We visit La Fábrica in Barcelona, a visionary architectural project aligned with utopian ideals, designed by Catalan architect Ricardo Bofill in 1975.
Visionary architect Ricardo Bofill was born in Barcelona in 1939 and spent the younger years of his life under the reign of Spanish dictator Francisco Franco with whom he shared extremely contrasting political and philosophical beliefs. This would lead him to join the ranks of Marxist activists in the country which then eventually resulted in his ejection from university in Barcelona, forcing Bofill to leave Spain, where he continued his education and launched his career as an architect, traveling and working across Europe.
Upon returning to Barcelona as a respected architect, in 1963 Bofill assembled a team of architects, engineers, philosophers, planners, writers, sociologists, and filmmakers who would later become known as Taller de Arquitectura, a celebrated artistic collective with a progressive philosophy that have created over 1000 major works in cities all of the world.
In 1975 the visionary architect transformed a cement factory that was polluting the local Barcelona area into a brutalist romanticist building and home for the community of creatives within the collective. Bofill was able to keep most of the original structure, allowing nature to grow back alongside the breathtaking new design in a symbiotic organic relationship.
The human eye can capture objects and forms also beyond the centre of gaze. The cement factory appeared as a relic, destined to disappear with its original purpose, as conceived during Catalonia’s early industrialisation of the 1920s. Instead, the project made it a bridge between two worlds – the fading Fordist mode of production and the incoming post-material society. In its current purposes, La Fábrica inherits and safeguards the creative force that shaped the modern periphery in Western nations. Looking through the concrete flesh of the vast complex, it was possible to look beyond the designated function of the cement factory, and unearth its new life under the name of La Fábrica. Rejecting functionalism, unveiling beauty.
La Fábrica captured by resident creatives Alex Messer & Brandon RA ~
It was an honour to briefly shake hands and meet with the man Ricardo Bofill himself who still lives and works in the premises of La Fábrica, captured eloquently in the short film below by NOWNESS, and most recently featured in Season 3 of dystopian artificial intelligence HBO series; Westworld.
Check out this incredible collection of Taller de Arquitectura projects below ~
- Psychic Garden