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Valencia Architecture, Art, Design & Avant-Garde

Valencia: A City of Art, Design & Avant-Garde Valencia is a surprising Mediterranean city full of modern avant-garde architecture. Fascinating constructions in glass, metal and other modern materials marries perfectly with the light and the blue waters in this coastal capital. The city of Valencia really bet on modern design and avant-garde architecture, but of course preserving the old part of the city in pure classic Mediterranean style.

Valencia finished the 20th century and began the third millennium with a wide offer of spaces and content in the vanguard of the arts, architecture, science and business. The internationally renowned Palau de la Música has been the city’s musical bastion since it was inaugurated in 1987. IVAM (Valencian Institute of Modern Art) opened its doors in 1989 and is the second most important contemporary art museum after the Reina Sofia museum in Madrid. In the 1990s, work began in the old Turia riverbed to create the Turia gardens, now the site of the impressive City of Arts and Science designed by Valencia-born architect Santiago Calatrava. The Palacio de Congresos (Conference Centre) designed by Norman Foster, MUVIM (Valencian Museum of the Enlightenment and Modernity), designed by Seville-born architect Guillermo Vázquez Consuegra and Feria Valencia are a few examples of buildings giving the city an international and futuristic projection. Of course, we must not forget the complete remodelling of the Port in preparation for the celebration of the 32nd America’s Cup. That area has now been converted into the Juan Carlos I Royal Marina, presided over by the “Veles e Vents” building designed by British architect David Chipperfield and Spaniard Fermín Vázquez.

Valencia is a city which has undergone a big transformation until taking on an incomparable distinction in its new modern architecture, unique in Spain. The best example of the new or third millenniumValenciais theCiudad de las Artes y las Ciencias-City of Arts and Sciences of Valenciawhich is the home to thePalau de les Arts Reina Sofia, theHemisfèric, theMuseo de las Ciencias Príncipe Felipe-Valencia Science Museum, theOceanographic, theUmbracle and theÀgora(currently under construction). ThePalau de la Músicais one of the most emblematic buildings in Valencia. Other milestones are the bridgePuente del Angel Custodio, the BridgePont del Regneand the museumMuseo Fallero.  Valenciaquickly turned into a modern city where thearchitectureis very special: The world-renowned architectSantiago Calatravais fromValencia  Among other things, you can see a bridge over the redirected river Turia popularly calledCalatrava Bridge. And "City of Arts and Sciences" (Ciutat de les Arts i les Ciencias): A huge project with modern futuristic forms where one also find an enormousOceanographic Museum. The new modern part of theValenciais fascinating, but theold townis also well preserved with all its charm and where one finds the typical Mediterranean atmosphere that attracts so many Spaniards and foreign tourists toValencia. And more is to come: Valencia is developing many interesting new avant-garde projects and many more interesting buildings are on their way to become reality.

Valencia is seeing the conclusion of many new architectural projects which will continue to position it among the most architecturally avant-garde destinations. The recent project is the “Ágora”, designed by Santiago Calatrava and situated in the City of Arts and Science.

This building is conceived as a multi-purpose centre, to serve both as a meeting point and rest area for citizens and visitors as well as a venue for social activities and sports events, as the Tennis Open 500, where the best international players pick up their racquets and battle it out in a spectacular setting every year. Another important project is ARTeria Valencia, a unique complex designed by architect Antón García Abril which will combine functionality, aesthetics, tradition and innovation.

The building, the European campus of Berklee Music College, will be 27 storeys high, erected on a two-floor horizontal base and reaching a maximum height of 100 meters. The two-floor base will house an auditorium with over 1,400 seats and a residence area for students and teachers. This unique building will contain a public area, with a capacity for 10,000 people. Valencia CF will open its new stadium soon. The new Mestalla stadium, designed by Mark Fenwick and situated near the Palacio de Congresos, will have a capacity for 75,000 spectators and an underground car park with 3,500 parking spaces.

Another project which will have a major impact on the city is the Parque Central (Central Park). This new space will be located on the old train tracks and allow this part of the city to be joined together by turning it into an extensive green area. It will also be the site of the future AVE central station. As for the seafront, Valencia is preparing for the expansion of the Juan Carlos I Royal Marina, the result of an international competition in which over 50 architects from all over the world competed. The finalists were Jean Nouvel with José Ribas, Valencia architect José María Tomás Llavador and the German GMP International Architects studio. These three teams will give shape to over one million square meters, including the area of the Grao district, the mouth of the Turia riverbed and the area surrounding the inner harbour. The project consists of a large green area next to the sea, where two 50-storey buildings rising 170 meters high will give the Royal Marina a new and modern feel. Over the last few years, an excellent pool of young designers has been forming in Valencia whose work is now gaining international recognition. CuldeSac, Sure Design, Erreqerre, Lilou and Odosdesign are some examples of the innate creativity in Valencia.

Over 50 galleries are spread around the city to allow art to be enjoyed in its purest form. In architecture, Valencia has been chosen by a number of prestigious architects such as Norman Foster, Jean Nouvel and David Chipperfield as the site for some of their works. Valencia is also home to a healthy selection of local professionals, including José María Tomás Llavador, recently honoured in the international competition that will define Valencia’s future marina. Vicente Guallart, creator of Sociópolis, and Ramón Esteve also rank among Valencia’s most interesting architects. Modernism Valencia Valencia is one of the Spanish cities with the greatest number of modernist works. Public works of modernist architecture which must be mentioned include the Estación del Norte train station, the Colón Market –restored in 2003, and converted into a leisure and cultural area– and Central Market. The latter is the largest market in Europe, occupying an area of 8,000 square meters with almost 1,500 food stalls offering a wide range of fresh foods. In addition, the Palacio de la Exposición (Exhibition Palace) and the Tinglados (storage facilities) of the Port of Valencia are also well worth a visit.  

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