Barcelona Curiosities: Architecture

Walden 7:  Not only an exceptional example of Spanish contemporary architecture, but also one of the most innovative and distinguished residential buildings of the 20th century.


This experimental apartment block, located at the edge of Barcelona in Sant Just Desvern, was designed and built on a very low-budget in 1974 by Ricard Bofill’s team.  Bofill, an accomplished Catalan architect, also designed many of the apartments which housed the Olympic athletes in 1992.  One of his most recent works is the W Hotel (Hotel Vela) which was established in 2008.

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The name of the building is inspired by B.F.Skinner’s science-fiction novel, Walden Two, which depicts a utopian community and  emulates the simple living and self-sufficiency that Henry David Thoreau practiced at Walden Pond . The building consists of 18 separate towers with a total of 446 apartments, formed by modules of 30 square meters in size. The smallest is a studio, made of only 1 module, and the largest is a 2-story apartment, made up of 4.

Built where there had previously been a cement factory, Walden-7 has ample public space for sports and recreation, bars and restaurants on the ground floor, and swimming pools on the roofs.

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3 thoughts on “Barcelona Curiosities: Architecture

  1. Pretty cool story. I like the idea of saving space, but I do not like the fact that most of the buildings in Barcelona have half of the windows or some balconies facing the inside patio where you can see/hear everyone around you, smell all the cooking from your neighbors, and you don’t get a lot of light there. Some new buildings are better, though. I’ve stayed in one in San Marti-all the windows were facing out-what a difference :). Apart from that, I adore a lot of the architecture in Barna.

  2. Hey Sanja! Thanks for your thoughts! Very funny, and true!! Those interior “Patios de Luces” as they call them can get some strange smells swirling around in there!!! But, I think the main thought behind those is that their used to hang the laundry, so that you don’t have to hang the laundry out on the street side where everyone can see it. Also, that way you don’t have to use your front-facing balconies for laundry, instead of for sitting on and enjoying 🙂 Another thing about those interior courtyards is that they provide a way to cross-ventilate the home, even if that means finding yourself surrounded in the aromas of your neighbor’s paella!!

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