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Rainbow Projects Spiffing Up the Bleak Architectural Canon

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Architecture can be a very monochromatic field, especially of late, when houses masquerading as all-white boxes are all the rage (along with their angsty, all-black opposites) and achromic monoliths seem to be popping up across the globe. This week, however, has seen an odd influx of color. From residential towers in downtown Vancouver to artistic redefinitions of French modernist icons, rainbow architecture is fighting its way into the refined, colorless architectural delectus—and it sure is pretty.

(↑) This "chapel" (actually more of a community center) on the edge of Ho Chi Minh City is essentially a utilitarian metal shed that Vietnamese architecture firm A21 Studio outfitted with rainbow curtains, interior walls slicked with white paint, and raw plank-wood floors. In all its meant to be a simple, inexpensive way to add cheer and congregation areas in a city where swelling urban populations squeeze out public areas in favor of private residences.

(↑) Netherlands-based LIAG Architecten kept this 150,700-square-foot commercial building from stodginess by installing bands of colors slotted on its curving white exterior. According to the architects, "the white layers of the façade make the building look like a stack of paper trimmed to fit the contours of the plot," which makes sense considering the company housed inside is NBD Biblion, which "provides services for public libraries and multimedia centers.

(↑) Over in downtown Vancouver, local developer Concord Pacific just got approval to build two 30-story residential towers with a kaleidoscopic cluster of balconies.

(↑) Famous French modernist Le Corbusier—whose work has influenced everyone from Kanye West to Karl Lagerfeld—could not, it turns out, eschew kodachromes forever, as French artist Daniel Buren recently installed a Candyland-esque series of mirrors and sheets of glass to the roof of Le Corb's Cité Radieuse building in Marseille, France. Called Défini, Fini, Infini, the sculpture is meant to complement the master's concrete forms which, when first built in 1952. "It's not easy to begin with, but it's the kind of space where you can do your best and be as critical and enthusiastic as you can," Buren says. "There's a risk of being overshadowed by a masterpiece."

· a21studio Shades the Chapel with Colorful Curtains in Ho Chi Minh City [Design Boom]
· NBD/Biblion [Architizer]
· Concord Gets Approval for Two Rainbow Towers on Expo Blvd. [Curbed Vancouver]
· Le Corbusier's Cité Radieuse Gets a Shiny, Rainbow Rooftop [Curbed National]