In 1973 Spanish architect Ricardo Bofill encountered an old cement factory. He bought it and turned it into surrealist masterpiece. Below is a snippet of his story:
We found enormous silos, a tall smoke stack, four kilometres of underground tunnels, machine rooms in good shape… This was in 1973 and it was our first encounter with the Cement Factory.
Keeping our eyes moving like a kaleidoscope, we already imagined future spaces and found out that the different visual and aesthetics trends that had developed since World War I coexisted here:
- Surrealism in paradoxical stairs that lead to nowhere; the absurdity of certain elements hanging over voids; huge but useless spaces of weird proportions, but magical because of their tension and disproportion.
- Abstraction in the pure volumes, which revealed themselves at times broken and raw.
- Brutalism in the abrupt treatment and sculptural qualities of the materials.
Seduced by the contradictions and the ambiguity of the place, we quickly decided to retain the factory, and modifying its original brutality, sculpt it like a work of art.
The result proves that form and function must be dissociated; in this case, the function did not create the form; instead, it has been shown that any space can be allocated whatever use the architect chooses, if he or she is sufficiently skilful.
Read more about the renovation here: ricardobofill.com/la-fabrica/read