A New Urban Classicism
Ricardo Bofill (Taller De Arquitectura) & Peter Hodgkinson (Taller De Arquitectura)


The Barcelona Team (Hodgkinson 7th From Left)

©Serena Vergano

This slide is the Taller de Arquitectura group of Barcelona. Taller de Arquitectura means Architectural workshop. Here we all are standing outside an old cement factory and my name, which is Peter Hodgkinson, is represented by that character in the middle with the arrow. We're a group of about twenty working here, mostly architects, and we really represent about ten countries. We have people from Asia, people from South America, America, and people from all over Europe working. It's quite an amazing group - because the average age of us is round about twenty five to thirty - has really got an enormous responsibility as, through the recent development of our method of working, we've achieved a vast amount of work which would normally be very easy for older more experienced groups to cope with. But we've had to take an enormous amount of responsibility on our shoulders very young. Now, this building you're looking at, an old cement factory, was converted by us about ten years ago and was occupied about eight years ago. And this really represents the base of the conceptual thinking of this group, the Taller de Arquitectura. In this group-thinking process, we take a building project, really from its very beginnings up to more or less the equivalent of what you would call a 'final year' project in your architectural schools. This project is then taken on to our other office in Paris.


The Paris Team (Bofill Bottom Right)

©Taller de Arquitectura

In this photograph you can see the Paris office with Ricardo Bofill's back turned to you, sitting over a table and discussing a project. These friends of ours are more or less dedicated to the actual building development and the building technologies, building investigation, for the projects which we've designed in Barcelona. And when they do go ahead, they are in charge of looking after the whole operation from the moment it leaves Barcelona to the moment it's fully occupied as a building. There again, the group is multi-national and extremely young. The work they do there is absolutely vital, in the sense that it continues the thought processing in Barcelona in terms of how to develop our language and our style, using possibilities of a new technology and using possibilities of a new designed language which will naturally develop from this new technology. Our method of building, which has changed radically over the last twenty years and which process you will now be seeing in the slides, has gone from a very, very artisan way of building - really one brick upon one brick, and very short little small beams, and very easily stuck-on tiles - to a highly sophisticated system of factory-made panels - panels which are made of a beautiful type of developed concrete, with colours and stones giving it the aspect of many types of marble types of artificial stone, and which at the same time is ornamented with different types of moulds and almost engravings - which in fact are full-sized wall-panels, arriving from the factory, and loaded by cranes up onto the buildings, and pushed into place. This technology and this method of building, which is enormously complicated, can only really be done in France at this particular moment, because of the last twenty years of French development in the concrete and the heavy wall concrete panel system.

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