La Muralla Roja, a stunning coastal condominium on the Mediterranean’s edge located in the La Manzanera development in Calpe, was completed in 1973.Architect Ricardo Bofill designed it as part of the utopian architecture movement in the twentieth century. It received its name from the bright red walls that encircle a labyrinth of twists and turns.Indeed, throughout the second part of the 1900s, a surge of architects and designers worldwide created huge residential complexes in a modern, forward-thinking style.This social housing project is a notable example of the post-World War II postModernism trend.

The building’s walls, which are clad in bright reds, pastel pinks, and dazzling blues, are a dynamic character in the magnificent series or discover more future views from the past.

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The view of La Muralla Roja and surrounding context  _©Ricardo Bofill

The Style of Design 

Bofill aimed to revive the Mediterranean heritage of the Kasbah with this structure, breaking the post-Renaissance divide between public and private areas.The original purpose of La Muralla Roja, located on the coastlines of Alicante, Spain, was to serve as a local housing complex.

The design is akin to a shoreline stronghold emerging from the red-colored dusty hills on which it is situated.

The apparent link between architecture and space elucidates the relationship between design and time and space.The structure blends in with the surrounding environment and serves as an example of organic architecture and how its presence may define a location.

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The view of La Muralla Roja and the way it blends with surroundings   _©Ricardo Bofill

The idea of geometric design

The allure and arrangement of La Muralla Roja are based on notions of regionalism and constructivism, which adhere to a set of geometric laws. The Red Wall is best described as a labyrinth, with five-meter-long arms that match a precise geometric design based on the typology of the Greek cross. The service towers, which house the kitchens and restrooms, are where the crosses meet. While these geometric principles and patterns appeal to the eye, they can also be counterproductive. It appears to be more of an art installation than a residence in some ways. Because of its location and size, the Muralla Roja appears to be a perfect retirement house. While its enigmatic staircases and colors may make you feel like you’re traveling through a sunset, they can quickly become a bewildering storm for anyone suffering from memory loss or orientation issues.

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TheSite plan depicting geometric design   _©Ricardo Bofill

The Illusion caused by the use of colours 

This unique apartment tower built on the rocky cliffs of Calpe, Spain, is defined by a candy-colored maze of interconnected steps, platforms, and bridges. La Muralla Roja captures our attention 50 years later with its surreal colorful walls, dramatic backdrop, and geometric patterns influenced by Mediterranean and Arab architectural influences. Bofill was more than simply a lovely structure; it challenged traditional conceptions about communal housing and presented a new way of life. The objective of applying a gamut of different colors to the structure answers the need to give unique architectural features, according to their structural purposes, a definite relief. Outside surfaces are painted in a variety of red tones to emphasize the contrast with the landscape; patios and stairs, on the other hand, are painted in blue tones such as sky-blue, indigo, and violet to create a stronger or weaker contrast with the sky or, on the contrary, an optical effect of blending in with it. 

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The endless play of angular shapes and pastel colors create a surreal, dream-like world_© Design stories

The vibrant colors used outside and interior facades were chosen to clash with or enhance nature’s purity. The strength of the colors is also tied to the light, demonstrating how combining these components may aid in creating a better illusion of depth. The spaces have a sense of dynamism and movement in their purest form. The choice of a single color immediately directs the viewer’s attention to the shape, after which one is drawn to the movement of light and shadow, adding fluidity to the space. As a result, the color uniformity draws the eye in a specific direction to admire the volume and juxtaposition of areas. The combination of a variety of different paint tones creates a variety of distinct viewpoints on the structure. Visitors are enticed to follow the space and movement dictated by high arches and columns.

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the space and movement dictated by high arches and columns _©Ricardo Bofill
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the space and movement dictated by high arches and columns _©Ricardo Bofill

The structure resembles a colorful castle growing from the rocky cliff. It has a complex of interconnecting staircases, platforms, and bridges connecting the 50 apartments that make up La Muralla Roja.The project’s intricacy extends to the apartment sizes, divided into three categories: 60 sq m studios, 80 sq m two-bedroom apartments, and 120 sq m three-bedroom flats.Roof terraces, solaria, a swimming pool, and a sauna, all dedicated for residents’ use, demonstrate Bofill’s ambition to give a better living.

