Credit: Gregori Civeri

In 1973, Spanish architect Ricardo Bofill, wanted to break the division between public and private spaces by reinterpreting the Arabic Mediterranean tradition of the Kasbah. The result is the beautiful La Muralla Roja, or The Red Wall.

Found in Calpe, Alicante, Spain, this avant-garde apartment building is truly something to behold. The colours, the strange silhouette. It all comes from a place you might not expect – kasbah’s.  

For those whose only knowledge of a kasbah came from The Clash, a kasbah is a central, fortified part of a town, like a fortress or citadel. A kasbah was a place for a local leader to live and provided a defence if the city was ever attacked. It is essentially like a castle or keep.

Credit: Fred Guillaud

So, what Ricardo Bofill did was take inspiration from North African kasbahs, particularly the adobe towers, and mix them with Arabic Mediterranean architectural styles.

The result is a fortress like building with a sharp vertical silhouette that follows the contours of a rocky cliff. To make things a little more liveable though, it incorporates things like plazas (courtyards), staircases and bridges to connect all the apartments.

The apartments themselves have been divided into three sizes: 60sqm studios, 80sqm two bedroom, and 120sqm three bedroom. All up there are 50 apartments/living spaces. Connecting all these apartments are patios.

On the roof terraces there are solariums, a swimming pool, and a sauna.

You might be thinking, “Why red?”, well there is a reason for it. The red paint only covers the exterior of the building in order to provide a contrast against the surrounding environment.

Red is not the only colour present here though; the whole building is practically exploding with colour. Blue is used in the central courtyards, pink in the subsidiary courtyards, and everything else from staircases to bridges are painted violet. The blues and violets were chosen to produce a stronger or weaker contrast with the sky, or at times do the opposite and produce an optical effect of blending into it.

Check it out below.

Credit: Fred Guillad
Credit: Fred Guillad
Credit: Gregori Civera