of the buildings, are part of the characteristics that give the cities personality. San Sebastian is a city in which the sandstone, with grey slate or zinc covers, with light grey shutters, with the counterpoint on façades with granite or green tiles, are particularly common, but is generally endowed with a character and personality of its own. 

Each area of San Sebastian has morphological, material and chromatic characteristics that differentiate it and that give the city coherence, beauty and compositional balance.  
Freedom in the modification of façades, the lack of an ordinance in this respect and the protection only of buildings with patrimonial value is allowing the degradation of the city through interventions with little aesthetic, architectural and chromatic criteria. The homogeneity created by the envelopes in buildings depersonalises and impoverishes urban environments in a process similar to that of trade, that is, in a process of globalisation and cultural homogenisation. 

This study seeks to identify the types of interventions on demeaning façades for the city, as well as to draft a proposal for the regulation of interventions on façade through colour and material management. This proposal can serve as a basis for the implementation of façade ordinances that prevent degradation of valuable areas and allow the improvement of degraded areas, through a colour project.

The work will study selected examples of the city of San Sebastian with differentiated problems regarding the degradation of the façades located in the following neighbourhoods: Berabera, Errotaburu, Amara, Txomin, Gros, Recalde and Ensanche de San Sebastian. The colour and graphic analysis of the selected case studies will be carried out, identifying the different existing problems and their possible solutions through a colour and material project. The study will have a direct transfer with the company through the Official Association of Basque-Navarro Architects. 

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