Great architecture isn’t always about sleek lines, minimal environs, and a neutral palette. As John Hench, Academy-Award winner and Disney Legend, said “color is a very critical thing. I’ve found that architects don’t like colors. Engineers too. And so somebody has to stand in. Because this is the finish of it. It is the emotional part of a structure.”
After spotting this rainbow hued sports complex that glows brilliantly at night, we couldn’t help but wonder what other larger than life versions of one of the best toys ever made might exist in the world. From a house in Turkey that glows inside and out to a hotel in Abu Dhabi that’s the world’s largest LED project, click through to check out some of the most brilliant designs in the world that break the minimal, black and white mold. Which is your favorite?
Polideportivo in Sa Indiotería by Jordi Herrero + Sebastián Escanellas – Palma de Mallorca, Spain
Image credit: Jaime Sicilia via archdaily
Providing a subtle light show all day long, a translucent rainbow-colored polycarbonate shell hovers over the complex, giving every space a soft, but vibrant, glow.
Orange House by Yazgan Design Architecture – Ankara, Turkey
Image credit: Adelto
This contemporary Turkish home takes living with color to another level entirely. At night, the home’s facade slowly changes from red to orange to violet, but the interior is like a tasteful, architectural interpretation of a rainbow-colored fruit roll-up all of the time.
Stuttgart City Library by Yi Architects – Stuttgart, Germany
If MC Escher had ever played around with neon, it would have looked like this. The warm, white exterior by day transforms to a cool, club-esque blue at night. An afterhours dance club in an awesome modern library? There’s an idea.
Electrabel power station by Magic Monkey – Drogenbos, Belgium
Image credit: BARCO
Created by the innovative urban communication firm Magic Monkey, this living architecture project lets a massive Belgian power station be “as graceful as a bolshoi ballerina through the unique corseted placement of thousands of individually controllable RGB LED pixels.”
Hotel Yas by Asymptote Architecture – Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
Built over and around a Formula 1 racetrack, this stunning feat boasts the largest LED installation in the world. As the firm’s founders state, they “envisioned an architectural landmark embodying various key influences and inspirations ranging from the aesthetics and forms associated with speed, movement and spectacle to the artistry and geometries forming the basis of ancient Islamic art and craft traditions.”
National Library of Belarus by Viktor Kramarenko and Michael Vinogradov with Walter Industries – Minsk, Belarus
Inspired by the diamond as a symbol of the knowledge of the books stored within, the glazed library glitters by day and glows by night thanks to a custom lighting system made up of 4646 RGB color-changing LED fixtures, 1349 controllers, 54 splitters, a channel splitter, a converter, and a computer that directs the light shows with the aid of custom-designed software.
Nordwesthaus by Baumschlager Eberle – Fußach, Austria
Image credit: Eduard Hueber via Nordwesthaus
This kaleidoscopic clubhouse/boathouse was designed to become the new meeting point of the local sailing community.
Aspire Tower by Hadi Simaan, AREP and Ove Arup and Partners – Doha, Qatar
Image credit: Latest Interior Design
The tallest structure in Qatar, the tower was originally designed for the 2006 Asian Games. The mesh exterior is illuminated with festive LEDs. It currently holds the record for tallest ever games flame.
GreenPix by Simon Giostra & Partners with Arup and SunTech – Beijing, China
This zero energy media wall was originally designed for the 2008 Beijing Olympics. Harvesting sunlight collected during the day via photovoltaic solar cells, the show-stopping facade was the largest color LED display in the world at the time it was built. You can engage with the colorful skin thanks to intelligent software that responds to internal and external data (meaning humans). With this project, the unique media-centric design firm hopes to “define new standards in the context of urban interventions worldwide and raise global interest in the integration of digital technology with architecture.”
Marion Cultural Center by ARM Architects – Marion, Australia
Image credit: ARM Architecture
Designed to be the heart of the city, this cultural center incorporates its name as a glowing, energy efficient design element. As Felicity Ann Lewis, the mayor of Marion states, “it has created a focal point where the communities can socialize, interact, and enjoy the arts.”
Xiying Rainbow Bridge – Penghu, Taiwan
Image credit: Colossal
It has made the rounds on the web, but it’s one of the most imaginative examples of illuminated architecture in the world. Rainbow bridge, we heart you.