Top five colourful buildings in the western world

If you take a second to glance up at the London Sky Line, while you may be met with some beautiful buildings you won’t see much colour. In fact, visit any major city in England, or any western country for that matter, and you will be met with a sea of monochrome architecture.

In his book ‘Chromophobia,’ David Batchelor explains why this is the case.  Batchelor describes westerners as having a ‘fear of colour’ as they associate it with corruption and contamination. According to Batchelor, in a bid to overcome this fear we have tried to control colour by limiting its use, hence all the grey high rises decorating our cities.

Here at Designcurial we thought this was all a little bit depressing, so we have found the top five most colourful buildings in the western world, in an attempt to prove Batchelor wrong.

The Experience Music Project, Seattle

This stunning museum of music was built by Frank Gehry who drew inspiration from the iconic design of Stratocaster guitars. Painted aluminium shingles encase the outside of the building, each individually painted piece of metal responds differently to the light appearing as different colours depending on which angle they are viewed from.

Brandhorst Museum by Sauerbruch Hutton, Munich

Located in Munich, this building has a colourful façade that resembles an abstract painting which is fitting considering that it is a contemporary art museum. Made of 36,000 individual ceramic surfaces glazed in 23 different colours the outside of the building is a much a work of art as the pieces inside.


Nursery School by Javier Larraz, Iñigo Beguiristain, and Iñaki Bergera, Spain

Kids love colour. Designers Javier Larraz, Iñigo Beguiristain, and Iñaki Bergera kept this in mind when they built this Nursery School in Spain. A rainbow of colourful slats surrounds the school which is designed using the traditional approach of Reggio Emilia which involves all spaces leading to a central area.


Haight Street, San Francisco

Over in California they have not one, not two, but a whole street of colourful buildings. Once the centre of the hippy counter culture movement in the swinging sixties, these Victorian-style painted ladies houses are famous. Today the area is home to trendy boutiques, bars and cafes.


Dexia Towers, Brussels

Soaring a staggering 145 meters into the sky, Dexia Tower is the third tallest building in Belgium and the most colourful. The building was designed by Lab-au and uses a dozen LEDs in each window causing the tower to shine like a beacon. The colour of the building changes depending on the weather which is displayed for ten minutes each hour.

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