How would you react if someone told you that an old abandoned industrial building could be transformed into a wonderful hacienda, filled with life, plants and colorful decorations? Well one Spanish architect came up with such an idea. And the result will knock you off your feet.
Back in 1973 Ricardo Bofill, a Spanish architect, was walking through the outskirts of Barcelona when he stumbled upon an abandoned industrial building. Where others saw despair and a waste of space, he saw opportunities. He decided to buy the place and renovate it. He called this project La Fabrica.
According to Bofill, the factory was built in the first period of the industrialization of Catalonia and was expanded several times over the course of the XX century. Bofill and his team of architects and designers worked several decades to turn this derelict place into an amazing house for himself and his family.
“Right from the start, I realized that this building has some hidden inner beauty”, Bofill says. “Seduced by the contradictions and the ambiguity of the place, we quickly decided to retain La Fabrica’s core elements which dominated the complex.”
Bofill and his team began transforming the place by demolishing some of La Fabrica’s parts. The decontruction involved controlled demolition and lasted for a year and a half. They had a hard time bringing down the silos, as they were filled with compressed dust and cement which proved to be too tough to drill. Afterwards, they started greening and planting. Grass and plants are a vital element to La Fabrica as they lighten up the place and give it a live look.
They started rearranging the other parts of the complex, and filled them with furniture and other decorations. Each part got its own unique name and purpose.
The Studio is where Bofill and his colleagues work and get their inspiration for new projects. It is located just below the silos. Huge silo funnels dominate the room and give it a special touch of class combined with practicality.
The huge silos were transformed into The Cathedral, where spiral stairs lead visitors to the top of the building, giving them a chance to enjoy the beautiful view from the roof.
The Gardens were made by foresting and greening the space between the storage area and the silos. It is filled with all kinds of plants, and once there, people tend to feel like they are on another planet.
The Residence is where Bofill lives and spends his free time. In the upper part of the factory Bofill transformed a huge volume of brute cement into the main living room. It is a perfect cube with a sequence of arc windows whose regular rhythm evokes the metaphysical perspectives of De Chirico. “Domestic, monumental, brutalist and conceptual”, that’s how Ricardo Bofill defines this room of enormous dimensions.
Bofill’s La Fabrica is the best proof that every building, no matter how old, derelict or hopeless might seem, can be renovated and transformed into a beautiful mastepiece.