La Fabrica (The Factory) is a 5,000 square feet cement factory located near Barcelona, Spain which serves as the unique backdrop to local architect Ricardo Bofill‘s studio and home.
Bofill stumbled upon the cement factory in 1973. It was an enormous compound of silos and buildings that covered nearly two and a half miles of underground tunnels. He decided to purchase La Fabrica, and over the past 45 years his team have been renovating the structure. The dream was to create a living work space that would unite the Surrealist, Abstract, and Brutalist elements found in its original industrial form.
Original construction to transform the sprawling series of buildings took a little over a year and a half. After the dust cleared from the jack hammers and dynamite, Catalan craftsmen worked to add gardens and purpose back into the abandoned compound. Today the factory holds a cathedral, model workshop, archive rooms, residence, and studio, a workspace for Bofill’s firm spread over four floors in the factory’s silos and connected by a spiral staircase.
Despite nearly forty-five years in the making, the entire project is constantly evolving and is one that Bofill never sees as being fully completed. With continuous tweaks, Bofill has created a perfectly programmed existence, a ritualised lifestyle that goes against his previously nomadic early life as explained in the above video from Nowness.
“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.”
You can view more details of the project on Bofill's website here.