Ricardo Bofill, one of Catalonia’s most well-known architects, dies aged 82

He was behind projects such as W Hotel on Barcelona’s seafront, Catalonia’s National Theatre and the new airport terminals

VilaWeb
VilaWeb / Catalan News Agency
14.01.2022 - 18:21
Actualització: 14.01.2022 - 19:21

One of Catalonia’s most internationally celebrated architects, Ricardo Bofill, has passed away at the age of 82. Born in Barcelona in 1939, he is considered one of the most influential urban planners across the world. Bofill graduated from the Barcelona School of Architecture (ETSAB), which awarded him an ‘honoris causa’ doctorate last September.

The public farewell will take place on January 26 and 27 at his famed ‘Taller d’Arquitectura’ architecture firm in Sant Just Desvern, where friends and admirers will be able to pay tribute to him.

Bofill took part in a thousand projects in forty countries, and his influence on Barcelona is clear throughout the city, from projects such as the W Hotel on the Catalan capital’s seafront (also known as Hotel Vela), Catalonia’s National Theatre, and Terminals 1 and 2 of the city’s airport. Outside of Barcelona, he created the Walden 7 apartment building in Sant Just Desvern, the Turia river gardens running through the city of Valencia, and the neighbourhood of Antigone in the French city of Montpellier.

Multidisciplinary team

Beyond individual projects, his legacy includes the iconic architecture firm Ricardo Bofill Taller d’Arquitectura, located in an old cement factory called La Fábrica, right beside the Walden 7 building. Its multidisciplinary team brought together architects, engineers, artists, writers, philosophers and more to create original and purposeful designs.

During the dictatorship, Bofill was expelled from the architecture school Escuela Técnica Superior de Arquitectura in 1957 for his political militancy, as he was a member of the Unified Socialist Party of Catalonia. He left for Switzerland to continue his studies at the University of Geneva, where he graduated.

In 1963 he founded the Taller d’Arquitectura with a team made up not only of architects but also of other professionals and artists, such as the literary critic Salvador Clotas, the poet José Agustín Goytisolo and the economist Julia Romea. His two sons, Ricardo Emilio and Pablo, have been running the office for years. Currently, more than one hundred professionals from thirty different nationalities work there.

Multiple awards

From the various collective housing projects in his early career, such as Walden 7 and the Red Wall in the Valencian region, to infrastructures such as both terminals of the Barcelona Airport, Ricardo Bofill stood out for questioning architecture from the ground up. His legacy also includes the headquarters of the National Institute of Physical Education, the Citadel Center in Chicago, and the Casablanca Twin Center in Morocco.

During his career, Bofill has received numerous awards, such as the St. George’s Cross, one of Catalonia’s highest civil distinctions, in 1993. He was awarded the Vittorio de Sica Architecture Prize and the ‘honoris causa’ distinction by the universities of Hamburg and Metz. He has also been awarded by the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres in Paris, the International Academy of Philosophy of Art in Bern, Switzerland, the American Society of Interior Designers in New York.

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