Talent is something that can be innate. or it can be something that comes about with enough hard work. The world is riddled with talented people, we just have to look closely to see them because, at times, we can find them in the least likeliest of places. For all we know, the next musical legend is playing on a street, waiting to be discovered; or the one that can find the cure for cancer is the person you’ve just passed while walking on the street; or maybe, the person that can cause a paradigm shift in the world of design and construction is in an architecture university in Manila.
The events that define the capabilities of talented people are the rare chances in life wherein they stumble upon works of marvel and exquisite beauty that the instance they lay their eyes on them, time seemingly stops and nothing in the world seems to matter at that moment. This was what happened to a young architect by the name of Ricardo Bofill. By happenstance, he stumbled upon a run-down, old cement factory during an ordinary day in 1973. He instantly imagined what the cement factory could be, his creativity and passion for architecture painted the possible future for the cement factory. Later on, he started working in the cement factory to turn it into the work of marvel that he saw in his imagination. This is the story of his years of work:
Demolishing for the Sake of Creating
Bofill bought the cement factory in 1973 and started the construction of the architectural marvel. They began by demolishing certain parts of the factory with the use of dynamites and jackhammers. Although explosives were used, it was still a precision job. They demolished certain parts to reveal a hidden structure and to effectively create space. Demolishing took a year and a half to finish due to the sheer difficulty of the work; next was the incorporation of greenery and planting to counteract the volumes of cement and stone that could be seen. This was done throughout the factory and even the roof. After the initial changes have been made, Bofill and his team needed to give the factory a new structure and to invent new uses for each part of the factory.
Over four floors of cement silos were converted into Boffil and his team’s office. The studio’s layout consists of four floors connected by a spiral staircase which highlights the company’s culture that encourages teamwork but still provides the necessary environment for creativity and individual work.
While restructuring, the company decided to convert the factory hall to a conference and exhibition room where they can hold meetings and presentations. Individuals can present and exhibit ideas that they want the company to approve.
The greenery that was planted during the initial phases are now fully grown and they are on full display on the factory’s exterior. The site, covered mostly by grass, is riddled with different herbs, trees, and climbing plants that perfectly cover up the exposed cement walls and give a sort of mysterious, romantic ruin that makes the site’s exterior unique and unrepeatable.
The upper floors were converted by Bofill into the main living room where he usually spends his time. The main meeting point of Bofill’s family is the kitchen-dining room located on the ground floor which is comprised of iron-worked tables and chairs and has also designer designed two-sided fireplaces which gives the room a warm and charming ambiance.
The middle floor was given a traditional Moroccan wall finish that gives it a pinkish theme, which is why it is also called the “pink room”. The pink room is the main living area where Bofill’s family conducts is private affairs. It is riddled with marble furniture that is in contrast with the black leather sofa, and the main part of the pink room is its large fireplace which dominates most of the room.
The factory, aptly named “La Fabrica” is one of the greatest artistic marvels today, Bofill’s vision for it is never ending and as he likens the project’s constant evolution to his own creative thinking and lifestyle. Until today, the factory remains unfinished and is still a work in progress. It is constantly redesigned or changed and it being unfinished only adds to its unique charm.
With the right mindset and enough passion, anyone can do what Ricardo Bofill did. Just keep dreaming and do whatever it takes to make your dreams come true, surely you will be happy in the end.