You’ve probably heard that destroy existing old structures, homes, and buildings are cheaper and much easier than repairing or renovating them. However, that didn’t stop Ricardo Bofill, a Spanish architect, from restoring this abandoned closed down WWI-era pollution machine.
Ricardo saw a world of possibility when he discovered the enormous compound of silos and buildings which covered nearly two and a half miles of underground tunnels located just outside of Barcelona, Spain.
The factory, abandoned and mostly in ruins, was an abstract of ancient elements: stairs that climbed up to nowhere, massive concrete structures that sustained nothing, pieces of metal hanging in the ceiling, and vast empty glum spaces.
“Seduced by the contradictions and the ambiguity of the place, we quickly decided to retain the factory and to modify its original brutality, sculpt it like a work of art” – Ricardo Bofill.
The Ultimate Renovation Project
Restoration work lasted two years after Ricardo and his team purchased the 5,000-square meter property in 1973. They laced the entire exterior with lush plants, trees, flowers, and the interior was furnished into a modern home, workspace, and exhibition space for Ricardo and his team.
The most striking thing about Ricardo’s creation is the sharp contrast between its stark ancient elements and lush evergreens. The industrial chimneys that once filled the air with smoke are now overflowing with eucalyptus, palms, olive trees, and cypresses.
There are offices, apartment guest rooms, a model laboratory, library, projection room, private residence, and a large space known as “The Cathedral,” that is used for concerts and cultural functions all within this beautiful and captivating property.
The revival of the old factory is indeed evidence that anyone can restore an original space, no matter how old or poorly of a state it’s in. It’s an excellent example of the beautiful transformations that result from patient hard work and creative thinking.
45 Years Later…
45 years later, the old factory, now known as La Fábrica, has been completely transformed into a magical oasis. However, Ricardo says he compares the project’s constant growth and development to his own lifestyle and creative revelations and that the La Fábrica will always be a work in progress.
“I have the impression of living 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.”
Virtual Tour: See This Stunning Property For Yourself!
Watch this video tour of the old cement factory (you can refer to the timestamps below to jump to the rooms you’re most curious about!)
- Old factory before restoration: 1.14 – 2.20
- Exterior: 3.05 – 3.57
- Apartments for guests 3.58 – 4.03
- Silos 4.03 – 4.30
- Workspace 4.40 – 5.14
- Oasis 5.27 – 5.40
- Entrance to Ricardo’s private residence 6.23 – 9.10
- Chimney 10.50 – 11.11
- Underground tunnels 12.14 – 12.47
- Model laboratory 12.49 – 13.00
- Storage 13.50 – 14.00
- View from the underground tunnels 14.00 – 14.20
- Garden/Exterior 15.00 – 16.00
- Interior garden/oasis 17.15 – 19.12
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