A former Cement Factory is now the workspace and residence of Ricardo Bofill

published in: Architecture, Interiors By Marcia Argyriades, 26 January 2011

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Image Courtesy of Ricardo Bofill

Architect:  Ricardo Bofill
Program: Architectural offices /archives /model laboratory /exhibition space /Bofill's-apartment /guest rooms /gardens
Location:  Barcelona, Spain
Total floor area: 3,100 square meters and gardens
House area: 500 square meters
Date Completed: 1975

There is nothing as good as an aged bottle of wine; and in this case the aged bottle of wine is a project which was completed in 1975, but is still worth mentioning!  First and foremost we would like to thank our friend and founder of Room Service design store in Greece, Katerina Xynogala for providing us with the necessary information regarding The Cement Factory, which is featured in the latest Room Service catalogue.

Image Courtesy of Ricardo Bofill

The Cement Factory was discovered in 1973, it was an abandoned cement factory and partially in ruins, comprised of over 30 silos, underground galleries and huge engine rooms; Ricardo Bofill bought it and began renovation works.  He identified the program; The Cement Factory was to be used as architectural offices, archives, a model laboratory, and exhibition space, an apartment for him, as well as guest rooms and gardens.  He defined the space by demolishing certain structures, cleaning cement, exposing previously concealed structures and creating the landscape architecture by planting various plants such as eucalyptus, palms, olive trees and cypresses; renovation works lasted nearly two years.
 

Image Courtesy of Ricardo Bofill

Image Courtesy of Ricardo Bofill

Bofill imagined the future spaces and created a layout according to the different aesthetic and plastic predispositions that had developed since WWI and were present within the factory.  A compendium of surrealist elements; paradoxical stairs that climbed to nowhere, the absurdity of certain elements that hung over voids, compelling but useless spaces of strange proportion but magical because of their tension and disproportion.  Elements of abstraction; pure volumes which reveal themselves at times broken and impure as well as elements of brutalism; abrupt treatment and sculptural qualities of the materials.  Being seduced by the elements of contradiction and the vagueness of the space he decided to preserve the factory and modify the original brutality (due to the coarse of nature and the former program), and sculpt it like a work of art.  All these magical elements stand in the midst of transformed gardens which were once the yard of a cement factory.

Image Courtesy of Ricardo Bofill

Image Courtesy of Ricardo Bofill

Various spaces came into view, and the structures were given a use; their characteristics are what assigned their new program:  the cathedral, the garden, and the silos.  The renovated construction incorporates various languages from history of Architecture, a cultured language in opposition to vernacular architecture with windows, doors, stairs and false perspectives and applied them to the exterior walls and some interiors. Slowly with the help of Catalan craftsmen the factory was transformed but will always remain as unfinished work.
 

Image Courtesy of Ricardo Bofill

The abundant space and the height provided demonstrate inconceivable moderation; the interior space has not been crammed up with too many decorative elements; rather the interiors are deliberately appointed with casual contemporary elements.  Carefully casual slip-covered white sofas, white canvas sling-back seating, tobacco colored leather sofas, large monochromatic rugs with no reference of detailing, the inconceivably tall curtains and many more elements add to the lofty style of The Cement Factory.  The office area features spectacularly lengthy conference tables paired with leather seating and beautifully framed architectural prints which hang on the walls or are displayed on wooden easels.
 

Image Courtesy of Ricardo Bofill

Ricardo Bofill currently lives and works in The Cement Factory better than anywhere else, it is the only place where he can concentrate, associate ideas in the most abstract manner, and finally creates projects, and constitutes a specific vocabulary for his architecture.

to be an architect means to understand space, to understand space organized by man, to decipher the spontaneous movements and behavior of people, and to detect the needs of change that they might unconsciously express. It is essential to track down these issues if we want to contribute with our personal work to the history of architecture.Ricardo Bofill
 

Image Courtesy of Ricardo Bofill

Overall, The Cement Factory is a building with unique design and architectural elements; a lofty interior full of style.  A mixture of textures and forms, materials and impressions; the enormous spaces, the large arched windows and the stunning quality of natural light throughout the day makes it a unique place to live in and work in.  Moreover, these magical elements stand in the midst of transformed gardens which were once the yard of an abandoned cement factory

Image Courtesy of Ricardo Bofill

Image Courtesy of Ricardo Bofill

Image Courtesy of Ricardo Bofill

Image Courtesy of Ricardo Bofill

Image Courtesy of Ricardo Bofill

Image Courtesy of Ricardo Bofill


sources:

Room Service , Ricardo Bofill

  • friend
    Elvin | 2011-01-26 21:55:23

    Disliked the last 2 spaces.. But overall, Beautiful !! :D

  • friend
    Martinsson | 2011-01-26 22:37:21

    i just want to say wow. this is courage.

