Ricardo Bofill: Inside the Starchitect’s Family Home in Mont-ras, Spain

Ricardo Bofill’s designs are filled with historical references in the form of the architectural elements that he incorporated into his buildings: columns, exterior staircases, large patios, terraces, water features, and even trees. He rejected the prevailing rationalism of his day and instead created buildings that were grounded in joy, connecting them to their environments and cityscapes broadly. He rejected the fashionable embrace among his peers in the ’70s and ’80s for single-family homes while creating his own, unique contemporary style. 

Many of the principles of Ricardo Bofill’s designs are being continued by his sons and the studio, which has more than a hundred employees working on projects everywhere from Spain to Saudi Arabia; these principles are also evident in the Mont-ras house. One of these is the central role given to the fireplace (which continues to be a signature move of the studio today), as well as typical elements of Mediterranean design: the focus on patios, the natural environment, water, and the choice of materials. But above all else, the space displays extreme minimalism. 

At the Girona house, there is not a single piece of art, and even the furniture is sparse, with only some select items by Aalto, Mackintosh, and Magistretti, as well as Bofill’s own workshop. “It is a space that is anti-decorative. The house is a work of art that offers an anti-bourgeois model for living,” Pablo says. “The only sculptures here are the cypresses.”

An original desk and chair by Charles Rennie Mackintosh in one of the house’s rooms.

The Mont-ras house was designed for both leisure and reflection, to be experienced either alone or communally, depending on one’s mood at any moment. “Today it is a laboratory for many different disciplines. We invite friends, and they always end up enjoying creative moments here,” Paiva says. “It is our house, but it is also a motor that generates ideas.” Some of her works, which have been shown at galleries in Europe, Latin America, and the United States—most recently at Miami’s Studio Twenty Seven—found their inspiration here.