La Fabrica is a dismissed cement factory near Barcelona taking on new life as the renovated studio and home of Architect Ricardo Bofill.
by Luigi Coluccia
This amazing story tells about a Spanish architect and a former cement plant. Architect Ricardo Bofill has conceived and carried out a stunning architectural conversion. In 1973, the architect was fascinated by an old, dismissed factory, which was located near Barcelona. Nothing exceptional here, how many of us have ever experienced a similar feeling? The thing that makes this story really extraordinary, is that the architect decided to purchase the entire area and started work on it to refurbish the entire architectural complex to make it become a residential area. The former factory has been then transformed into a modern and elegant home studio.
The former cement factory dates back to the First World War and includes thirty silos, huge machine halls and underground tunnels stretching for four kilometers. “The works started with a partial demolition to give light to hidden forms and retrieve some lost spaces,” said Bofill. The new architectural complex, known with the name “La Fabrica”, has become, 44 years later, a magnificent piece of architecture, turned into a modern residential area.
Now it is the seat of the achitect’s professional studio, the “Ricardo Bofill Taller de Architecture”. The studio was founded in 1963, as the architect started build around him a team of talents from different disciplines: architects, engineers, urban planners, graphics, writers, filmmakers and philosophers from all around the world. The aim was to create innovative spaces, in some way challenging the already established cultural, social and architectural norms.
Currently there are silos used as offices, meeting rooms and archives. There are also huge exhibition and concert halls. The restructuring is still a work in progress and it isseems really to be a neverending job. Perhaps this has also been the purpose or the 77-year old architect, who has turned this work into a real reason for living. He has continously and tirelessly found a stimulous to go ahead and look at a future that constantly tends to change its shape.
A green oasis also surrounds “La Fabrica”, giving to that area a special fairy touch to get lost. We perceive a kind of magic, while facing a powerful and majestic piece of architetcture where tons of cement have been beautifully replaced by eucalyptus, palms, olive trees and cypresses. That place can’t be missed.