Blue, Red, Orange and Green…

When I lived at Kenmure Street in Glasgow I remember the owners of the six flats not being able to agree on what colour to repaint the close. There was always someone not wanting a colour and usually because they associated it with a football team or religion.

In the end they chose grey. No one seemed to object to grey, although no one particularly liked it. So grey was chosen because nobody objected, not because it was liked.

So many modern buildings seem to end up as shades of grey. Where has all the colour gone?

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We often get told by housing associations to avoid using certain colours because they think it will offend someone. However, my view is that this is simply accepting sectarianism. Greens, blues, oranges and reds belong to us all and we should not loose our ability to use them in public spaces.

We built a large estate of houses in Greenock years ago and by some quirk, the colours we chose got painted on the doors. There were blue, red, orange and green doors all scattered throughout the estate. It was very colourful and much liked by residents.

We continue to try and use colour in all our projects as it can have an enormous effect on our feeling of wellbeing and the care we put into creating homes that people want to live in.


At South Greenfield in Glasgow, a row of grey rendered tenements has been enlivened with colour – compare this overcladding with the buff porridge finish often used on tenement overcladding projects.

At East Whins in Findhorn, each house is individualised with coloured timbers. At Bankhall Street care home in Glasgow, shades of blue bring interest to the street and at our new housing at Limonds Wynd in Ayr, each window has an eye-catching, brightly coloured panel.

Mind you, I still have difficulty finding men’s shirts in green. They always seem to be either white, pink or blue…

John Gilbert