Celebrating its 40th birthday this year; The Factory by Ricardo Bofill remains one of the most spectacular architectural projects in history.
The Cement Factory was discovered in 1973, abandoned, derelict and in partial ruin. Comprised of a chasm of rooms and underground galleries, Ricardo Bofill reinvented the space to contain a range of architectural offices, archives, laboratories, exhibition spaces and his own private apartment. Remodelling the entire structure through irradiating certain structures, Bofill exposed previously concealed rooms and redesigned the grounds through a wealth of plants and trees.
The result formed an eclectic mix of futuristic spaces which combined to create an entirely unique and surreal collection of rooms; stairs climbed to nowhere, certain facades overlapped and overhung others, and other rooms, despite their grandeur, were left bare. The array of different proportions and perspectives preserved the factory’s original aesthetic, whilst updating it through innovative and inventive touches of modern design.
“To be an architect means to understand space, to understand space organised by man, to decipher the spontaneous movements and behaviour of people, and to detect the needs of change that they might unconsciously express,” explained Bofill. “It is essential to track down these issues if we want to contribute with our personal work to the history of architecture.”
The Factory undoubtedly contributes to the ‘history of architecture’, with the characteristics of the building incorporating various designs and perspectives from the past history of architecture. A mixture of textures, forms, materials and impressions define the large spaces and the archaic arched windows that flood the property with light.
The magical, enchanting nature of the property combines the old and new into one masterful concept.