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Sant Just Desvern, Spain

La Fábrica (The Factory)

An architect transformed this abandoned cement factory into his castle-like workshop. 

An architect in Barcelona has spent almost half a century renovating an old cement factory into his home office—and managed to create a gorgeous statement of functionality and enchantment along the way.

Known as “La Fábrica,” the modern-day fortress that houses Ricardo Bofill’s firm, Taller de Arquitectura, is a visual incongruence of exposed concrete and rich green flora. After purchasing the cement factory in 1973, Bofill transformed the eight spacious silos into a lofty interior for his workshop.

The repurposed space houses everything from offices to libraries to the firm’s exhibition room, known reverentially as “The Cathedral.” Bofill himself resides within the factory. The grounds outside are carpeted by grass; eucalyptus, palm, olive, and prune trees grow in abundance. Climbing plants scale the various structures, lending La Fábrica the appearance of a lost industrial ruin—although nature’s seeming attempts at reclaiming the factory have been carefully encouraged by the hands of artists.

The renovation draws its inspiration from the Catalan Gothic style, and also includes influences from other architectural languages. According to Bofill, while today the original cement factory has been successfully transfigured, La Fábrica will always remain an “unfinished work.” La Fábrica stands as a testament to the fact that any space can be reborn, and proves that an imaginative architect can adapt their art to even the most unexpected surroundings.