Another one of my favorite things to do when I travel is to visit buildings that are part of design history. Sometimes these buildings can be government institutions like museums or libraries, and sometimes they house privately owned organizations. In other instances, they may be the homes of actual designers, architects or artists. Most of them become museums in their own right, after their owners pass away. In the case of Walden 7, the 1975 social housing building designed by Spanish architect Ricardo Bofill and his team, in the outskirts of Barcelona, it is still functioning as it was intended to —it is the home of dozens of families and individuals; making this tour particularly special.
Led by Alexandra, a passionate resident, I toured the maze-like Walden 7 with a group of wide-eyed students. Alexandra took us to see all the seven courtyards and four fountains; representing the four elements –water, earth, wind and fire. She also took us to several of the floors just to see the different combinations of modules, balconies, hallways, bridges and staircases that connect the building throughout. All of the stairs and hallways are named after scientists, poets and artists. At the very top of the building, there are two pools –one representing the moon and the other the sun. The concepts behind Walden 7 alternate between the esoteric, the scientific and the artistic; given that it was conceived as a utopian experiment in urbanism and community by Bofill and a group of psychologists, writers and other experts in several fields. An experiment that proved to be a success then and now, as it is still administered and maintained collectively and democratically by its happy dwellers.
Thank you to Alexandra for a wonderful experience. If you would like to tour Walden 7, please visit their website.
Thanks for reading!
Photos by me.