Le Corbusier’s buildings nearly all make use of color, but the effect is by no means the same. In the 1920s, the architect used color to shape the a priori white space and lend it specific moods. In the postwar period, concrete left in its raw state with visible traces of the formwork became the trademark of a new architectural language. The former delicate pastel shades were now replaced by the seven spectral colors demonstrated by the physicist Isaac Newton in the seventeenth century. Le Corbusier dedicated himself to the study of suitable color schemes, contrasting them with surfaces left in their natural state.
The Zurich pavilion marks the end point of this development. All that remains on the exterior are carefully grouped white, yellow, green, red, and black enameled sheet metal panels. The exposed concrete is relegated to the ramp attached at the side of the building.