La Muralla Roja, Spanish for ‘The Red Wall,’ is a postmodern apartment complex in Manzanera, Calpe, Spain. It was designed by Spanish architect Ricardo Bofill for the client Palomar S.A. in 1968 and entirely constructed by 1973. It has been ranked among “Ricardo Bofill’s 10 Most Iconic Works”. In designing the building, Bofill referenced the architecture of North African casbahs and Arab Mediterranean architectural styles. It reinterprets the casbahs in an avant-garde fashion while incorporating the traditional elements like plazas (courtyards), staircases, and bridges that connect all the apartments to one another.
As a residency, it holds several amenities such as two retail stores, a sauna, and a restaurant, all on the first level. On roof terraces, there are solariums and a swimming pool exclusively for the use of its residents. La Muralla Roja is referred to as a housing estate that has fifty apartments/ living spaces. There are three different styles and sizes of apartments: Studio apartments of approximately 60 square meters, two-bedroom apartments of 80 square meters, and three-bedroom apartments of about 120 square meters.
La Muralla Roja Technical Information
- Architects: Ricardo Bofill Taller de Arquitectura
- Typology: Residential / Houses
- Location: Partida Manzanera, 3, 03710, Calpe, Alicante, Spain
- Client: Palomar S.A.
- Topics: Postmodern, Mediterranean Architecture, Kasbah, Color, Apartments
- Project Completion Year: 1968-1973
- Photographs: © Courtesy of Ricardo Bofill Taller de Arquitectura
With this building, RBTA wanted to break the post-Renaissance division between public and private spaces reinterpreting the Mediterranean tradition of the Kasbah. The labyrinth of this recreated Kasbah corresponds to a precise geometric plan based on the typology of the Greek cross with arms 5 meters long, these being grouped in different ways, with service towers (kitchens and bathrooms) at their point of intersection. The geometric basis of the layout is also an approximation to the theories of constructivism, and makes La Muralla Roja a very clear evocation of these.
– Ricardo Bofill 1
La Muralla Roja Apartments Photographs
Text by the Architects
Within the context of La Manzanera, La Muralla Roja (The Red Wall) asks to be considered as a case apart. It embodies a clear reference to the popular architecture of the Arab Mediterranean, in particular to the adobe towers of North Africa. The Red Wall is like a fortress which marks a vertical silhouette following the contour lines of the rocky cliff. With this building, RBTA wanted to break the post-Renaissance division between public and private spaces reinterpreting the Mediterranean tradition of the Kasbah.
The labyrinth of this recreated Kasbah corresponds to a precise geometric plan based on the typology of the Greek cross with arms 5 meters long, these being grouped in different ways, with service towers (kitchens and bathrooms) at their point of intersection.
The geometric basis of the layout is also an approximation of constructivist theories, and makes the Muralla Roja a very clear evocation of such ideas. The building’s shapes evoke a constructivist aesthetic and create an ensemble of interconnected patios providing access to the 50 apartments, which include 60m2 studios and two- and three-bedroom apartments of 80m2 and 120m2, respectively. On the roof terraces there are solariums, a swimming pool, and a sauna for resident’s use.
The criterion of applying to the building a gamut of various colours responds to the intention to give a determined relief to the distinct architectural elements, according to their structural functions. The striking colours of the outer and inner façades were selected to either contrast with nature or complement its purity. Various tones of red paint cover the exterior façade, accentuating the way it contrasts with the landscape. Stairs and circulation surfaces, on the other hand, are treated with different tones of blue, ranging from sky blue to indigo and even violet, depending on whether they’re contrasting with the sky or creating a visual continuity with it. The intensity of the colours is also related to the light and shows how the combination of these elements can help create a greater illusion of space.
Shaped like a fortress, the project seems to emerge from the rocky cliffs it sits on. Its organisation challenges the increasing division between public and private space through its reinterpretation of the kasbah, the walled citadel typical of traditional architecture in North African countries. Characterised by a series of interlocking stairs, platforms, and bridges, this organisation is a modern illustration of the circulation in a typical kasbah, providing access to the apartments that form the Muralla Roja.
La Muralla Roja Inspiration
La Muralla Roja has been the clear inspiration of many sets, including the maze-like staircase in pastel shades of green, blue, and pink of Squid Games: is the backbone of the project, connecting environments on different levels and leading to all the minimalist and cavernous spaces.
La Muralla Roja Apartments Plans
La Muralla Roja Apartments Image Gallery
About Ricardo Bofill
Ricardo Bofill Leví (5 December 1939 – 14 January 2022) was a Spanish architect. He founded Ricardo Bofill Taller de Arquitectura in 1963 and developed it into a leading international architectural and urban design practice. According to architectural historian Andrew Ayers, his creations rank “among the most impressive buildings of the 20th century.” Ricardo Bofill was born into a family of builders in 1939 in Barcelona. He studied at the Barcelona University School of Architecture and graduated from the School of Geneva. At the age of 17, Ricardo Bofill designed his first project, a summer home in Ibiza, and by 23, he became the lead architect of el Taller. Over fifty years later, Bofill still leads Ricardo Bofill Taller de Arquitectura, with over 1000 projects to date in over 50 countries.
- Ssense, Ricardo Bofill: Beyond brutalism, Interview by Thomas Jeppe
- Ricardo Bofill: Visions of Architecture, 2019 by Gestalten (Editor), Ricardo Bofill (Editor), Pablo Bofill (Editor)