The Red Wall of Calpe
La Muralla Roja, Spanish for The Red Wall, is a housing project located within the La Manzanera development in the town of Calpe. The building was designed by Spanish architect Ricardo Bofill and makes clear references
La Muralla Roja, Spanish for The Red Wall, is a housing project located within the La Manzanera development in the town of Calpe.
The building was designed by Spanish architect Ricardo Bofill and makes clear references to the popular architecture of the Arab Mediterranean Area, a result of the architects’ inspiration by the Mediterranean tradition of the casbah (the central part of town or citadel). The striking colors that cover the outer and inner facades are selected to either contrast with nature or complement its purity.
The building appears like a kind of colourful fortress emerging from the rocky cliff it sits on and has a series of interlocking stairs, platforms and bridges providing access to the 50 apartments that form La Muralla Roja. The complexity of the project extends into the division of apartments, which is in three sizes: 60 sq m studios, 80 sq m two bedroom apartment, and 120 sq m three bedroom apartments. Bofill’s desire to provide enhanced living is seen through with the roof terraces, solaria, a swimming pool, and a sauna, all reserved for the residents’ use.
The outside surfaces are painted in various tones of red, to accentuate the contrast with the landscape; patios an stairs, however, area treated with blue tones, such as sky-blue, indigo, violet, to produce a stronger or weaker contrast with the sky or, on the contrary, an optical effect of blending in 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.
The Red Wall is best described as a labyrinth, corresponding to a precise geometric plan based on the typology of the Greek cross, having, in this case, arms that are five meters long. The crosses intersect at the service towers, which contain the kitchens and bathrooms. The project was finished in 1973.
Cover image via Youtube