Like some latter day Moroccan fortress, Ricardo Bofill's La Muralla Roja apartment complex shimmers high above the Mediterranean. Sand-coloured walls contrast with the sharp blue of the sea. These stunning images are by master architectural photographer Andres Gallardo and show this astonishing structure in a new light.


La Muralla Rioja - literally The Red Wall - was completed in 1973 and is now a landmark on Spain's Costa Blanca. This self-conscious reinvention of the traditional North African casbah conceals 50 apartments, linked by an apparently endless series of stairwells, as in some fantasy by the visionary artist M.C. Escher.

Gallardo's images vividly illustrate the building's very clear colour-delineated rules. All vertical walls are in shades of red or pink, while the stairs and public circulation zones are in various hues of blue.





Andres Gallardo's style emphatically embraces the untidiness of everyday life. Potted palm pots lie on their side, incongruous satellite dishes are attached to a wall, while two covered trailers lurk beneath a cracked wall.

Andres Gallardo's photography shows how La Muralla Rioja is ageing and even decaying, 45 years after its completion. It's a celebration of real genius.


All images by Andres Gallardo.

Want another alternative vision of the world’s finest architecture? Check out Laurent Kronental’s look into Paris’ forgotten apartment towers.