The internationally renowned Spanish architect Ricardo Bofill died on Friday at the age of 82 from complications related to Covid-19, his family announced Friday, January 14, to Agence France-Presse. In a statement, his workshop, Ricardo Bofill Taller de Arquitectura (RBTA), clarified that he died in Barcelona and paid tribute “To the Spanish architect having had the greatest international career”.
Over the course of his career, Bofill joined the very exclusive club of “star architects”, including Norman Foster, Renzo Piano and Jean Nouvel. Ricardo Bofill has spread his original touch all over the world, with the obsession of putting the human being at the center of space. “Architecture is the victory of man over the irrational”, he liked to say, carried by the obsession to create a ” language “ different architectural.
Particularly renowned in France, he notably designed the Abraxas spaces, in Noisy-le-Grand, in the suburbs of Paris, where several scenes of Brazil, cult anticipatory film by Terry Gilliam (1985), the Antigone district, in Montpellier, inspired by ancient Greece, or the place de la Catalogne, behind the Montparnasse station, in Paris.
A thousand projects around the world
Born on December 5, 1939 in Barcelona (north-eastern Spain) of a Catalan architect father and a Venetian mother, Ricardo Bofill Levi entered the city’s school of architecture in 1957, from where he was expelled for anti-Franco activism, before continuing his studies in Geneva (Switzerland).
Back in his hometown, in a Spain still under the control of dictator Francisco Franco (from 1936 to 1975), he was part with other young intellectuals (architects, engineers, writers, filmmakers, sociologists and philosophers) group called the “Divine Left” and in 1963 created its architectural studio, the Ricardo Bofill Taller de Arquitectura.
This workshop, installed in an old cement factory on the outskirts of Barcelona, with branches in Paris, Montpellier (France), New York (United States), Tokyo, Chicago (United States) or Beijing, has signed more than 1,000 projects around the world.
Obsessed with the organization of space
But on the ground, degraded and criticized by some inhabitants, the spaces of Abraxas were very nearly demolished. “To demolish them would be a lack of culture”, estimated Ricardo Bofill in an interview with World in 2014. While acknowledging that we have “Failed to change the city”. Rewarded by numerous international architectural prizes, Ricardo Bofill was an officer of the French Order of Arts and Letters.
Obsessed with the organization of space, Ricardo Bofill was inspired in particular by the Italian architect Andrea Palladio, of the Renaissance, or of the French architects of the 17th century.e and XVIIIe centuries François Mansart and Claude-Nicolas Ledoux. But also Tuareg villages, where this “Nomad” self-proclaimed went for ideas early in his career.
“I think I can do two things: (…) design cities (…) and try to invent different architectural languages and never repeat them ”, he said in June during a conference in Barcelona. A rejection of the repetition that made him love Antonio Gaudí, Catalan like him, whom he described as “Greatest genius in history” Who “Never repeated two elements or shapes”.