Doublespace Photography captures Ricardo Bofill’s Muralla Roja on its 50th anniversary

Two children playing on Muralla Roja roof

Canadian duo Doublespace Photography has released images of Spanish architect Ricardo Boffil‘s iconic Muralla Roja apartment building to mark 50years since its completion.

To mark the anniversary, photographers Amanda Large and Younes Bounhar of Doublespace Photography travelled to Spain to stay at an apartment in the complex for six days, in order to capture it in different weather and light conditions.

Pink stepped roof with ocean in background
Canadian duo Doublespace Photography travelled to Spain to photography Ricardo Bofill’s Muralla Roja

“Each nook and facade changed throughout the day, depending on whether it was bathed in direct sun, in shade or reflecting the colour from an adjacent facade,” Bounhar told Dezeen.

“The play of light and shadow was mesmerizing. In all honesty, that alone was enough of a draw for us.”

Pool on Muralla Roja with pink sky and ocean in background
2023 marks the 50th anniversary of the iconic building

Completed in 1973, Muralla Roja was an early work by late architect Ricardo Bofill sited in Alicante, Spain.

Encompassing 50 functional apartments, the structure is known for its playful geometries, bright colouration and its dramatic perch above the Medditerean Sea.

Bofill, who passed away in 2022, described the project as a “maximum expression of critical regionalism to the Mediterranean coast,” according to Gestalten‘s monograph of his work, Visions of Architecture.

Children playing by the pool on the rooftop with pink structures in background
The structure still holds 50 fully functioning apartments

Scores of people travel to the site every year, and it is a popular destination for photographers who are attracted to the cross-shaped, postmodern structure.

Bounhar told Dezeen that they saw people from all over the world who were “drawn to capture its magic” and that the crowds were not “not limited to the architectural geek”.

Pink walkway leading to tower with ocean in the background
It is a noteworthy work from Bofill’s early career

The structure’s jagged edges cast shadows on its blue, red and pink-painted walls that form a series of spires, which surround an interior courtyard.

On the roof of the building are a series of parapet-like extrusions that flank public space and swimming pools.

From a distance, the structure appears assembled from a variety of different shapes, with arches, window boxes, cut-outs and staircases, which Bounhar described as “Escher-like”, all contributing to the surreality of the structure, which is compounded by the adjacent Xanadù, also designed by Bofill.

“We were really taken with the general playfulness of the design,” said the photographer.

“The complex is designed in such a way that it doesn’t reveal itself all at once – every turn brings a new surprise.”

Pink stairways of Muralla Roja at night
The photographers captured the building at different times of day

“You might find yourself in a dark corner with only a bright spec of colour appearing from an adjacent opening and, from there, either happen upon an explosion of light and colour in the middle of a courtyard, or discover a breathtaking view of the Mediterranean,” continued

“In the end, it is a place that is both ahead of its time and timeless.”

Muralla Roja pink inset stair with sea in the background
“It is a place that is both ahead of its time and timeless,” said the photographers

With the advent of image-sharing platforms like Instagram and changing tastes, projects from the last century have gained new fans, driven often by photographers recapturing the buildings for 21st-century audiences.

Recently, Anna Dave photographed Javier Senosiain’s El Nido de Quetzalcóatl, a snake-like apartment complex in Mexico.

Blue jagged staircase
It has a mix of pink, red and blue paint on its facades

Last year, Jack Young released a book of his photography showing the “beauty of London’s council estates”.

The photography is by Doublespace Photography. 

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