Ricardo Bofill, Architect of Otherworldly Buildings, Dies at 82

Ricardo Bofill, a Spanish architect behind some of the world’s most incredible buildings, died Friday at a hospital in Barcelona. He was 82 years old.

The cause was Covid-19, his son Pablo said.

Among Mr. Bofill’s best known works are public housing projects, most of which were built in France in the 1980s, with grand classical elements, both of which are derided as being kitsch and has been hailed by critics as the long-awaited middle ground between historicism and modernism.

He began his career with a series of smaller projects in Spain that followed geometrical rules to sometimes awe. La Muralla Roja, designed in 1968 and completed in 1973, in the coastal city of Calpe, has reimagined the North African row of houses as a bright pink set of walls and stairs as if it were built Arranged by MC Escher.

Another housing project in the same period, Walden 7, outside of Barcelona, ​​consisting of 22 towers grouped around five courtyards, their exteriors painted earthy and their courtyards dark aqua.

But it was not just aesthetic exploration that motivated Mr. Bofill. His goal, his son Pablo said in an interview, is “to show that for a modest cost you can build social housing where each floor is different, where people don’t have to walk.” down endless corridors and where different populations can join a community. “

By the 1980s, Mr. Bofill began using historical details as surface decoration – a hallmark of the style known as postmodernism. And for most of that decade, it served him well.

In 1985, the Museum of Modern Art in New York hold a performance about his work, which includes color photographs of several housing projects in and around Paris. The first to be built, Les Arcades du Lac, was a giant version of a 17th-century French garden, with apartment buildings fenced off.

Another work, called Les Espaces d’Abraxas, reinvented and replaced classical elements in unsettling, otherworldly combinations; it has vast columns made not of stone but of reflective glass. That project is often described as a sort of “Versailles for the people.” But its jarring lines make it seem out of place – and it became the perfect setting for Terry Gilliam’s 1985 film, “Brazil” and the final film of the “Hunger Games” franchise.

Paul Goldberger, The New York Times’ architectural critic at the time, wrote in 1985 that it was Bofill’s gift “to be able to unite the French instincts for monumental, which has been dormant since the Beaux-Arts days ruled French Architecture, with the country’s current leaning towards populism. “

Mr. Goldberger visited four Bofill projects, which he collectively called “the most important piece of architecture built in Paris in a generation”. He is particularly interested in The Scales of the Baroque, a 300-unit construction in the faded 14th district, classically detailed and arranged around tightly arranged public spaces. He describes it as important to Paris as Center Pompidou.

But the project’s impact proved limited. Postmodernism was short-lived, and Mr. Bofill returned to more conventional modern work.

“As Postmodernism gained acceptance and popularity in the United States and around the world, it also became a style,” Bofill told Vladimir Belogolovsky in a 2016 interview for the website ArchDaily. “And over time, it becomes ironic and even vulgar. I’m not interested anymore.”

Ricardo Bofill Levi was born into a prominent Catalan family in Barcelona on December 5, 1939, several months after the end of the Spanish Civil War. His father, Emilio Bofill, is an architect and developer. His mother, Maria Levi, is Venetian, who became a patron of the arts in Barcelona.

Ricardo developed an interest in architecture when his father took him to visit work sites. But when thinking about architecture, he feels both urge and inhibition. Growing up under dictator Francisco Franco, he explained in a 1989 essay, “you dream of freedom and great travel. I leave as soon as I can.”

That happened after he became a student – and a student activist – at the Escola Tècnica Superior d’Arquitectura de Barcelona. During an anti-French demonstration in 1958, he was arrested and expelled from the school.

He moved to Geneva to continue studying architecture. While there, he told Mr. Belogolovsky: “My true passion ignited when I discovered the work of Frank Lloyd Wright and Alvar Aalto. I relate to organic architecture, buildings that merge with nature. ”

In 1960, he designed a summer home for a relative on the island of Ibiza, a modest stucco building that seems close to nature.

He founded his own company, Ricardo Bofill Taller de Arquitecturain Barcelona in 1963. In 1975 the company – and Mr. Bofill – moved to La Fabricaa 32,000-square-foot former cement plant outside Barcelona, ​​which he spent decades turning into a habitable ruin.

Five years ago he proposed a housing project for Madrid called the City in Space, an infinitely expandable structure with turrets and towers and, in some images, a blanket Crazy cotton with colorful patterns.

According to Pablo Bofill, the project prompted the mayor of Madrid, an ally of Franco, to tell Mr Bofill that he would never build in Spain again. Mr. Bofill decided to start a new life in Paris, where he won a commission to replace the souks called Les Halles. His plan was formulated when the mayor of that city, Jacques Chirac, fired him from the project.

By 1985, however, his innovative public house had made Bofill a star of French architecture. But over the years, projects outside of Paris have become symbols of violence and violence, and there has been a movement to tear down Les Espaces d’Abraxas. However, the residents held out with the crumbling ball.

In a 2014 interview with Le Monde, Mr. Bofill said, “My experience in France was partly successful and partly unsuccessful.” He said he succeeded by introducing new styles and new construction methods. But, he added, he “failed because when you’re young, you’re so utopian, you think you’re going to change the city, and in the end nothing happens”.

In addition to his son Pablo and another son, Ricardo Emilio, who jointly runs the Bofill studio, survivors include four grandchildren and his longtime partner Bofill, the industrial designer. Marta de Vilallonga. Mr. Bofill has never been married, but he had three long-term partners before that, Pablo Bofill said.

Mr. Bofill has completed three buildings in the United States: the Shepard School of Music at Rice University in Houston and two office towers in Chicago. His company also includes offices for Shiseido in Tokyo, academic buildings for Mohammed VI Polytechnic in Morocco and a W hotel in Barcelona.

In an unexpected twist, Mr. Bofill’s old buildings have found new fans in the 21st century. “Westworld,” HBO’s sci-fi series, which was partly filmed at La Fábrica, and “Squid” Game”, a Korean TV series, whose series closely resembles La Muralla Roja.

Those Bofill buildings and others have become familiar Instagram backdrops – or in the words of Manuel Clavel Rojo, a Spanish architect and educator, “His buildings became a pop icon towards the end of his career.”

https://www.nytimes.com/2022/01/19/arts/design/ricardo-bofill-dead.html Ricardo Bofill, Architect of Otherworldly Buildings, Dies at 82

Fry Electronics Team

Fry Electronics.com is an automatic aggregator of the all world’s media. In each content, the hyperlink to the primary source is specified. All trademarks belong to their rightful owners, all materials to their authors. If you are the owner of the content and do not want us to publish your materials, please contact us by email – admin@fry-electronics.com. The content will be deleted within 24 hours.

Related Articles

Back to top button