“I wanted, once and for all, to create a powerful space to make normal people who know nothing about architecture realize that architecture exists.” –Ricardo Bofill

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The view of the pool _©hasselblad

The Current trend of the building  

When Airbnb, a traveler’s best friend and a neighbor’s worst enemy, enters the scene, a more significant and probably more pertinent issue for our generation develops.

The housing complex’s landlords have taken advantage of the benefits of its terrific location and architectural attractiveness and have begun renting out their houses in the complex on Airbnb.

While this can be an excellent way to supplement your income, it dilutes the purity of the location. It turns an architectural gem into a profit-making opportunity by gradually buying out the rest of the complex and eventually turning it into a tourist destination, forcing locals to drive away from what was supposed to be a shared experience.

Even though it was erected in the early 1970s, La Muralla Roja continues to prove its importance and relevance to present-day design, demonstrating how grace within simplicity is still what the human eye seeks.

However, it has fallen victim to the standard commercial spiral, which risks diverting attention away from its details and turning it into another Instagram-worthy spot.

Spains one of the most Instagram – worthy building _©hasselblad

Reference :

ArchEyes. 2022. La Muralla Roja (The Red Wall) / Ricardo Bofill Taller de Arquitectura. [online] Available at: <https://archeyes.com/la-muralla-roja-the-red-wall-ricardo-bofill-taller-de-arquitectura/> [Accessed 19 June 2022].ArchEyes. 2022. La Muralla Roja (The Red Wall) / Ricardo Bofill Taller de Arquitectura. [online] Available at: <https://archeyes.com/la-muralla-roja-the-red-wall-ricardo-bofill-taller-de-arquitectura/> [Accessed 16June 2022].

ArchEyes. 2022. La Muralla Roja (The Red Wall) / Ricardo Bofill Taller de Arquitectura. [online] Available at: <https://archeyes.com/la-muralla-roja-the-red-wall-ricardo-bofill-taller-de-arquitectura/> [Accessed 17June 2022].

Publicdelivery.org. 2022. Ricardo Bofill’s eye-catching La Muralla Roja – Public Delivery. [online] Available at: <https://publicdelivery.org/ricardo-bofill-la-muralla-roja/> [Accessed 17 June 2022].

illustrarch. 2022. La Muralla Roja | illustrarch. [online] Available at: <https://illustrarch.com/articles/2076-la-muralla-roja.html> [Accessed 18 June 2022].

ArchDaily. 2022. AD Classics: La Muralla Roja / Ricardo Bofill. [online] Available at: <https://www.archdaily.com/332438/ad-classics-la-muralla-roja-ricardo-bofill> [Accessed 18 June 2022].

Spain Life Exclusive. 2022. The Red Wall of Calpe – Spain Life Exclusive. [online] Available at: <https://spainlifeexclusive.com/the-red-wall-of-calpe/> [Accessed 17 June 2022].

Haunholter, G., 2022. Aesthetic Ambiguity as Design System in the Architecture of Ricardo Bofill. [online] Academia.edu. Available at: <https://www.academia.edu/36560694/Aesthetic_Ambiguity_as_Design_System_in_the_Architecture_of_Ricardo_Bofill> [Accessed 18June 2022].

Archinect. 2022. Ricardo Bofill passes away aged 82. [online] Available at: <https://archinect.com/news/article/150294418/ricardo-bofill-passes-away-aged-82> [Accessed 16 June 2022].

  1. [online] Available at: <https://mrbigglesworthy.co.nz/inspiration/228/a-tribute-to-postmodernist-architect-ricardo-bofill https://www.academia.edu/36560694/Aesthetic_Ambiguity_as_Design_System_in_the_Architecture_of_Ricardo_Bofill> [Accessed 16 June 2022].

Mrbigglesworthy.co.nz. 2022. Mr. Bigglesworthy – Mid Century Modern and Designer Retro Furniture. [online] Available at: <https://mrbigglesworthy.co.nz/inspiration/228/a-tribute-to-postmodernist-architect-ricardo-bofill> [Accessed 18 June 2022].

Author

Sakshi Jain is a fifth-year architecture student at the Mysore School of Architecture in Mysuru. She believes in creating experiences and exploring - big and small - which explains her love of language. With a rekindled love of reading and a desire to travel, she intends to go places and share her experiences.

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