More than fifty years after its founding, Ricardo Bofill Taller de Arquitectura remains at the forefront of the urban design and architectural professions. The third generation family business is currently led by Ricardo Bofill Levi, sons Ricardo E. Bofill and Pablo Bofill, and partners Peter Hodgkinson and Jean-Pierre Carniaux. RBTA applies its visionary humanism and cultural intelligence in settings across the world. Centralized in a repurposed former cement factory “La Fábrica” on the outskirts of Barcelona, RBTA consists of a diverse, driven, and cohesive team of talent. Originating from over twenty countries, the staff ranges in specialty from architects and urban planners to interior, graphic and industrial designers. This multidisciplinary and global perspective fosters a cultural sensitivity that informs the work of the internationally renowned architecture, urban planning, and design practice.
Within the context of La Manzanera, La Muralla Roja (The Red Wall) asks to be considered as a case apart. It embodies a clear reference to the popular architecture of the Arab Mediterranean, in particular to the adobe towers of North Africa. The Red Wall is like a fortress, which marks a vertical silhouette following the contour lines of the rocky cliff.
With this building, RBTA wanted to break the post-Renaissance division between public and private spaces reinterpreting the Mediterranean tradition of the Kasbah. The labyrinth of this recreated Kasbah corresponds to a precise geometric plan based on the typology of the Greek cross with arms 5 meters long, these being grouped in different ways, with service towers (kitchens and bathrooms) at their point of intersection. The geometric basis of the layout is also an approximation to the theories of constructivism, and makes La Muralla Roja a very clear evocation of these.
The forms of the building, evoking a constructivist aesthetic, create an ensemble of interconnected patios which provide access to the 50 apartments, which include 60 sqm studios, and two and three-bedroom apartments of 80 and 120 sqm, respectively. On the roof terraces there are solariums, a swimming pool, and a sauna for resident’s use.
The criterion of applying to the building a gamut of various colours responds to the intention to give a determined relief to the distinct architectural elements, according to their structural functions.
The outside surfaces are painted in various tones of red, to accentuate the contrast with the landscape; patios and stairs, however, areas treated with blue tones, such as sky-blue, indigo, violet, produce a stronger or weaker contrast with the sky or, on the contrary, an optical effect of blending in with it. The intensity of the colours is also related to the light and shows how the combination of these elements can help create a greater illusion of space.
Images/ Words courtesy of the architect. See T1, Barcelona Airport HERE