Walden 7 represents the successful implementation of an old ambition of Ricardo Bofill and it has a special significance within the development of his work. The building represents in fact the realization of the research work done for other previous projects of the Taller de Arquitectura, as Reus “Gaudi Quarter”, and “the City in Space”, in Madrid.
The project of The City in Space was eventually able to take shape on a suburban plot formerly occupied by a cement factory. Working to a budget appreciably lower than the norm for subsidized housing at the time, with unusual funding, Walden-7 rose up as a monument and point of reference in this area to the west of Barcelona. Walden 7 embodies the concept of architectural magnitude as well as a new, enriching feature into the suburban environment which surrounds it. It attempts to provide a solution to the problems of life in today’s cities where there is a lack of community, of collective activity, of public space placed at the disposition of the individual. Walden 7 creates a distinguished space in contrast to the mediocrity of its surroundings, stimulating in this way an animation of community life in its interiors.
Walden 7 consists of a fourteen-storey cluster of 446 apartments, grouped around five courtyards, in top of which are two swimming pools. With few exceptions, each apartment face both outside of the block and into one of the courtyard, at many levels, there is a complex system of bridges and balconies for access producing a fantastic variety of vistas and enclosures. The exterior facade has the appearance of a huge fortification completely painted in red, which is opened to the exterior through large overtures like urban windows of several stories high. The courtyards have a lively treatment because of the intense blue and yellow colored facade. The main courtyard, at the building’s entrance, is a recovery of the street and the plaza for the benefit of the inhabitants, which generates an interior world apart from the exterior chaos.
The dwellings, a combination of square 30 m2 modules, come in different sizes, ranging from the single-module studio to the four-module apartment, either on one floor or duplex. Despite the intimate scale of the apartments, the organization in plan presents various readings on the separation of public and private.Location: 1975 Sant Just Desvern, Barcelona, Spain Architect: Bofill Arquitectura Project name: Walden-7
Client: CEEX 3
Total area: 40,000 sqm