Many of you might know about this architectural gem from architecture books, magazines or simply Instagram and like myself, have been wanting to visit it. I have been truly fascinated and inspired by post-modern architecture for the last few years and this building tops the list. Coincidentally my summer plans this year led me almost directly to it. As soon as I noticed I’d be staying very close to Ricardo Bofill‘s apartment buildings (yes plural, but more to this later) I checked out how to visit La Muralla Roja. Since it’s a private apartment building the only way to visit it is to indeed book a stay in an apartment over AirBnB. I was unbelievably lucky, as the day I was planning to stay was the only available day for the whole of summer. So an entire apartment with 2 bedrooms and 3 balconies (facing different directions) was booked and I was more than happy to realise that this visit was really going to happen. It didn’t take long to convince my architects friends to come and share the experience with me.
So when we arrived at La Muralla Roja, which we could already spot from a distance, we were pleasantly surprised to discover that it was almost entirely freshly painted. They were actually still painting parts of it, which was totally fine, since the majority of it was done. The building, which really appears like a red fortress, was even more phenomenal as I could ever have imagined and as soon as we managed to enter and be shown to our apartment, our labyrinth tour immediately began. We really felt like kids in an amusement park. First we inspected the stunning apartment with its balconies, one facing a blue courtyard, the other one it’s red facade and the main one facing a powder pink courtyard offering a sea view and a little lounge. Originally planned as a holiday home complex in 1968 by Ricardo Bofill it offers 50 apartments, all of them enjoying a stunning view of the coast and having access to the rooftop with pool and sauna.
After we took the first pictures of the impressive powder pink staircases, which surrounded us, we then ran upstairs to test out the highlight of the apartment, the stunning pool. A necessary relief at around 32 degrees celsius outside. The dark blue cross shaped pool is located on the rooftop on the back of the apartment block and looks out to the mountains of Calpe.
Once we were refreshed, we continued to discover the rest of the building, which is really overwhelming, in a good way, a labyrinth of interlocking stairs, bridges and platforms forming its circulation and thereby offering many different perspectives and views. From there you can also see the other Bofill building which I mentioned early. The green Xanadu is Muralla’s neighbour and looks just as it was out of a fairy tale.
La Muralla Roja, which is sitting on cliffs making it visible especially from the water, was inspired by the Kasbah, a typical architecture form of the Arab Mediterranean, it is playing and mixing the inner with the outside, the private and the public. Internal structures are designed after a Greek cross and are intersecting at the service towers. The main idea behind encouraging the residents to come together again, a social provocation, an experiment. Here the inner and circulation surfaces are painted in different shades of blue, indigo and purple, which is supposed to create an illusion to blend with the sky, while the red and pink tones of the outer walls are building a contrast to the dry and sandy landscape.
My summary of the visit to this building: It is really worth experiencing. For me, it really spreads joy and after spending 24 hours there, you get what I’m saying. Crossing people, seeing them from afar, appearing suddenly on the balcony above you from a hidden angle. It leaves surprises, but at the same time enough space for privacy.