Ricardo Bofill’s Crazy Kafka Castle

Kafka Castle by Catalan architect, Ricardo Bofill is an amazing apartment complex near Barcelona completed in 1968 constructed from a series of cubes.

The  building departs from traditional notions of design, being based on mathematical equations that dictated the layout of the ninety apartments, as well as the Castle’s siting. It almost reminds me of the structures found in the Futuroscope theme park.




Kafka’s Castle brought international attention to Bofill’s architectural firm, Taller de Arquitectura, which is known for colourful and innovative designs.

‘The complex is an assemblage of prefabricated cubes that are based on two mathematical equations that generate their placement in relationship to the vertical circulation towers in addition to the overall site design.’ AD 22/03/2011.


‘Bofill and his team employed two equations that would lead to the volumetric design of Kafka Castle. The first equation generated the number of room capsules that plug into the stair towers. While the second equation determined the height of each spiral progression around the stair towers.  Aside from the prefabricated elements, the two equations provided a non standardized design based solely off a generative process that created volumetric overlapping and close proximal juxtapositions that begin to create interior voids within the cubic composition.

The pods, or cubes, are small prefabricated units that because of their size and scale to the overall organizational system only contain one room or space allowing for each pod to have a direct connection to the centralized stair tower.  The cubes are designed in such a manner that each cube contains one important spatial element to the overall construction of the apartment units.  One cube may have a bathroom-bedroom or they may have a living room-dining room combination.’ by Andrew Kroll, AD 22/03/2011


All images © Ricardo Bofill