city in space - locations

Walden 7
El Castell
Edificio de Viviendas
Banca Catalan
Torre Colón
Camp Nou

The organisation of residential space is of central significance for a big city. The escape into the surrounding countryside is only an apparent solution if it results merely in faceless and badly-connected residential machinery. During the 1970s, inspired by the visionary architecture of the English group Archigram, Ricardo Bofill and the Taller de Arquitectura looked for new ways of solving one of the most urgent problems facing urban development. One solution is the building on the left of the motorway to Sitges, perched up on a hill and resembling a futuristic fortress. Cubes nesting inside each other and partly equipped with battlements form a highly complex structure, named "El Castell" after The Castle by Franz Kafka. The combination possibilities of these cubes, each of which contains a room, seem inexhaustible. The other side of the structure is surprisingly peaceful: a blue swimming pool set in red, dark pine trees - a place of serenity, frozen like a painting by de Chirico. The residential building Viviendas, on the Plaza Sant Gregori Taumaturg, built in Barcelona between 1962 and 1963 by Ricardo Bofill (Taller de Arquitectura) is reminiscent of a far more massive fortress altogether. The slightly curving facade removes some of the traditional Catalan monumentality from this red- brick structure with its narrow windows and embrasure-like waterspouts. From 1970 to 1973, Ricardo Bofill built an urban landscape on the western edge of the city: the complex of buildings known as Walden 7. This anticipated developments in the industrial areas of all the world's major cities during the 1990s: on the site of a disused cement factory, Bofill planned nothing less than a "City in Space".