Ricardo Bofill (born 5 December 1939), a graduate of the Barcelona University School of Architecture and the School of Geneva, and the founder of interdisciplinary firm Taller de Arquitectura, is renowned for his extensive body of work and ever-changing design aesthetic. His career has spanned over 50 years, encompassing more than 1000 buildings in cities ranging from Lisbon and Boston to Tokyo and St. Petersburg. His architectural approach has evolved across decades and has permeated dozens of countries worldwide.
To the uninitiated, Ricardo Bofill might come across as something of a chameleon. Comparing the post-modernism of his projects in Paris of the 1980s, his recent glass-and-steel towers, and the stark stoicism of his own home and studio which he renovated in the 1980s, one would be forgiven for thinking that there is no consistent thread present throughout his work. However, as Bofill reveals in this interview from Vladimir Belogolovsky's “City of Ideas” series, his designs are actually rooted in concepts of regionalism and process which, while recently popular with the architectural community at large, have underpinned his architectural mind since his twenties.
Vladimir Belogolovsky: Your office, a former cement factory, La Fabrica, built back in late 19th century here in Barcelona is fascinating. Would you say it is a manifesto project and is it a work in progress for you or is it finished?
Ricardo Bofill: No, this is not a manifesto. This place is my home. I have lived and worked here for over 40 years. It is not finished and it will never be finished. I think architecture can never be finished. It always needs more work. We started this project by doing demolition, destruction, and deconstruction work first. I loved this place when I first discovered it because it was never planned or designed. Instead, it developed over many years, expanding and rebuilding every time new technology was introduced. It was an homage to industry. The factory reminded me of vernacular architecture. It was industrial vernacular that attracted me. Also there were so many surreal moments such as stairs and bridges going nowhere and arches and porticos in the most unexpected places… I started with a very romantic idea to bring nature into this industrial place. There are plants everywhere. There is a whole ecological layer planted on top of the original industrial complex.
Framed by Florida's picturesque Biscayne Bay, 3900 Alton Road will be architect Ricardo Bofill’s first condominium project in the United States. With 78 residences in a variety of sizes, and amenities including pools, electric vehicle charging stations and artwork by Fernando Mastrangelo and Loris Cecchini, the elegant new tower will be an “urban oasis” in Miami Beach.
East of Paris, in Seine-Saint-Denis, sits a "Babel-like" housing estate. Its otherworldly atmosphere—existing somewhere between a 'new world' utopian dream and a postmodern, neoclassical housing estate—has set the scene for two Hollywood films including Brazil (1984) and, more recently, the upcoming second instalment of The Hunger Games: Mockingjay (2015). Parisian photographer Laurent Kronental's photo series, Souvenir d'un Futur (Memory of a Future), is an homage to the senior citizens of the French capital's Grand Ensemble region — not only in Noisy-le-Grand but across the Parisian banlieue. His photographs capture a number of places and their people which, in spite of their often megalomaniacal architectural settings, have been comparatively overlooked.
See Laurent Kronental's photo series—the result of four years of visits—after the break.
FC Barcelona has announced 14 teams in the running for two planned overhauls of their facilities at the Camp Nou in Barcelona, including alterations to their main stadium and the rebuilding of the Palau Blaugrana, the nearby arena owned by the club and used primarily for basketball and handball. The alterations to the two buildings are part of a larger €600 million project, known officially as "Nou Espai Barça," which seeks to improve the club's entire campus, also adding an ice skating rink, new offices, 5,000 parking spaces and improving the outdoor space surrounding the facilities. The Nou Espai Barça project was approved by the club's fanbase last April after a 72% vote in favor of the proposal.
The list names eight teams - including BIG, Populous, HKS and Arup Sport - in the running for the overhaul of the stadium itself, which will involve the addition of almost 6,000 seats to bring the stadium's total capacity to 105,000, increasing the stadium's lead as the largest football stadium in Europe. It will also include a complete redesign of the lowest seating tier to offer improved views, and the addition of a roof over the terraces. Also named are the six teams in the running to rebuild the Palau Blaugrana.
You’ve seen it before, Ricardo Bofill’s captivating transformation of Spain’s oldest cement factory into his own stunning, Brutalist residence. Now, tour through the home’s most unique spaces with the Spanish architect himself as he shares his story about The Factory in the latest of NOWNESS’ In Residence series.
The much anticipated Time Space Existence collateral event at Palazzo Bembo and Palazzo Mora for the 2014 Venice Architecture Biennale brought together a diverse group of 100 architects from six continents in an "extraordinary combination." Summoned by the Dutch non-profit Global Arts Affairs Foundation, the exhibitions the architects were asked to produce documents current developments and thoughts in architecture, highlighting fundamental questions by discussing the philosophical concepts of Time, Space and Existence. Featuring well established architects next to lesser known practices, they all share a "dedication to architecture in the broadest sense of their profession."
The Dutch non-profit Global Arts Affairs Foundation has summoned a diverse group of 100 architects from over 40 countries to participate in the Collateral Event “Time Space Existence” at the 2014 Venice Architecture Biennale.
Ricardo Bofill, Norman Foster and Eduardo Souto De Moura are among the many participating, showcasing ideas, research and aspirations that will add commentary about the current state of architecture as well as highlight philosophical questions and concepts regarding time, space and existence.
A complete list of participants, after the break...