Monday, October 12, 2009

The Cement Factory Loft in Barcelona by Ricardo Bofill

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To this day, Spanish architect Ricardo Bofill’s legendary live/work complex in Barcelona, Spain remains one of, if not the most impressive examples of adaptive reuse we’ve ever seen. It all started about 35 years ago when the controversial architect discovered an abandoned cement factory comprised of over 30 silos, underground galleries and huge engine rooms. He bought it and began renovation. This included defining the space by demolishing certain structures, cleaning cement, exposing previously concealed forms, and planting various greenery including eucalyptus, palms, olive trees and cypresses. Today, the factory has been successfully transformed into his personal home, as well as a multitude of offices, modeling and archival laboratories, a projection room, and a huge space known as ‘The Cathedral’, which serves as a venue for subsequent exhibitions, lectures, and concerts.
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The vast space exemplifies incredible restraint. He hasn’t filled it up with too much stuff; rather the interiors are intentionally appointed with casually slip-covered white sofas, canvas slingback seating, warm oriental rugs and lush leather upholstery. The work areas feature dramatically long conference tables paired with high-tech leather seating. In terms of artwork, beautifully framed architectural prints either hang on the wall or are displayed on wooden easels. The space overall boggles the mind, so much so that we can’t believe it even exists! But it does, and Bofill has this to say about it:
“The factory is a magic place with a strange atmosphere that is difficult to be perceived by a profane eye. I like the life to be perfectly programmed here, ritualized, in total contrast with my turbulent nomad life.”
Check out the full story of “The Cement Factory” here. For more information on Ricardo Bofill, visit his website here.
Photography by Verve

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