Ricardo Bofill’s eye-catching La Muralla Roja
Ricardo Bofill – La Muralla Roja, 1973, Calpe, Alicante, Spain - Detail

Ricardo Bofill – La Muralla Roja, 1973, Calpe, Alicante, Spain -- Detail

Published: April 7, 2020

La Muralla Roja

Lying off Spain’s Calpe coast is La Muralla Roja (red wall), one of the most eye-catching buildings on the shores of the Mediterranean. It is an apartment block borrowing heavily from the Arab, Greek, and contemporary designs while keeping clean-cut geometric shapes of contemporary architecture. The outer walls are in different hues of red and pink, that when seen from far, give the whole building a distinct reddish tone.

Ricardo Bofill – La Muralla Roja, 1973, Calpe, Alicante, Spain - Facade

Ricardo Bofill – La Muralla Roja, 1973, Calpe, Alicante, Spain -- Facade

Ricardo Bofill – La Muralla Roja, 1973, Calpe, Alicante, Spain - Detail

Ricardo Bofill – La Muralla Roja, 1973, Calpe, Alicante, Spain -- Detail

Ricardo Bofill – La Muralla Roja, 1973, Calpe, Alicante, Spain - Detail

Ricardo Bofill – La Muralla Roja, 1973, Calpe, Alicante, Spain -- Detail

How it looks like

La Muralla Roja was Ricardo Bofill’s design in 1968, but its beauty still awes many visitors to this part of the Spanish coast. The building is designed like a middle ages fortress castle complete with turrets at the top, and geometric layers of stairwells. It also conforms to the Greek cross design when seen from a bird’s eye view; the arms of the cross intersect at the service towers where the kitchens and bathrooms are located.

Ricardo Bofill – La Muralla Roja, 1973, Calpe, Alicante, Spain - Top View

Ricardo Bofill – La Muralla Roja, 1973, Calpe, Alicante, Spain -- Top View

Ricardo Bofill – La Muralla Roja, 1973, Calpe, Alicante, Spain - Top View

Ricardo Bofill – La Muralla Roja, 1973, Calpe, Alicante, Spain -- Top View

Ricardo Bofill – La Muralla Roja, 1973, Calpe, Alicante, Spain - The top swimming pool

Ricardo Bofill – La Muralla Roja, 1973, Calpe, Alicante, Spain -- The top swimming pool

Ricardo Bofill – La Muralla Roja, 1973, Calpe, Alicante, Spain - Swimming pool detail

Ricardo Bofill – La Muralla Roja, 1973, Calpe, Alicante, Spain -- Swimming pool detail

What’s inside?

Inside structures are influenced by the architecture of the Arab Mediterranean seen in much of North Africa. The stairwells are interlocking, with doors to the apartments located on the stair platforms and bridges. There are 50 apartments of differing sizes in the complex; 60,80 and 120 square meters with one, two and three bedrooms, respectively. The Kasbah style is well-known for the mix of private and public spaces, and its created in this building by a labyrinth of stairs and interconnected patios.

Ricardo Bofill – La Muralla Roja, 1973, Calpe, Alicante, Spain - Staircase

Ricardo Bofill – La Muralla Roja, 1973, Calpe, Alicante, Spain -- Staircase

Ricardo Bofill – La Muralla Roja, 1973, Calpe, Alicante, Spain - Staircase

Ricardo Bofill – La Muralla Roja, 1973, Calpe, Alicante, Spain -- Staircase

Ricardo Bofill – La Muralla Roja, 1973, Calpe, Alicante, Spain - Staircase

Ricardo Bofill – La Muralla Roja, 1973, Calpe, Alicante, Spain -- Staircase

Videos

3 min 35 sec

1 min 8 sec

Colors & Surroundings

Inner and circulation surfaces are painted in varying tones of blue, indigo and purple, which creates the illusion of blending with the sky or create a contrast with the sky. Reddish and pink hues of the outer walls contrast sharply with the surrounding landscape of sandy brown and green vegetation. The clean-cut walls jut from the rocky shore in a disruption that the eye can hardly miss. Turret outlines at the top of the walls complete the silhouette of a fortress castle overlooking the coast.

Ricardo Bofill – La Muralla Roja, 1973, Calpe, Alicante, Spain - View from the sea

Ricardo Bofill – La Muralla Roja, 1973, Calpe, Alicante, Spain -- View from the sea

Ricardo Bofill – La Muralla Roja, 1973, Calpe, Alicante, Spain - View from the sea

Ricardo Bofill – La Muralla Roja, 1973, Calpe, Alicante, Spain -- View from the sea

Ricardo Bofill – La Muralla Roja, 1973, Calpe, Alicante, Spain - View from the swimming poool

Ricardo Bofill – La Muralla Roja, 1973, Calpe, Alicante, Spain -- View from the swimming poool

Location

Partida Manzanera, 3, 03710 Calp, Alicante, Spain
Hours: Monday-Friday: 9 am–7pm, Saturday-Sunday: Closed

Analysis

This building’s thoughtful design is seen in the Greek topology of the inner design. The internal structures are modeled on a geometric Greek cross, with arms 5 meters long intersecting at the service towers. La Muralla Roja’s utility as modern living space can be seen in the creature comforts it offers with a swimming pool, solaria, and sauna on the roof terrace. All apartments enjoy stunning views of the coast, making this the most envied address on this stretch of the shoreline. This visually intriguing building will also continue to be a study piece for architecture and design students for a long time to come.

Ricardo Bofill – La Muralla Roja, 1973, Calpe, Alicante, Spain - Detail

Ricardo Bofill – La Muralla Roja, 1973, Calpe, Alicante, Spain -- Detail

Ricardo Bofill – La Muralla Roja, 1973, Calpe, Alicante, Spain - Detail

Ricardo Bofill – La Muralla Roja, 1973, Calpe, Alicante, Spain -- Detail

Ricardo Bofill – La Muralla Roja, 1973, Calpe, Alicante, Spain - Detail

Ricardo Bofill – La Muralla Roja, 1973, Calpe, Alicante, Spain -- Detail

Ricardo Bofill – La Muralla Roja, 1973, Calpe, Alicante, Spain - Blue staircase

Ricardo Bofill – La Muralla Roja, 1973, Calpe, Alicante, Spain -- Blue staircase

Ricardo Bofill – La Muralla Roja, 1973, Calpe, Alicante, Spain - Staircase

Ricardo Bofill – La Muralla Roja, 1973, Calpe, Alicante, Spain -- Staircase

All images: Courtesy of Ricardo Bofill.

 

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