The use of colour in architecture is an increasingly important subject as scientific research in the fields of neurosciences and psychology, among others, shed light on our sensory perception of colour and how it influences the way we recognise and interact with architecture. This trend is being explored in an exhibition at the Victoria & Albert Museum in London entitled Chromazone: Colour in Contemporary Architecture through July 21 this year. ‘[Architects] use colour to create identity, define space and heighten our experience of a building,’ V&A writes, and that’s exactly what the following 10 buildings show you.

1. The Saguaro Palm Springs by Stamberg Aferiat Architecture
In redesigning a 1965 structure and transforming it into a modern hotel, architects Peter Stamberg and Paul Aferiat used a bold colour palette that reflects the natural surroundings: ‘We have infused the property with hues that reflect the indigenous flowers of the desert region.’ Stamberg and Aferiat say.

2. On The Corner by Eastern Design Office
Geometrical forms are the crux of an apartment building in Shiga, Japan, that sits on a triangular lot at a ‘fork in the road,’ where two streets meet at an acute angle. Despite its prominent shape, the light blue tones of the building’s façade seem, at certain angles, to merge the structure with the sky, camouflaging it.

3. Zaanstad City Hall Exterior by Soeters Van Eldonk Architecten
‘The features of the local architecture have been applied in a new way,’ says architect Sjoerd Soeters about his Zaanstad City Hall project which pays homage to Holland’s traditional canal house architecture. ‘T wooden façades are very flat and painted in all sorts of green hues, and the architectural image is reinforced by the use of white cornices, windows and scrolls.’

4. Dellow Day Centre by Featherstone Young
Colour brings cheerfulness to a charity’s activity centre in London’s East End. Angular yellow and green perforated cladding allows daylight to flood the building while offering a sense of privacy for people inside.

5. The Movement Cafe by Morag Myerscough
Built in only 16 days, the temporary colourful structure was a community-centred space whose ethos resonated through the design process and the running of the café.
The design demonstrates how basic materials and cooperative spirits can create an economically viable, fun space in an area requiring regeneration.

6. Collective Housing Boréal by TETRARC
In Nantes, France, TETRARC modernised a social-housing building into a creative and colourful architectural feat.

7. Shelter Island House by Stamberg Aferiat
A colourful re-examination of Mies van der Rohe 1929 Barcelona Pavilion, Shelter Island became the defining work of New York based studio Stamberg Aferiat’s practice. The vibrant colours of the painted corrugated aluminium walls connect the house’s two separate volumes and create, together with the painted rubber roof, a dynamic aesthetic of light and colour, thus achieving the architects’ aim of making transparent the lines between architecture and art.

8. Braamcamp Freire High School Refurbishment by CVDB Arquitectos
Exploring the importance of the ‘right design’ for learning environments and its influence in the education of students, CVDB Arquitectos have created a dynamic architecture, whose conceptual contrasts are dictated by the function of spaces. The classrooms and administrative areas, for instance, are characterised by the use of sober materials which contrast with the vibrant colours in the common interior spaces and parts of the building’s façade.

9. 242 Social Housing Units in Salburúa by ACXT Architects
A vibrant splash of colour sits in the midst of grey structures in Vitoria-Gasteiz, a town in northern Spain. The social housing block which features 242 apartments boast a crimson envelop which contrasts sharply with its surroundings.

10. Sugamo Shinkin Bank - Ekoda branch by Emmanuelle Moureaux
Tokyo-based French architect designed the rainbow’s end next to a pot of gold for a new branch of the Sugamo Shinkin Bank. Relying on the concept of ‘a rainbow shower’, Moureaux worked to bring a cheerful design, not only to the bank itself, but also extend it to its surroundings, ‘returning colours and some room for playfulness back to the area’.