Roselyne Bachelot-Narquin, Minister of Culture, pays tribute to the great Spanish architect Ricardo Bofill who, among other major achievements, played a decisive role in the transformation of the Parisian metropolis.
An independent spirit, passionate about freedom, Ricardo Bofill was initially excluded from the Barcelona School of Architecture at the age of 18 for anti-Franco activism. He continued his studies of architecture in Geneva and trained during many study trips abroad.
In the 1960s, he distinguished himself by a very original production. He set up his studio, the Taller de arquitectura, in a disused cement factory that he transforms and enlarges by playing with industrial and classic references. In this unique place, it brings together various disciplines whose specialties range from architecture, cinema and philosophy. His projects are imbued with this plurality of views integrating as much references to history as the evolutions of society.
In France, he designed major housing operations in new cities or in neighbourhoods undergoing complete transformation. Its architecture, monumental, is composed of repetitive combinatorial elements, plays of shadow and matter. She plays with classical references, both in urban composition and in the decoration of the facades.
He was responsible for the high-density housing complex Les Espaces D'Abraxas in Marne-la-Vallée (1982), the Arcades du Lac, known as “Versailles pour le peuple”, the viaduct and the Temples du Lac in Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines (1974-1982), the Échelles du baroque in Paris, in the district of Montparnasse (1979-1985), the Crescent of the columns of Saint-Christophe in Cergy-Pontoise (1981-1985), the Bastide in Bordeaux (1988, abandoned in 1994) and especially, since 1979, the vast operations of Antigone and Port-Marianne in Montpellier.
The Ministry of Culture distinguished Ricardo Bofill as an officer of the Order of Arts and Letters and awarded the label Ville et Pays d'art et d'histoire in 2006 to the agglomeration of Saint-Quentin en Yvelines. The Antigone operation in Montpellier was awarded the outstanding contemporary architecture label in 2018.
Roselyne Bachelot-Narquin salutes a brilliant and unclassifiable spirit that will have deeply marked the history of architecture of the second half of the XXe century.