Ricardo Bofill

You’re going to want to see the inside.

Imagine taking a vacation to Barcelona, stumbling upon an abandoned World War I-era cement factory … and then making that factory into your personal castle. That’s what one Spanish architect did in the early 70s when he came across this old factory just outside the city:

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And over the course of 40 years, turned it into this:

Ricardo Bofill
Ricardo Bofill

“I found enormous silos, a tall smokestack, four kilometers [2.5 miles] of underground tunnels,” the architect, Richard Bofill, says on his website.

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Although original renovation took only two years, Bofill and local Catalan workers have spent decades restoring La Fábrica. Bofill added lush gardens around the exterior, including eucalyptus, palm and olive trees.

Ricardo Bofill

The compound also boasts a cathedral, a model workshop, archive rooms, a residence and a studio workspace consisting of four floors (that Bofill’s firm occupies).

Bofill says the structure is still a work in progress. “I have the impression of living in … a closed universe which protects me from the outside and everyday life,” he says. “Life goes on here in a continuous sequence, with very little difference between work and leisure.”

If you visit Catalonia, make sure to bring your Instagram game. You can wander the gardens and visit the exhibition space — snapping photos the whole time, of course.

If you can’t visit Spain but want a way to satisfy your wanderlust, checkout this documentary on Bofill’s studio.