Ricardo Bofill Abroad: The International Projection of the Taller de Arquitectura - Call for Papers - HPA 15/2024


This Call for Papers is promoted by the research project RETRANSLATES01. Reflections, from Europe, on architecture in Spain: urban projects, public facilities, design and interventions in heritage (1976-2006), PID2022-138760NB-C21 funded by MCIN /AEI/10.13039/501100011033 DOI/ FEDER, EU.

In the early 1960s, Spanish architect Ricardo Bofill (1939-2022) designed his first works in Barcelona. These works represented a unique synthesis of local architectural tradition and the emerging challenge of various forms of urban utopia, which was unprecedented in Spain during this period.

In his first residential buildings, Ricardo Bofill skilfully introduced a code of realism that he shared with the rest of his contemporary Catalan colleagues. However, dissatisfied with the limitations of architecture and the political, economic and social reality of the country, he founded in 1963 the “Taller de Arquitectura” (Architecture Workshop; RBTA). It was an unorthodox, multidisciplinary, international team, comprised of architects, engineers, mathematicians, sculptors, painters, sociologists, writers, philosophers, musicians and film-makers. RBTA’s analyse the problem of the contemporary city and the relationship with and between its inhabitants in order to design a new, alternative architecture for the city.

From then on, Bofill undertook an adventure of broad horizons, although he remained faithful to the formal legacy of Antoni Gaudí’s work, to the political commitment of the GATCPAC of the 1930s, and to the professional ethics of José Antonio Coderch. His works soon aroused the interest of the main international media: the residential buildings on Compositor Bach Street (Barcelona, 1962-63), the Gaudí district in Reus (Tarragona, 1964-70), the tourist complex in Calpe (Alicante, 1965-70), as well as the Kafka Castle (Sant Pere de Ribes, Barcelona, 1966-70) or the Walden-7 (Sant Just Desvern, Barcelona, 1970-75), among many others, were widely published in the main European publications specialising in architecture.

Ricardo Bofill’s career has also attracted the attention of critics and historians such as Bruno Zevi, Reyner Banham and Geoffrey Broadbent. Since the decade of the 1970s, they have approached the various theoretical proposals developed in “La ciudad en el espacio” (The City in Space), an urban alternative that was too innovative for late Francoist Spain. Faced with the obvious difficulties of developing initiatives -such as the Moratalaz development in Madrid (1972-1974)-, Ricardo Bofill decided to look for a more favourable environment in Europe to put his ambitious theoretical proposals into practice.

It was time to move to France, a country that welcomed Ricardo Bofill with a mixture of suspicion, curiosity and interest, but where his international career finally took off. During the “French years” of the 1970s, the Taller drew up a series of urban and architectural designs, including La Petite Cathédrale (Cergy-Pontoise, 1971), La Citadelle Fort de Saint-Cyr (Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines, 1973) and Les Halles (Paris, 1975). However, not all of them were built, despite the good relationship between the architect and the French Prime Minister at the time, Giscard d’Estaing.

By contrast, from 1980, the Taller developed a series of urban housing projects for the new neighbourhoods of the main French villes nouvelles, especially in Paris: Le Lac (Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines, 1972-1987), Les Espaces d’Abraxas (Marne-la-Vallé, 1979-1982), Le Crescent Vert (Cergy-Pontoise, 1981-1985) and Antigone (Montpellier, 1979-1996). After its failure in Spain, the utopia attempted by the Taller de Arquitectura triumphed a decade later in F. Miterrand’s France.

However, this was only achieved by establishing a complex dialogue between classicism and technology, or between monument and prefabrication. This contradiction seems to have been resolved today, given the recent assimilation of these works into the collective visual imaginary of contemporary society.

Since then, the work of the Taller has expanded to new locations, typologies, and scales. For example, experiences on the African continent range from the farming towns of Houari Boumédienne (Abadla, Algeria, 1978-1980) to more recent projects such as the Université Mohammed VI (Ben Guerir, Morocco, 2010-2016). The international dimension of RBTA architecture became more prominent in the 1990s with the construction of the 77 West Wacker Drive high-rise office building in Chicago (1988-1990) and the subsequent Dearborn Center (Chicago, 2003). These buildings were located in the heart of the postmodern architecture debate. The global reach of RBTA has expanded to include new works in Asia, such as the Shiseido Ginza building (Tokyo, 2001), and unique designs like the Moscow Extension Competition (2012).

Following Ricardo Bofill’s passing in 2022, the aim of issue 15 of HPA is to analyse the international trajectory of the Taller de Arquitectura from 1970 to the present day. This will be achieved through a critical, up-to-date approach. The architectural output of Ricardo Bofill is the subject of a case study that aims to contribute to academic and public debate. Bofill’s work is cross-cutting, bold, and polemic, making him a controversial yet indispensable figure in the recent history of international architecture.

The following are potential areas of research that can be explored without limitations:

  1. RBTA beyond Spain: relations between Spanish and international works.
  2. The reception of the work of RBTA in international mass media.
  3. The “French Years” of RBTA: between urban planning, political management and relations with power.
  4. The international networks of members of the Taller’s professional team.

Papers should be submitted in English using

The guidelines for paper submission are available at

Please, fill in the author’s profile with all the informations required as:

  • Applicant’s name
  • Professional affiliation
  • Title of paper
  • Abstract
  • 5 keywords
  • A brief CV (max 2,000 characters)

Please submit the proposal in the form of MS Word (length between 20,000 and 25,000 characters with up to six images). The submitted paper must be anonymous. Please delete from the text and file’s properties all informations about name, administrator etc. Papers should clearly define the argument in relation to the available literature and indicate the sources on which they are based. All papers received will go through a process of double-blind peer review before publication.

HPA also looks for contributions for the review section:

To addressed questions to the editors:

Authors must submit directly full papers by December 31, 2024

Accepted authors will be notified by February 28, 2025

Publication is expected to be in June 2025