Saturate; Building Intensity

By Jo Phillips

Coming into March, Spring is no longer a fantasy but a reality. In honour of its return, we celebrate the creativity, innovation, and expression of great designers who show us the possibilities of creating structures that rival the traditional concrete block around the world. We compiled a list of buildings whose beauty can compete with that of a rainbow.

While historical preservation has divided opinion, some have still managed to maintain the spirit of a community. In Singapore, the Ministry of Communications and Information is a neo-classical six-storey that was previously the Old Hill Street Police Station, with 927 sets of rainbow-coloured window-shutters, radiating the city’s multicultural heritage.

Singapore-MinistryofCommunicationandInformation-resizedImage by Tom Benner.

In London, Neal’s Yard still holds a special place in the locals’ hearts. The hidden haven is located in Covent Garden, seconds away from the bustling centre. Brightly painted brick walls are paired with equally sharp panelled windows and plants. This place was originally built to promote a holistic approach to business, bringing people together to create a caring, mindful, and happy community.

London-NealsYard-resizedImage by quietcalliope.

Institutions dedicated to the arts make it their mission to draw people in and inspire them to take part in this cultural aspect of their lives. The Netherlands Institute for Sound and Vision in Hilversum is home to the national archives of Dutch radio and media museums. The infrastructure that’s divided into two by the ground has a majestic glass façade that constantly showcases images from their collection.

Hilversum-NetherlandsInstituteforSoundandVision-resizedBuilt by Neutelings Riedijk Architects. Image by Architizer.

Across the Atlantic Ocean, conceived by the same people who designed the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Spain, the ‘blobi-tectural’ shaped Museum of Pop Culture in Seattle, USA, was made to turn heads. As the non-profit puts an emphasis on many areas – including music, science fiction, and technology – the fluidity in the metallic forms constantly performs against the daylight, mirroring the ever-changing nature of pop culture.

Seattle-MuseumofPopCulture-resizedBuilt by Gehry Partners, LPP. Image by VisitSeattle.

As a state-of-the-art educational ground, the International Management Institute in Kolkata, India, understands the dynamism of the world. The gradient tinted glass veil is meant to symbolise the inspirational icon of the sky and advocate change, through its various states and unstable hues.

Kolkata-IMI-resizedBuilt by Abin Design Studio. Image by archdaily.

Office buildings can also be photogenic. In Brussels, Belgium, the light installation that animates Dexia Tower’s exterior is an ingenious form of weather broadcasting, comprising of 72,000 LED rainbow lights attached to 6,000 windows. Different colours and patterns represent shifts in temperature, humidity, wind speed, and precipitation.

Brussels-DexiaTower-resizedDesigned by Lab[au]. Image by Mapio.

Below the Equator, the first carbon neutral building in Australia is built in Melbourne, for Pixel’s Development team and Sales offices. Formerly known as the CUB Brewery site, the development may have an aesthetically eye-catching appearance of jazzy geometrical scales, but it’s actually an efficient woven fabric of perimeter planters, fixed shading louvers, double-glazed window walls, and solar panel shading.

Melbourne-Pixel-resizedBuilt by Studio505. Image by Misfits’ Architecture.

The art of colourful living takes shape in the form of the Saguaro Hotel in Palm Springs, USA. Influenced by the wildflowers that grow in the Colorado Desert and the vibrant Southwestern and Latin spirit, the bold palette is employed inside and out, with balconies opening up onto a courtyard with shades of palm trees and an inviting turquoise swimming pool.

PalmSprings-Saguaro-resizedBuilt by Stamberg Aferiat Architecture. Image by CURBED.

Back in the city, art enthusiasts try to bring paintings to life, and then live in them. The Spirit of Paul Klee is a six-storey, eighteen-apartment living space inspired by the Swiss painter’s obsession with colours. The LEGO-like cuboid can be found in Madrid, Spain.


Built by Rafael Canizares Torquemada. Image by LA NACION.

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