Architect turns abandoned, 100-year-old cement factory into an extraordinary, castle-like home
It took 50 years, but the property has been completely transformed into a castle-like home with office and studio space covered in greenery.
D.G. Sciortino

When architect Ricardo Bofill came across an abandoned cement factory outside of Barcelona, Space in 1973 he didn’t see dilapated buildin.

He saw a whole universe.

Almost 50 years later and the property has been completely transformed into a castle-like fantastical home with office and studio space covered in greenery.

The cement factory was built during the WWI era and Bofill decided to buy it in the 70s.

Years were spent deconstructing and gutting the space so that it could be refurbished.

Now every single room or living space is completely unique and special. Bofill created the development so it could be his own little world in a larger world.

“I have the impression of living… in a closed universe which protects me from the outside and everyday life,” Bofill wrote on his blog.

The project, which is a living work in progress, is called La Fábrica.

Bofill masterfully adds softness to balance the harsh look of the concrete structure with plants and light fabrics.

He managed to integrate industrial pieces like silos and underground tunnels into the functional living and workspace. The exterior building is covered in grass and filled in with greenery like palm, olive, cypresses, and eucalyptus trees.

Creeping ivy vines give it that extra magical look or what is referred to as “wild urbanism.”

While the major construction and renovation took only two years to complete, the gardens have taken decades to develop.

This green space is what gives La Fábrica a “mysterious aspect of romantic ruin that makes it unique and unrepeatable.”

Inside the house is filled with intimate little spots for rest.

You’ll find a wooden piano next to some gorgeous wooden sitting chairs right outside a silo and bright white curtains that cover the brute brick walls.

Bofill also engineered the spaces to be filled with as much natural light as possible. The bedrooms boast massive ceiling space and are outfitted in soft lighting and accents for a warmer and cozier feel.

Each room and place in the house is made to feel different as if there is a “surprise around every corner.”

The home’s kitchen and dining room are located on the ground floor and serve as a “meeting point for the family.”

“The kitchen-dining room, then, presents a white marble rectangular table surrounded with Thonet chairs, and two-sided fireplaces by the architect Óscar Tusquets. One single piece of Alicante red marble adorns a more private living area, with a large fireplace dominating the room,”Bofill’s blog explains.

Part of the residence is used as Bofill’s architectural studio. The building’s factory hall was transformed into a conference space and exhibition room.

La Catedral features a 10-meter tall ceiling and asks as the architectural firm’s central workspace.

“The space instills a gothic-like sense of spirituality, built upon a crude brutalist structure, with few interior design pieces elegantly adorning the business and leisure area,” Bofill’s blog explains.

When you take a look at what Bofill has done with the place, living in a cement factory doesn’t sound that bad.

“The constant source of pleasure is space,” Bofill said in a 2020 interview. “In the same way there is a pleasure for music, for sound, for vision, there is a pleasure for touch, and there is a pleasure for space. The notion of space-time is fundamental for creativity and for the present, to create not from a point of view, but to create in movement.”

Learn more about La Fábrica in the video below.

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