  • friend
    hanlu | 2011-01-27 01:22:37

    love it when the run-down old and the new blend together like that. beautiful juxtaposition between the two.

  • friend
    Darryl Ware | 2011-01-27 04:14:18

    ...good design concept+money+courage+great work+I enjoyed the visual visit...thanks

  • friend
    panos vasiliou | 2011-01-27 09:53:36

    very interesting conversion, it looks like its set in a jungle...! Garden photo is impressive.

  • friend
    georgios mathioudakis | 2011-01-27 12:04:03

    this is the way i want to live in 10 years! oh yes i love it!

  • friend
    Andrey | 2011-01-27 12:32:25

    Fantastic! I imagine the clients sitting under this huge reservoir)

  • friend
    Sotiris | 2011-01-27 15:43:13

    This could be Yatzer's house!!!

  • friend
    coria | 2011-01-28 20:26:08

    Wow! So beautiful, very artistic and creative. I really like it.

  • friend
    Edu | 2011-01-31 00:19:48

    Very beautiful and elegant. Congratulations!

  • friend
    Jeroen | 2011-02-01 21:25:07

    Hmm do you think it is big enough? Looks nice..

  • friend
    Mahkameh Rahimi | 2011-02-03 07:16:37

    This is so amazing!

  • friend
    Zampik | 2011-02-03 19:05:12

    Wow, amazing space. Would love to have some converted industrial space for my studio too ;-))

  • friend
    Louise | 2011-02-04 09:07:29

    Wao ! amaziiiiiiiiiiiing ! I can imagine it is a super place to party...all that space for conversation and dancing....Can I visit?

  • friend
    christopher | 2011-02-05 17:47:42

    Love the big studio and the lush green. You did a good job of bringing the spaces down to the human size to make it livable.

  • friend
    Ioanna | 2011-02-08 15:37:38

    Awesome!!Large but friendly and full of energy!!

  • friend
    matterism | 2011-02-10 19:01:24

    very nice, reminds me of the work of Louis Kahn.

  • friend
    Jolanta | 2011-02-25 16:43:49

    is it healthy to live in a cement factory? :} Inside better than outside but really nice :}

  • friend
    Drafter | 2011-03-02 02:06:56

    What an amazing place. Very rare have I seen some much life and texture in a project. Reminds me of the Mill City Museum in MN.

  • friend
    Naya | 2011-03-03 21:42:12

    inconceivably grandiose while demonstrating inconceivable moderation. it really seems counter to the endeavor that this is the only place the creator can concentrate. could that be true?

  • friend
    John | 2011-03-12 17:29:39

    It's a nice idea and all, but if you shove enough money into anything it can look nice. I'm not impressed.

  • friend
    baterya | 2011-03-21 16:58:23

    i would like a home like this one from a conserved old structure.. woot woot like it...

  • friend
    JC | 2011-03-21 21:42:35

    It's my Dream Home!

  • friend
    motee | 2011-03-25 09:36:06

    it can be easy to built a new one , sometime you can not hide the shit even if you color it with gold , I am very sorry but there is a border some where........

  • friend
    Mainual | 2011-03-29 18:11:58

    I want to work somewhere like this place.

  • friend
    Jones | 2011-03-31 21:13:03

    Damn... Wish I could live in a place like that

  • friend
    rozanski | 2011-04-03 08:38:15

    \it's extremely haunted.

  • friend
    Jem | 2011-04-05 01:32:26

    Apart from being beautiful, I like it because it has renewed the land and the neighborhood. It is no longer a blight on the earth.

  • friend
    Atom | 2011-04-05 14:47:18

    Great place for an office. I could imagine to have our office there too. Jealous.

  • friend
    jess | 2011-04-08 22:48:20

    anyone else remember seeing this amazing property on mtv cribs? I believe Paulina Rubio was living there? It is an amazing use of an industrial space.... really inspiring.

