May 16, 2020

5 brightly coloured builds

Casa Batllo
La Boca
Buenos Aires
Catherine Sturman
2 min
St Basil's Cathedral, Moscow
Since the turn of the industrial revolution, buildings have been known to be neutral colours, appealing to a multitude of buyers and consumers. However...

Since the turn of the industrial revolution, buildings have been known to be neutral colours, appealing to a multitude of buyers and consumers. However, we look at five brightly coloured builds which go against this trend, becoming popular with locals and tourists, boosting local economies and celebrating unique architecture.

Haight Street, San Francisco

Bright, colourful Victorian houses currently line Haight Street in San Francisco. The area was once part of the sixties hippie scene, where houses were affordable and not vastly overpopulated within the post-war era.  

Prior to their development, the site incorporated farms and land, which was connected to the rest of San Francisco by cable car.

St Basil’s Cathedral, Moscow

Built in the 16th century and situated in the red square lies St Basil’s Cathedral, constructed during the reign of Tsar Ivan IV. The cathedral replaces the Trinity Church, previously situated on site.

Now a museum, the cathedral incorporates several colours which have been restored from the 17th century onwards.

Constructed with stone, brick and an internal wooden supporting frame, the build has been expanded throughout the years, becoming a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1990.

Cinque Terre, Italy

Although affected by unpredictable weather conditions, the homes within Cinque Terre display an array of bright colours since the 1970s, incorporating several villages in the area.

Part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1997, the homes overlook the sea and have become popular with tourists who wish for seclusion and privacy.

La Boca, Buenos Aires, Argentina

Constructed with locally sourced materials, La Boca in Argentina is popular with tourists due to its multi-coloured builds and cultural, lively music scene. The area is still home to many who used to work in shipyards in the region.

A mix of European nationalities now call La Boca home, housing theatres and other entertainment venues for tourists and locals to enjoy.

Casa Batllo, Barcelona

Renowned as one of Antoni Gaudi’s most famous works, the Casa Batlló was originally renovated in the end of the 19th century and is named after the Batlló family who selected Gaudi to undertake the work. The home was completely renovated to encompass extra floors and enable increased light to enter the building.

Constructed with glass, sandstone and various stones, tiles have been utilised in the construction of mosaic pieces, eliminating the notion of straight, rigid structures within the build. The building showcases an array of colours, with many of interior and exterior creations reflecting the skeletal appearance of animals, such as the debated spine of a dragon within the roof, created with the use of different coloured tiles.

The building has since become a UNESCO World Heritage site.

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Jun 17, 2021

Webuild and Lane to build railway in Texas

2 min
Italian construction firm Webuild and its U.S. subsidiary Lane Construction sign a US$16bn contract to build a railway in Texas

Webuild, formerly known as Salini Impregilo, has announced a US$16bn agreement to build a high-speed railway between Dallas and Houston in Texas. The project has been described as the “final step” before financial closure for the company, which Webuild said was“foreseen in the coming months”. 

Passengers using the 236-mile long railway, which was developed by Texas LLC, will travel in Japanese Tokaido Shinkansen bullet trains at 200mph, making one scheduled stop at Brazos Valley near Texas A&M University. This aims to shorten the total journey time between the two terminals from almost four hours to around 90 minutes, Texas LLC claims. The company hopes commercial operations will begin in 2026. 

According to Webuild, the new line will aim to target an estimated 100,000 “super commuters” who travel between the two cities by car and plane every week. Webuild said it would cut greenhouse gas emissions by up to 101,000 tonnes per year.

This contract is an update on a preliminary design-build agreement signed with Texas Central LLC in 2019, valued at $14bn. The deal confirms the US as Webuild's single biggest market, comprising some 35% of the group’s total order backlog.

Around 17,000 new direct jobs will be created as a result of the project, as well as 20,000 indirect ones. U.S. suppliers from states aim to provide an estimated US$7.3bn of materials to construct the railway in conjunction with services provided by Italian suppliers. 

Webuild and Lane will oversee the civil engineering works of the project. This includes the tracks themselves, the viaducts, and depot buildings. 

Three facts about bullet trains 

  • The fastest commercially operated bullet train is not in Japan, but China. It is capable of reaching speeds of up to 268mph… with passengers onboard. 
  • Bullet trains are one of the safest ways to travel. Over 10bn passengers have been on board a bullet train and no-one has ever been killed on one. 
  • The “tunnel boom effect” is powerful enough to blow a freight train over. When a bullet train exits a tunnel at over 200mph, the resulting sonic boom effect is so strong, it could blow a normal freight train off its tracks.


Image: Texas Central LLC.

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