Long before "repurposing" became a buzzword, there was Ricardo Bofill. Before the more recent silo houses, there was the 1975 completion of a cement factory turned into architectural offices, archives, a model laboratory, and exhibition space, an apartment for him, and guest rooms and gardens. Isn't the below image inspiring?
I had initially planned to do a large post on Bofill and his various projects, much like I did for Addison Mizner. However, as I uncovered pictures and interesting facts about this cement factory, I realized this post had to become a two-parter, and let this one just speak for itself in its amazing glory.
It started out as a pretty hideous abandoned Barcelona cement factory that was partially in ruins in 1973. Bofill purchased the property, which had more than 30 silos, underground galleries and massive engine rooms. Some structures were demolished while in other places he exposed previously concealed strucructures and added in a landscape of eucalyptus, palms, olive trees and cypress. With everything he did, and the completed images you're about to see, I am amazed it only took two years!
As work was being done, various elements came into view, and the structures were given a purpose that best made use of their characteristics. The cathedral, the garden, the silos. The factory is transformed, but was deliberately left unfinished - leaving some stairs that lead nowhere, for example.
“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.”
The decor was kept simple... and again, ahead of the times! Thirty five years later, we see simple floor-to ceiling curtains, white slipped furniture, white canvas-backed seating, tobacco leather sofas, monochromatic rugs. But let's look at the transformed work studio area first:
The office area features spectacularly long conference tables paired with leather seating. Beautifully framed architectural prints hang on the walls or are displayed on wooden easels.
It opened up beautifully - Bofill made use of the soaring architecture and created large windows to let in light and inspiring views of the gardens. Such an inspiring place to work in!
Floor-to-ceiling curtains area a great use of fabric, to soften the hard industrial materials of the Cement Factory.
I think this is the lobby or probably the client meeting area - again inspiring and timeless, and so light and bright!
The residence - more inspiring drapery, great use of plants, and white-slipped furnishings.
Don't you wish you had windows like that in your living room? I do. Being a bit of a plant collector myself, I'd love to have enough light indoors to grow trees like that!
I get the sense he works a lot. Typical self-employed, creative person. No break between life and work, they blur together a lot.
Up the stairs, a small, casual dining area:
I think the chairs are Stickley... love all these simple lines in the furniture - they don't try to compete with the architecture.
Kitchen (I tried to find more, really I did):
This must be near the kitchen - a kitchen entry perhaps?
Workout room... all that light, again so beautiful!
I want to hear that piano in this space. I bet it's incredible.
And a view. A killer, awesome view of Barcelona: