IN: Inspiration

Century-old factory gets a facelift

Spanish architect, Ricardo Bofill, brings 100-year-old factory building to life in a creative way


In 1973, architect Ricardo Bofill stumbled upon an unused and dilapidated cement-built factory. Instantly, he knew that he had found the perfect space to build a truly unique and magical space where he could live and work. The factory is located in the Catalonia region of Spain and dates as far back as the first period of the industrialisation of Catalonia, which began in the latter half of the 19th century.

PPC Imaginarium

Over the years, the factory received a series of additions as various chains of production became necessary. Parts of the factory’s design were influenced by the various visual and aesthetics trends that developed over the years during its construction, such as the paradoxical stairs that lead to nowhere (Surrealism), the pure volumes (Abstraction), and the abrupt treatment and sculptural qualities of the materials (Brutalism).

When Bofill purchased the building, it had over 30 silos and huge buildings that covered over four kilometres of underground tunnels. It took just over a year and a half to complete the remodeling work, after which lush gardens were added to the exterior, and a cathedral, model workshop, archive rooms, residence and studio were designed. Bofill also included a workspace for his firm, which spreads over four floors in the factory’s silos.  

“Presently I live and work here better than anywhere else,” says Bofill about his new home and workspace. “It is for me 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 very little difference between work and leisure,” he adds.

Despite spending the last forty years creating this magical space, the project is constantly evolving and is one that Bofill never sees as being fully completed. We’ll be keeping a close eye on the continuous development of this already impressive transformation.

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