Walden 7; or, life in Sant Just Desvern
Cover Story, August 2017
Anna Moreno is waving from the roof of Walden 7, the vertiginous sixteen-storey apartment complex designed by architect Ricardo Bofill in 1975. Hola Anna, què fas! Looming out of the greenery far below is another extraordinary building that we visited earlier in the day. La Fábrica is a former cement works whose silos and cavernous “cathedral” are home to Bofill’s Taller de Arquitectura. It is 29°C and the humidity is at 62% in Sant Just Desvern, west of Barcelona. Two rooftop swimming pools provide a refreshing respite. We don’t complain.
Normally based in The Hague, Anna has been living at Walden 7 for the past month in order to experience its unique hive-like modules, bridges and balconies, and to delve into the neighbouring Bofill archives in conjunction with her ongoing artistic research. She was recently awarded the Barcelona Producció 2017 publication grant, which Latitudes is mentoring. This publication—in fact a vinyl record edition—will conclude The Drowned Giant (2017), a project that, on 7 June, had incorporated a reenactment of a near-mythical happening that Bofill organised in 1970 in Moratalaz, Madrid, to promote the planned utopian community La Ciudad en el Espacio (The City in Space). In the context of 1970s Spain, Bofill’s early communal proposals were revolutionary and forward-thinking anomalies. Looking back from 2017 at how the future once looked, Anna’s publication will take the form of a deliberately fragmentary, speculative and doubtful document of this Utopian moment. The edition will be presented in November.