In Residence: Ricardo Bofill
How the Spanish Architect Built An Empire Out of a Disused Factory
There are houses, and then there’s Ricardo Bofill’s house: a brutalist former cement factory of epic proportions on the outskirts of Barcelona, Spain.
Straight from Nowness
A grandiose monument to industrial architecture in the Catalonian town of Sant Just Desvern, La Fabrica is a poetic and personal space that redefines the notion of the conventional home. “Nowadays we want everyone who comes through our door to feel comfortable, but that’s not Bofill’s idea here,” says filmmaker Albert Moya, who directed latest installment of In Residence. “It goes much further, you connect with the space in a more spiritual way.” Rising above lush gardens that mask the grounds’ unglamorous roots, the eight remaining silos that once hosted an endless stream of workmen and heavy machinery now house both Bofill’s private life, and his award-winning architecture and urban design practice.
Founded in 1963, Ricardo Bofill Taller de Arquitectura (RBTA) is one of Spain’s most prolific firms, with a long list of work that spans the globe: from Les Halles and the Christian Dior headquarters in Paris, to the JP Morgan’s skyscraper in Chicago and the Shangri-La Hotel in Beijing. But it is Bofill’s monolithic conversion showcased here that is undoubtedly his most personal work: a successful, and beautiful experiment in repurposing space, which has become a landmark of alternative living. “My entire crew was under the age of 30, and we all listened to Bofill wide-eyed,” says Moya. “To see someone who is approaching 80 with such a modern and young mentality gave hope to all of us.”