  • friend
    Patrick Landrum | 2011-04-14 01:04:45

    This place is awesome! I really hope it inspires people to integrate existing structures into their options of new spaces to occupy. The floorplan and how it utilizes the large cement drums, funnels and other elements to define these spaces is indeed genius! As an Interior designer I applaud Bofill's vision including selection of furnishings etc. Patrick Landrum www.patricklandrumdesign.com

  • friend
    mary beth | 2011-04-15 20:10:44

    I love people who can think outside the box. Genius!!!!!

  • friend
    Rose | 2011-04-16 02:42:33

    How do you clean those drapes??

  • friend
    Monika Martinez | 2011-04-16 15:20:36

    Me encanta...................Asi tengo que vivir en 10 anos..

  • friend
    Bob Horka | 2011-04-19 11:23:42

    Looks like where a team of super villains would meet for a week-long meeting/party/double-crossing, in which batman shows up and takes out the head psycho, thus sealing his fate over the next several months battling harshly against all the other super criminals, only to find that he could have done his whole stealth routine and capped him easily. (and when I say capped, I mean put in arkham. Batman don't kill foo!)

  • friend
    Paul | 2011-04-19 17:09:38

    Its an art gallery, not a house. Beautiful but living there is not practical.

  • friend
    Dragos | 2011-04-20 21:58:00

    It is so weird how something so... inappropriate can be so amazingly comfortable. Can you imagine guys this Factory as the headquarter for a creative agency. It is a dream establishment. So, so, so fortunate.

  • friend
    marinda | 2011-04-26 18:28:39

    inspiring! absolutely WOW...

  • friend
    esther | 2011-04-29 05:10:22

    really inspiring. It would be an amazing place to work and or live.

  • friend
    Zohaib Zulfiqar | 2011-06-29 21:38:50

    Cool! I like palaces,its beautiful

  • friend
    Elamparithi | 2011-08-03 14:12:59

    Ricardo has given architecture new meaning and he has it to the next level. My arch friends would love to see this

  • friend
    Cabroline | 2011-10-07 06:43:37

    Gorgeous, tough I would not like to be a guest... It was unpleasantly white

  • friend
    jyanzi | 2012-01-09 03:17:11

    Site One: The Field of Decompositions. In the realm of infinite presence of being, one’s instinctual functioning dictates the multiple ploughing of positions, histories, knowledge and conditionings. Strata of consciousness are to be pierced, crashed and turned over in readiness for the dynamic ovulation of new paragons. It is this field of heavy sedimentation of deductive thoughts; this tautological meddling with things past; this dilution of sentiments, incarcerating a culture of diffused intellect and a phenomenon of dusty in- substantiality; this field of Diogenes elements with their immutable state of operation and conditioned detachment of Being and Work; it is this soil of concretized intellects and instincts that one is to proceed the process of decomposition.

  • friend
    Normand | 2012-03-23 02:44:55

    We all want a place like that. Come in MontrealnWe have also old beautiful silos .nmaybe you can do something with it.

  • friend
    jackie | 2012-09-25 08:37:36

    Wonderful! I've always wanted to do this to the old beautiful buildings of Detroit. I know it is not a city that is liked by the media, but to me I see gargoyles, and art deco buildings, scrolls all just sitting on a deserted building. I would love to make a mansion out of it. What an genius way to recycle! Jackie >I<

  • friend
    John | Estudio de Diseño | 2012-10-02 01:47:34

    Impresionantemente elegante.

  • friend
    tim | 2012-11-19 01:40:23

    really nice! I would like to see this back in my home country, Malaysia.

  • friend
    Elizabeth | 2012-12-13 06:10:46

    But . . . where are the books? I'd have a lot of books in that space!!

  • friend
    Noëlle Marie | 2013-12-21 22:12:11

    Something else interests me. How do you heat the place? How did you apply the fire protection and all the smoke detectors, sprinkler...etc. Everything looks AMAZING, and would be cool to share this technical information behind the beautiful architecture. Thank you !

  • friend
    Englewood Florida Lawn Service | 2013-12-28 09:28:23

    I merely wanted to thank you one more time for that amazing blog you have made here. It is full of ideas for those who are definitely interested in that subject, primarily this very post.

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