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Gracing the cover of our new issue on Spanish architect Ricardo Bofill is a view of his monumental housing project Les Espaces d’Abraxas, built in 1982 near Paris. While Bofill’s projects of the 1960s and ’70s already qualify as large, Les Espaces d’Abraxas embodies a new phase in his career with structures that are simply vast: Les Espaces stretch over 47,000 sqm.

Moving away from the more intimate details of previous housing details, Abraxas plays out themes of inside and outside, grandeur and privacy on a scale that is breathtakingly intimidating. Incorporating elements of Neoclassicism and Baroque, it is a utopian fantasy that has, over time, acquired an entirely different set of meanings and associations. But while utopian ideals might be bound to fail, megalomania always retains a certain appeal.

All images by Taller de Arquitectura