An abandoned cement factory in Sant Just Desvern, a town near Barcelona is where architect Ricardo Bofill decided to make his home. For many uf us such a place would not be anywhere on our list for a perfect home residence, deemed too ugly to want to live there. Too industrial and impersonal.
But not so for Architect Ricardo Bofill who transformed the Brutalist architecture of the factory from the early 20th century into something beautiful. Now known as La Fabrica, Bofill found the factory in disrepair in 1973.
As ArchDaily say it consisted of "30 silos, subterranean galleries and huge machine rooms." So Bofill set about transforming the architecture into a HQ for his business and his home residence.
"Remodelling work lasted two years." note ArchDaily. "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."
How Ricardo Bofill Transformed the Cement Factory
Part of the process of turning the dilapidated factory into a home involved demolishing some of the old structure and revealing parts that had been concealed.
This meant many of the silos went, but eight remained and were turned into offices, lab, archives, a library, projections room, and a huge space called The Cathedral. This space was used for exhibitions, concerts and culturural events. Surrounding all this are gardens with a range of plants including eucalyptus, palms, olive trees and cypresses.
"Originally the experiment was to find the most ugly thing in the world—this cement factory that is creating pollution, creating dust, a horror story for any sort of ecological-minded person—and figure out how to transform it," said Ricardo Bofill, Jr., Bofill's son and also an architect, in an interview with New York magazine back in 2011.
Continuing: "What are we going to do here? How are we going to plant trees? Part of the creation is destruction. Like when you do marble sculpture, you remove in order to find something inside. In the beginning, the whole factory was a hugely industrial studio of architecture. Then my family started inhabiting it. My father allowed everybody in the family to choose their favorite hideout within the tunnels and staircases and spaces and rehabilitate it. The fun thing is that it’s never finished."
Ricardo Bofill Creates La Fabrica
It now stands as a monument to how a building can be transformed into and architect dream and given new purpose, even if the end result is entirely different from its original function.
You can check out some pics of this 'La Fabrica' this stunning Ricardo Bofill building, below.
All images © Ricardo Bofill.