In 1973 Spanish architect Ricardo Bofill stumbled upon a cement factory in Catalonia, Spain, an enormous compound of silos and buildings that covered nearly two and a half miles of underground tunnels. Bofill decided to buy The World War I era structure and its grounds, making modifications to the original structure in order to create an all-inclusive live/work space that would unite the Surrealist, Abstract, and Brutalist elements found in its industrial form.
Original construction to transform the sprawling series of buildings took a little over a year and a half. After the dust cleared from the jack hammers and dynamite, Catalan craftsmen worked to add gardens and purpose back into the abandoned compound. Today the factory holds a cathedral, model workshop, archive rooms, residence, and studio, a workspace for Bofill’s firm spread over four floors in the factory’s silos and connected by a spiral staircase.
Despite over forty years in the making, the entire project is constantly evolving and is one that Bofill never sees as being fully completed. With continuous tweaks, Bofill has created a perfectly programmed existence, a ritualized lifestyle that goes against his previously nomadic early life.
“I have the impression of living in a precinct, in a closed universe which protects me from the outside and everyday life,” said Bofill on his website. “The Cement Factory is a place of work par excellence. Life goes on here in a continuous sequence, with very little difference between work and leisure.”
You can see more images of the garden-covered structures on Bofill’s website, and see a short Nowness documentary on his studio and residence below. (via Designboom)
Dutch multidisciplinary artist Vera van Wolferen (previously) produces miniature balsa wood sculptures, architectural objects that are either incorporated into animations or left motionless to tell their own stories. Her static works are often displayed beneath glass bell jars, leaving the audience to imagine that the tiny tree houses, cottages, and campers are neatly contained within their own universes. Van Wolferen also uses simple craft materials like cotton to enhance her sets, making it appear as if her sculpted homes are resting amongst the clouds.
You can view more of van Wolferen’s wood sculptures and sets, as well as some of her cut paper illustrations, on her Instagram, Facebook and Behance.
All photos © Marc Fornes / The Very Many
An interconnected pathway of tubular branches hangs above the Orange County Convention Center (OCCC) in Orlando, Florida, an installation produced from perforated aluminum by architect Marc Fornes and his studio The Very Many. Under Magnitude, which appears like a large segment of bleached coral, is composed of over 4,600 strips of metal, each just a millimeter thick. When formed into tubes however, the material increases in strength, allowing it to be walked over without damage.
This installation is suspended from the OCCC’s atrium to create a sort of secondary ceiling, its white surface highlighted by the windows that surround it. Passersby can view the work from both above and below, allowing the hollow structure to be seen from multiple vantage points.
“Borrowing and mismatching elements from the world, pushing them out of scale and hybridising them to the realm of the bizarre, the structure achieves a familiar yet mysterious quality, at once friendly and alien,” said The Very Many in Dezeen.
Under Magnitude is based on a previous nonlinear structure titled nonLin/Lin Pavilion installed at the FRAC Centre in Orleans, France by Fornes and his studio in 2011. You can see more projects by the art+architectural studio on their website, and view a behind-the-scenes video of Under Magnitude below. (via NOTCOT, Dezeen)
Gazing up, the first thing you notice when viewing the 33-foot tall cabin, The 7th Room, is its base, an aluminum covering featuring black and white images of the pine trees that surround the structure. Used as camouflage, this exterior panel immerses the treetop cabin into its environment, blurring the boundaries between the building and forest. Designed by architecture firm Snøhetta, the structure is also intended to bring visitors closer to nature, built with a suspended net at its center, and several floor-to-ceiling windows that allow for multiple viewpoints of the Aurora Borealis overhead.
The 7th Room is one of seven cabins available through northern Sweden’s Treehotel. You can view the other six cabins that compose the alternative hotel, like The Mirror Cube, on their website. (via Designboom)
As part of his new series titled Ouroborus, Barcelona-based artist Vasco Mourao (aka Mister Mourao) drew intricate buildings that flow in a continuous loop on pieces of cut plywood. He refers to himself as “an architect turned into an illustrator with a tendency for obsessive drawing,” and such a description couldn’t be more accurate. Mourao’s dense structural designs have also been executed on walls, paper, and other canvases and just barely seem contained on these wooden circuits.
The Ouroborus series was recently on view at Espacio 88 in Barcelona, and a few of the original works are still available in his online shop. (via Hi-Fructose)
As part of his ongoing Globes series, London-based architect Amer TendToTravel sketches the familiar landmarks and textural street patterns of familiar cities onto tiny moon-sized spheres. Seen here are locales like Paris, Hong Kong, and Melbourne whose skyscrapers reach out like tiny spikes atop the Death Star. You can see more of his completed globes and works-in-progress on his website and on Instagram. If you liked this, also check out the work of Ben Sak. (via Colossal Submissions)