Bofill, Ricardo

Bofill, Ricardo
b. 1939, Barcelona
   The work of Bofill rests on a number of specific assumptions. His vision of what the role of architecture should be at the end of the twentieth century embraces all aspects of the contemporary environment as well as taking account of the relevance of architectural history. Forced into exile by political circumstances during his student years, he continued his studies in Geneva from 1957 to 1960. As a young Catalan artist suffering persecution in his own country, he was welcomed with open arms in France, where his reputation was enhanced by several important projects which he either completed or set in train there. At the outset of his career, he adopted an original conception of the architect's task, creating in 1961 the Taller d'Arquitectura (Architects" Workshop), a team of architects, designers and intellectuals who committed themselves to a humanist approach to architecture and town planning. Multidisciplinarity and globalization became central themes. Prominent among the first constructions of the Taller are El Xanadu (1968, Calp, Alicante), El Castell (1969, Reus, Tarragona) and the Muralla Roja (1972–4, Calp, Alicante) as well as the group Waden 7 (1972–4). The unifying architectural idiom of these projects is the pursuit of geometric linearity, which, according to their author, gives them psychological depth: "labyrinth" or "intersections" are words which spring to mind when viewing these buildings. The international acclaim which greeted these early experiments, a combination of favourable circumstances, and Bofill's skill as a communicator, brought the Taller and its leader world renown.
   Over time, Bofill's priorities have changed, becoming more focused on monumental architecture and its relationship with power. The Taller has become an international enterprise, with branches in Paris, Barcelona, Montpellier and New York, and with completed projects in, among other cities, Barcelona, Stockholm, Bordeaux, Paris, Moscow and Chicago. Bofill's works, like his discourse, have become more and more rhetorical, even tinged with a megalomania which sometimes affects the politicians and business people who are his clients. He often constructs monumental compositions in a neoclassical idiom, with the addition of modern industrial elements. During the 1980s the public associated him with post-modernism, especially after his combined exhibition with Leon Krier at the Museum of Modern Art in New York in 1985. His principal works are: the winning project (not, however, executed) for a new market-hall for Les Halles de Paris (1975–8), Les Arcades du Lac at St Quentin (France, 1977–87), the Antigone project, where as architect-in-chief he was responsible for the overall design and execution of the Antigone quarter of Montpellier (France, 1978–89), Les Espaces d'Abraxas, a monumental ensemble in Marne-la-Vallée (1978–83), Les Echelles du Baroque, a large-scale residential complex in Paris (1980–5), the Airport at Barcelona (1988–91) and the Teatre Nacional de Catalunya in Barcelona (1987–97).
   See also: architects; architecture

Encyclopedia of contemporary Spanish culture. 2013.

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