A new interior for Ricardo Bofill’s Walden-7

An apartment in the iconic complex designed by Bofill is renovated by Bonell+Dòriga through a series of recalls to the profile of the building, but without forcing the hand with a punctual mimesis.

Gigantic, magniloquent, ramshackle and challenged to the point of demolition, thus protected as a national architectural heritage: the famous Walden-7 condominium built by Ricardo Bofill in the municipality of Sant Just Desvern, Catalonia, embodies all the utopian charge of a community that aspires to regain its ties through architecture. Today, a paradox of the times, the building designed between 1973 and 1975 enjoys a renewed favor not so much and not only on the wave of this collectivist impulse, but for the high degree of iconicity and photogenic architecture, which makes it a champion of sharing in the virtual communities on social media.

Bonell+Dòriga, Walden-7, 2019
Bonell+Dòriga, Walden-7, 2019

In renovating one of the 446 apartments in the complex, the architectural studio Bonell+Dòriga questions the right sensitivity to use on a recent contemporary heritage which is distinct from the fact that the author is still professionally active. The approach aims to operate in continuity with the fabric of the building without, however, wanting to replicate its features in a forced mimesis, while Bofill's interior topographies, never really implemented, offer a starting point to be adapted to the needs of current clients.

Located on the 12th floor, the living area is reconfigured through the insertion of a long masonry bench, equipped as a seat and connected to the staircase leading to the sleeping area on the upper floor. The characteristic circular shape of the balconies, on the other hand, is taken up through recurring morphological references, such as the arch that divides the room, the red step, the mirrors and the shape of the lights. Finally, a small hint of the stepped geometry of Valden-7 can be found in the bathrooms, where the juxtaposition of tone-on-tone tiles recalls the profile of the building.

Sant Just Desvern, Barcelona

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