The Factory / Ricardo Bofill

  • 15 Nov 2012
  • Featured Houses Refurbishment Selected Works
Courtesy of

Architects: Ricardo Bofill
Location: Sant Just Desvern,
Photographs: Courtesy of Ricardo Bofill, Richard Powers

Courtesy of Ricardo Bofill

In 1973 Ricardo Bofill found a disused cement factory, an industrial complex from the turn of the century consisting of over 30 silos, subterranean galleries and huge machine rooms, and he decided to transform it into the head office of Taller de Arquitectura. Remodelling work lasted two years. The factory, abandoned and partially in ruins, was a compendium of surrealist elements: stairs that climbed up to nowhere, mighty reinforced concrete structures that sustained nothing, pieces of iron hanging in the air, huge empty spaces filled nonetheless with magic.

© Richard Powers

The transformation process began with the demolition of part of the old structure to leave hitherto concealed forms visible, as if the concrete had been sculpted. Once the spaces had been defined, cleaned of cement and encompassed by new greenery, the process began of adaptation to the new programme. Eight silos remained, which became offices, a models laboratory, archives, a library, a projections room and a gigantic space known as “The Cathedral”, used for exhibitions, concerts and a whole range of cultural functions linked to the professional activities of the architect. The complex stands in the midst of gardens with eucalyptus, palms, olive trees and cypresses. This project is evidence of the fact that an imaginative architect may adapt any space to a new function, no matter how different it may be from the original one.

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Cite: "The Factory / Ricardo Bofill" 15 Nov 2012. ArchDaily. Accessed 30 Sep 2014. <http://www.archdaily.com/?p=294077>

11 comments

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    Probably one of the finest home & office. I believe that at the time (not sure though) his sister Ann signed the plans because he didn’t have his diploma yet! It was revolutionary at the time: there were not so many conversions especially not from a heavy industry like a cement factory. How brilliant is the use of the volumes especially the silos! One more thing: he was also one of the first of having a multi- disciplinary work shop including philosophers. Needless to say that I like his job very much.

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