Architecture Icon: La Muralla Roja by Ricardo Bofill

La Muralla Roja, Spanish for ‘The Red Wall,’ is a housing project completed in 1968 and designed by the top architect, Ricardo Bofill. The building has a clear inspiration on the popular architecture of the Arab Mediterranean Area. The stunning shades of pink and red, the stairs and circulation spaces are jewel-like blues and indigoes, selected to either contrast with nature or complement its purity.

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See also: AL_A Designs V&A’s Biggest Architectural Design From The Last Century

Formed like a fortress, the architectural project appears as if it is emerging from the rocky cliffs it sits on. Its organization challenges the increasing division between public and private space through its reinterpretation of the casbah, a traditional architecture in North African countries. Characterized by a series of interlocking stairs, platforms, and bridges, this organization is a modern illustration of the circulation in a typical casbah, providing access to the 50 apartments that form La Muralla Roja.

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La Muralla Roja embodies a clear reference to the popular architecture of the Arab Mediterranean, in particular to the adobe towers of North Africa. The geometric basis of the layout is also an approximation to the theories of constructivism.

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Following circulation patterns based on the geometry of the Greek cross, the design also challenges ideas of private and public space, with glimpses of sea, terraces, and stairs surprising at every turn.

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The outside surfaces are painted in various tones of red, to accentuate the contrast with the landscape, patios, stairs, however, are treated with blue tones, such as sky-blue, indigo, violet, to produce a stronger or weaker contrast with the sky or, on the contrary, an optical effect of blending in with it. The intensity of the colors is also related to the light and shows how the combination of these elements can help create a greater illusion of space.

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