Nearly 40 years ago, architect Ricardo Bofill began designing a complex for a seaside cliff in Calpe, Spain. Straying from the traditional architectural vernacular seen throughout the region, Bofill's massive La Manzana takes on Critical Regionalism for a strikingly unique and mysterious aesthetic. Though the buildings that make up La Manzana employ avant-garde spatial and geometrical methodologies, upon closer inspection you'll see that the buildings in fact mimic the site's cliffside geography and have actually been designed with energy conservation in mind.
La Manzanera took nearly two decades to construct, and today is a full resort and apartment complex that features swimming pools, bars, restaurants and sports facilities. However, the project’s most striking feature is the incredible castle-like, black construction that Bofill dubbed Xanadu. The 18-apartment building was designed with the shape of a fortress in mind, but it also references the Penon de Ifach crag.
Interestingly enough, no plans or elevations were drawn during the construction of Xandau. Instead, the architect took to piercing the walls of each apartment according to what he and an engineer determined to be the best way to maximize natural light, ventilation and privacy. Notably, the building also boasts shaded internal terraces to aid in reducing heat, hyperbolic roofs for better views, and fractures on the exterior angles of the facade to create varied views of the landscape throughout the building. The project is set atop a series of olive-tree terraces that slope down to the water, and its beautiful surroundings lend to a relaxed state of mind by the sea.