Constructed in 1975 on the site of a former cement factory, the subsidized housing complex represents Bofill’s architectural genius. To this day, the project provides stimulating community life through its labyrinth of 14-storeys with five courtyards, and 446 apartments with terracotta balconies. A majority of apartments face both out towards the sea and in towards the courtyards, and can be accessed by a maze of walkways, bridges and stairs that allow residents a multitude of perspectives. Speaking of her first-time experience at ‘Walden 7’, Chardin explains that scale was the first thing to sun her. “It starts with the fortress-like silhouette, impossibly high and thin, that follows a complex network of lines stretching in every direction”, she notes. “Pretty soon you’re disoriented, stunned by the complexity of the inner structure. It’s like walking inside a box where all the pieces seem to move around you. Every corridor seems familiar, yet everything is different, you go up, you go down, you take a few turns and you’re as good as lost”.
All images © Pauline Chardin