Ramón Esteve has been awarded the Land Rover Born Prize in the Architecture section to rehabilitation project of the Bombas Gens Centre in Valencia; a former factory with an unquestionable social-historical value of the thirties. The new facilities have been created as an internationally renowned multi-use space that will develop a three-branch activity (arts, society and research).
The core of Bombas Gens is an art centre that uses four of the original warehouses and most of the façade. By its sides we can find the restaurant and the day care centre for children at risk of social exclusion, as well as the headquarters of the Foundation using the former villa.
There are other detached premises such as the remains of 15th century cellar on the backyard or an air-raid centre from the Spanish Civil War. They are organised by means of courtyards and gardens that allow the proper use and enjoyment of the whole complex and each of its corners. Ceramic brick and galvanised steel are the most used materials because they evoke the original industrial atmosphere of the complex.
In some other more secluded places, we have reinterpreted the original tiling of the cellar and the farmhouse, which combines with wood to make the rooms more distinguished. In the interior, we have reproduced the original lightweight timber decks. You can access the Bombas Gens Art Centre through the façade bay. Then you get into the courtyard walking on a restored industrial weighing machine that covers most of the floor of the hall.
In the courtyard, some hackberry trees grow on a floor covered by recovered sandstone cobbles. Through its irregular shape, we can discover intuitively the different facilities: straight forward, the entrance to the art centre; to the right, the restaurant, and to the left, partially secluded from the entrance, the offices.
The recognition by the Land Rover Born Awards coincide with the ending of the second stage of the project, for which Ramón Esteve has designed a rear courtyard, a space that holds the garden and a site-specific sculpture by Cristina Iglesias. It is made of two irrigation canals inspired by the Turia River that recall roots and the bottom of the river.
The walls that surround the garden also hosts a space for the 15th-century cellar, covered by brick latticework. Inside, a glass footbridge goes over the cellar and enables us to watch both the cellar and the original tiling found during the excavation of the farmhouse.
For the day-care centre, we have chosen similar materials to those of the warehouse, hand-made brick walls. Thus, the building becomes the background of the general view supporting the industrial buildings.
The Land Rover Born International Awards, created by Jean Christophe Chopin eight years ago, recognize the creative talent that successfully brings together innovation and functionality in an aesthetic way in six different sections: Architecture, Technology, Fashion, Home, Sports and Mobility.
The Spanish winners, among the winners from Germany, France, England, USA and China, are going to present their designs in the Design Milan Week, in a space specifically held by Land Rover Born from 17th to 2nd April in the downtown district of Brera. Later, on 4th October, they are going to meet in London for the selection of the international winner.
- Location: Valencia, Spain
- Architect: Ramón Esteve
- Project Team: Víctor Ruiz, Javier Estevan, María Luna, Francisco Palomo
- Museum Project Architect: Annabelle Selldorf
- Restoration Architect: Eduardo de Miguel
- Technical Architect: Rafael Ferriols
- Archaeologist: Paloma Berrocal
- Structure: Bertolín
- Landscaping: Gustavo Marina
- Sculptural Work: Cristina Iglesias
- Installations Engineering: ICA S.L.
- Structural Engineering: Estructuras Singulares, David Gallardo Llopis, UPV
- Developer: Sancana S.L.
- Constructor: Grupo Inserman
- Year: 2017-2018
- Area: 6981 m2
- Audiovisual: Alfonso Calza
- Photographs: Alfonso Calza, Enric Morán, Frank Gómez
Article by Marco Rinaldi