Home Goods | March 2, 2017 9:00 am

Architect Spends 40 Years Turning Cement Factory Into Surreal Dreamhouse

Bet your fixer-upper doesn't look like this

When architect Ricardo Bofill first found the ruins of an early 20th century cement factory in Barcelona, his imagination exploded with possibilities. That was over 40 years ago, and he and his team have been renovating and reworking the site ever since.

The first year and a half was spent on demolition, including heavy use of dynamite and jackhammers just to make the ex-factory liveable. It’s come a long way since then, with the dramatic high-ceilinged rooms made over with modern, elegant furniture and soft light-filtering drapes. 

Cement Castle (5 images)

The exterior is transformed as well. As goes with Brutalist architecture, such heavy presence of concrete is severe and industrial, but the site is complemented by lush landscaping, romantic arches and surreal staircases and silos, imparting an overall strange and completely unique property.

Cement Castle 2 (5 images)

There are two and a half miles of underground tunnels which are partially in use by the architect and his team, whose studio is mainly in the silos but with the model and archive rooms being subterranean.

Cement Castle 3 (4 images)

It combines spaces for work, life and play, and the architect has said “presently I live and work here better than anywhere else. It is for me the only place where I can concentrate and associate ideas in the most abstract manner. I have the impression of living in a precinct, in a closed universe which protects me from the outside and everyday life.”

He has also said that his work on the cement factory will never be finished, and it will always be a work-of-art-in-progress.