Walden 7 is a project implementing some of Ricardo Bofill's earliest ambitions and addressing most of the problems of modern city life. It is located on the same lot as Taller de Arquitectura, based in the refurbished ruins of an old cement factory. The housing structure benefits from Bofill's earlier research and the idea of providing public spaces and gardens for residents to enjoy an enhanced quality of living.
The building consists of a fourteen story cluster of apartments grouped around five courtyards, on top of which are two swimming pools. With a few exceptions, each apartment looks onto both the exterior and one of the interior courtyards. At several levels there is a complex system of bridges and balconies for access, producing a fantastic variety of vistas and enclosures.
The exterior facade has the appearance of a huge fortification completely painted in red. It is opened to the exterior through large overtures such as urban windows several stories in height. The courtyards have a lively treatment because of the intense blue, violet and yellow colored facade. The main courtyard, located at the building's entrance, is an extension of the street and the plaza for the use of the inhabitants.
The organization of spaces is of wide variety. The units consist of different combinations of 30sqm units distributed over one or two floors. Dwellings range from single module studios to four module apartments.
The most interesting aspect of the project is the atypical way in which the housing block is approached. Eighteen towers, seven courtyards, a modular but unsystematic grid, and extensive public space create a vertical labyrinth with no repetitiveness or uniformity.
Architects: Ricardo Bofill
Location: Sant Just Desvern
Area: 31140.0 sqm
Project Year: 1975
Photographs: Courtesy of Ricardo Bofill