June 6, 2020

Colour in Brisbane – 1

In Grey Days and Grey Ways, PT asked why grey seems to be Vancouver’s default colour.  Lots of great comments, ending with this by Sam De Groot:

… in this town in particular, like other places that have grey climates, architects really do need to come out and embrace a bit of colour. Nordic countries, Slavic countries and traditional Newfoundland have colourful towns for the very reason that we need them, it livens the place up when the weather conspires to deaden.came in:

From the Nordic to Sub-tropical climes – notably those in Australia, like Brisbane – architects play with colour.

With respect to a place like Brisbane and its use of colour in urban design and architecture, I’ve been there before:


Here’s some examples from my most recent trip in March (the last month of the pre-covid world we’re in), starting in Brisbane.


Queensland is subtropical, and March is still in summer.  But note that these images are taken on cloudy days in a light similar to ours.




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  1. The next building boom in Vancouver is likely to be all those businesses that need to expand into outdoor space in order to function in the two-meter world, which suggests opportunities for new colourful and temporary interventions in the public realm.

  2. Yeah, I REALLY hope that ALL Cascadian cities start to embrace super colorful, whimsical buildings! Kevin Cavenaugh (by *far* my favorite developer on Earth!) ALWAYS goes super whimsical and fun! And his buildings are the MOST affordable of any new construction in the entire Cascadian region!! So, wildly colorful (including $120/gallon for that special German red paint!) doesn’t have to translate to high rents!

    Nordic countries are *amazing* at building super bold, colorful buildings all the time–and they have for many, many, many years! What on Earth is taking Cascadia so long to get with the program?!? Grey buildings dotting entire downtowns? Seriously?!? 🙂

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      1. I don’t know if I am missing something, but I take it that there is no way to post photos in comments. I have some photos of colour that I thought would be nice to see.

  3. Staples at Seymour and Smithe used to have a nice colourful bright red awning that incorporated an art deco motif , then they replaced it with a boring clear glass awning during the building renovation.