Canadian duo Doublespace Photography has released images of Spanish architect Ricardo Boffil’s iconic Muralla Roja apartment building to mark 50years since its completion.
To mark the anniversary, photographers Amanda Large and Younes Bounhar of Doublespace Photography travelled to Spain to stay at an apartment in the complex for six days, in order to capture it in different weather and light conditions.
“Each nook and facade changed throughout the day, depending on whether it was bathed in direct sun, in shade or reflecting the colour from an adjacent facade,” Bounhar told Dezeen.
“The play of light and shadow was mesmerizing. In all honesty, that alone was enough of a draw for us.”
Completed in 1973, Muralla Roja was an early work by late architect Ricardo Bofill sited in Alicante, Spain.
Encompassing 50 functional apartments, the structure is known for its playful geometries, bright colouration and its dramatic perch above the Medditerean Sea.
Bofill, who passed away in 2022, described the project as a “maximum expression of critical regionalism to the Mediterranean coast,” according to Gestalten’s monograph of his work, Visions of Architecture.
Scores of people travel to the site every year, and it is a popular destination for photographers who are attracted to the cross-shaped, postmodern structure.
Bounhar told Dezeen that they saw people from all over the world who were “drawn to capture its magic” and that the crowds were not “not limited to the architectural geek”.
The structure’s jagged edges cast shadows on its blue, red and pink-painted walls that form a series of spires, which surround an interior courtyard.
On the roof of the building are a series of parapet-like extrusions that flank public space and swimming pools.
Ten notable projects by Spanish architect Ricardo Bofill
From a distance, the structure appears assembled from a variety of different shapes, with arches, window boxes, cut-outs and staircases, which Bounhar described as “Escher-like”, all contributing to the surreality of the structure, which is compounded by the adjacent Xanadù, also designed by Bofill.
“We were really taken with the general playfulness of the design,” said the photographer.
“The complex is designed in such a way that it doesn’t reveal itself all at once – every turn brings a new surprise.”
“You might find yourself in a dark corner with only a bright spec of colour appearing from an adjacent opening and, from there, either happen upon an explosion of light and colour in the middle of a courtyard, or discover a breathtaking view of the Mediterranean,” continued
“In the end, it is a place that is both ahead of its time and timeless.”
With the advent of image-sharing platforms like Instagram and changing tastes, projects from the last century have gained new fans, driven often by photographers recapturing the buildings for 21st-century audiences.
Recently, Anna Dave photographed Javier Senosiain’s El Nido de Quetzalcóatl, a snake-like apartment complex in Mexico.
Last year, Jack Young released a book of his photography showing the “beauty of London’s council estates”.
The photography is by Doublespace Photography.
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