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Architect transforms WW1-era concrete factory into а truly unique home

Goran Blazeski

In 1973 the Spanish architect, Ricardo Bofill stumbled across an old, abandoned, World War One-era concrete factory, near Barcelona, Spain. He instantly fell in love with it and spent the next 45 years of his life turning it into a truly unique and gorgeous home.

As written by Bored Panda “the factory, located just outside of Barcelona, was a WWI-era pollution machine that had closed down and came with many repairs to be done when Ricardo Bofill and his team purchased it.”

Mr Bofill (pictured) spent 45 years in order to transform the abandoned factory into his home  Photo Credit

Mr Bofill (pictured) spent 45 years in order to transform the abandoned factory into his home Photo Credit

This unique work of art known as La fábrica is a work in progress to this day and still provides inspiration for Bofill.

“Presently I live and work here better than anywhere else. For me this is the only place where I can concentrate and associate ideas in the most abstract manner. I have the impression of living in a precinct, in a closed universe which protects me from the outside and everyday life. The Cement Factory is a place of work par excellence. Life goes on here in a continuous sequence, with a tiny difference between work and leisure. I have the impression of living in the same environment that propelled the Industrial Revolution in Catalonia,” Bofill writes on his website.

Mr. Bofill working in the former factory  Photo Credit

Mr. Bofill working in the former factory Photo Credit

 

The exterior was laced with vegetation after Mr. Bofill and his team cleaned up the spaces of cement Photo Credit lives in the formerly abandoned factory that is now divided into four areas – the studio, La Catedral, the gardens, and the residence.

The exterior was laced with vegetation after Mr. Bofill and his team cleaned up the spaces of cement Photo Credit lives in the formerly abandoned factory that is now divided into four areas – the studio, La Catedral, the gardens, and the residence.

 

Furnished with RBTA designs, except for the vintage wicker Thonet chairs, the workspace is a bright and spacious open floor plan flooded with natural light and a view over the gardens Photo Credit

Furnished with RBTA designs, except for the vintage wicker Thonet chairs, the workspace is a bright and spacious open floor plan flooded with natural light and a view over the gardens Photo Credit

 

 

The factory hall was transformed into a conference and exhibition room  Photo Credit

The factory hall was transformed into a conference and exhibition room Photo Credit

 

 

“Domestic, monumental, brutalist and conceptual,” Ricardo Bofill defines the residence Photo Credit

“Domestic, monumental, brutalist and conceptual,” Ricardo Bofill defines the residence Photo Credit

 

He has transformed a huge volume of brute cement into the main living room with a beautiful sequence of arc windows  Photo Credit

He has transformed a huge volume of brute cement into the main living room with a beautiful sequence of arc windows Photo Credit

He spent more than a year and a half deconstructing the space since the silos were full of cement making it impossible for Bofill and his team to penetrate the spaces which were entirely saturated with dust.

“We imagined windows, doors, stairs and false perspectives, and applied them to the exterior walls and some of the interiors. Slowly, with the valuable help of Catalan craftsmen, the Cement Factory was transformed, but it will always remain an unfinished work,” Mr. Bofill added.

Today, he lives in the formerly abandoned factory that is now divided into four areas – the studio, La Catedral, the gardens, and the residence.

The studio is located in the factory silos over four floors connected by a spiral staircase. Mr. Bofill’s office on the first floor is a minimalistic space with 4 meters ceiling height, pristine white walls and a carpet.

The site, widely covered with grass, is bordered by groups of eucalyptus, palms, olive and prune tree, mimosas, and climbing plants that wrap the exposed concrete walls  Photo Credit

The site, widely covered with grass, is bordered by groups of eucalyptus, palms, olive and prune tree, mimosas, and climbing plants that wrap the exposed concrete walls Photo Credit

 

The gardens build a mysterious aspect of romantic ruin that makes it unique and unrepeatable Photo Credit

The gardens build a mysterious aspect of romantic ruin that makes it unique and unrepeatable Photo Credit

 

The silos were full of cement, and it was impossible to penetrate the spaces which were entirely saturated with dust  Photo Credit

The silos were full of cement, and it was impossible to penetrate the spaces which were entirely saturated with dust Photo Credit

 

This cement factory dates from the first period of the industrialization of Catalonia  Photo Credit

This cement factory dates from the first period of the industrialization of Catalonia Photo Credit

 

Mr. Boffill says he has the impression of living in the same environment that propelled the Industrial Revolution in Catalonia  Photo Credit

Mr. Boffill says he has the impression of living in the same environment that propelled the Industrial Revolution in Catalonia Photo Credit

 

The ceilings in the conference and exhibition room are 10 meters high  Photo Credit

The ceilings in the conference and exhibition room are 10 meters high Photo Credit

La Catedral is the name for the conference and exhibition room that is not as minimalistic as Mr. Bofill’s office, with floor to ceiling heights of 10 meters.

The gardens have been planned since Mr. Bofill, and his team have cleaned the spaces of cement.

The residence is in the upper part of the factory where he converted a huge volume of brute cement into the main living room.

See more of Mr. Bofill’s work, visit his Facebook or his Instagram profile.

Plants climb walls and hang from the roofs  Photo Credit

Plants climb walls and hang from the roofs Photo Credit

 

Slowly, with the valuable help of Catalan artisans, the Cement Factory was transformed, but it will always remain an unfinished work  Photo Credit

Slowly, with the valuable help of Catalan artisans, the Cement Factory was transformed, but it will always remain an unfinished work Photo Credit

“The factory is a magic place whose strange atmosphere ‘s hard to be perceived by a profane eye.

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I like the life which is perfectly programmed here, ritualized, and in total contrast with my turbulent nomadic life,” Mr. Bofill added.