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La Fabrica, Spanish for The Factory. An abandoned cement factory outside Barcelona, Spain, became the home of architect Ricardo Bofill. Ricardo Bofill has transformed the existing building into a groundbreaking studio in which his family living space sits. Yet when Ricardo Bofill first saw it, the cement factory was an abandoned monument to Catalonia's industrial past. The architect's mission in life is to revive, reposition and reevaluate a building that has been abandoned and perhaps neglected by many. "I want to live there and enjoy the challenge," he said. La Fabrica is clearly not doomed.
Here, still full of workers and dust, the smoke billowing, the factory is not a ghost, but it is certainly a relic, thus attracting an architect who continues to be fascinated by the ruins. "Philosophically, I like the idea of destruction. Life is destruction, and semi-finished things fascinate me." Ricardo Bofill said. "Art doesn't exist. It's like a hound race. You run towards something but you never get there. All jobs have problems."
Contributing to this strand of the architectural canon was of great interest to Bofill, with his refreshing take on urbanism. It appealed to his desire to conserve and add to the built environment, just as cities were formed throughout history, rather than simply tearing down existing structures in the more contemporary model. Like the ruins he was fascinated by, it was a somewhat romantic vision. “In the Renaissance and Baroque periods, somebody would turn up and add a new bit to an existing building that remained in place. I wanted to repeat this experience, only not with a normal building, but the most complicated one, a cement factory,” says Bofill.
La Fábrica is a masterpiece of surrealism and it is the sum total of different buildings. The building flashes various images to people, filling their vision with ideas about how to use it: there are staircases that lead anywhere, and various Spaces that, though visually powerful, are practically useless. Due to its rough handling of concrete, it is both primitive and barbaric. Paradoxically, La Fábrica is also abstract and consists of pure volumes and basic shapes, each with its own virtual existence. The attraction was right in front of him. Fascinated by the contradictions and ambiguities of space, Ricardo Bofill quickly decided to keep the cement factory, modify its original barbarity, and turn it into a work of art. Over time, this contrast will prove important to La Fabrica's vision.
Sergey Makhno | Viter House