Xavier Corberó’s surreal Espai Corberó complex is set to re-open to the public

Like a real-life Escher painting

Designed by artist Xavier Corberó, and known for its surreal appearance, the dreamlike Espai Corberó complex looks set to take on a new public-facing role after being bought by Esplugues de Llobregat city council.

With its plunging staircase that seems to lead nowhere and its profusion of arches, the structure has long been a point of fascination for architecture fans. Corberó, a Catalan sculptor, began work on the building in 1967 after acquiring a farm in Esplugues de Llobregat – on the outskirts of Barcelona.

Photography: Mari Luz Vidal for Openhouse Magazine

Espai Corberó was intended as a workshop, headquarters, gallery and artist residence and comprises nine interconnected buildings and 12 courtyards – as well as its hundreds of distinctive arches. A subterranean space was used to host performances.

‘More than a house, it is a place, a place, that has arisen from a total need: spiritual, emotional, physical… Which, ultimately, serves to cover the ugly’, Corberó told Openhouse in a feature about his ‘inhabitable sculpture’.

Photography: Mari Luz Vidal for Openhouse Magazine

For some time, the building was only accessible through appointment, but the Esplugues de Llobregat city council has now bought the complex for €3m, describing it as ‘new cultural facilities’. There’s no confirmation of what exactly the council plans to do. However, reports suggest it needs some immediate repair work before taking on its new life.

Read more on the project in The Guardian and Openhouse Magazine.

Photography: Mari Luz Vidal for Openhouse Magazine

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